The High Cotton Awards, which are sponsored annually by Farm Press Publications through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, are moving to a new venue.
Beginning in 2016, the High Cotton winners, who represent the best of the best when it comes to growing cotton in an environmentally responsible manner, will be recognized during an awards breakfast at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 26.
Farm Press, The Cotton Foundation and the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show are no strangers to each other. Farm Press has been a co-sponsor of the MSF&G, which is held annually at the Cook Convention Center, for more than two decades. The Cotton Foundation is also based in Memphis.
“We have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the Beltwide Cotton Conferences,” said Greg Frey, vice president and market leader for the Penton Ag Group, which operates the four Farm Presses. “But we felt that with the changes that have occurred in the Beltwide in the last two years, it was a good time to look at another venue.”
This year’s winners will be honored during a breakfast on Friday, Feb. 26, the opening day of the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, which annually attracts thousands of farmers and their families to the Cook Convention Center.
“We are very excited to be welcoming the High Cotton Awards program to the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show,” said Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and general manager of the Gin Show. “We think it will be a great fit for our event here in the Bluff City.
“Even though agriculture is changing, particularly in the Mid-South, cotton is still an important crop for the nation and for all of our SCGA members, some of whom have been recipients of the High Cotton award in years past.”
The High Cotton awards program was begun by The Cotton Foundation and Farm Press in 1994 to bring recognition to the conservation and environmental stewardship efforts of cotton farmers. To date, 86 farmers have received the bronze Cotton Boll Trophy, which is presented to the winner from each of the four regions of the Cotton Belt.
The editors of each of the Farm Presses — Delta Farm Press, Southeast Farm Press, Southwest Farm Press and Western Farm Press — select the winner for each of their regions from nominations submitted by other farmers and interest groups.
The criteria for the awards are simple: (1) Produce quality cotton, (2) Be profitable and (3) Grow cotton in an environmentally responsible manner.
“In the 20-plus years we’ve been giving the awards, we’ve had some great stories about farmers who truly are stewards of their land and the environment,” said Bill Norman, executive vice president of The Cotton Foundation. “We are pleased that we will continue to tell that story through these awards in the years to come.”