CASNR alum and sustainable producer garners 2020 High Cotton Award
By: Norman Martin
A 1976 graduate of Texas Tech University's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics has been presented a Farm Press/Cotton Foundation 2020 High Cotton Award. Lockney, Texas, resident Dan Smith was named the group's southwest winner at an annual awards breakfast on Friday (Feb. 28) in Memphis, Tennessee.
Program officials noted that sustainability was a common denominator among the four regional winners, along with faith and family being a thread that ran through every aspect of each of the four operations.
They pointed out that Smith, who has been transitioning from conventional till to no-till since 1995, says he is now sold on no-till which saves wear on his equipment and reduces his fuel costs.
Cotton Foundation Executive Director Bill Norman praised sustainability efforts. "Since its 1994 inception, this program has given much deserved attention to cotton producers who have made conservation practices a key component in their farming operations, demonstrating U.S. cotton's efforts to reduce its environmental footprint," he said.
The objective of the High Cotton Award program closely follows the philosophy of the Farm Press Publications — to help growers produce more profitable, higher quality crops, by providing them with timely, hard-hitting information about technological advances, governmental regulations, and marketing opportunities.
The High Cotton Awards were begun by Farm Press Publications and the National Cotton Council to demonstrate that cotton growers and their families are concerned about the environment and are the true stewards of their land, water and air. The program, which now has recognized more than 100 of the nation's cotton producers, is supported by a Farm Press grant to The Cotton Foundation.
While the 2020 award recipients' farm in different regions under a range of environmental challenges and regulations, they also vary somewhat in their production practices and management philosophies. Still, officials said, they all shared a common goal of farming sustainably and passing the land onto the next generation.
Among the other High Cotton Award winners were Matt and Kelly Griggs, Humboldt, Tennessee., Mid-south winner; Greg Wuertz, Coolidge, Arizona, Western winner; and Larry Ford, Greenwood, Florida, Southeast winner.
Ford, for example, places an intense focus on irrigation because he farms in a watershed and spring basis under strict water-use restrictions. Wuertz places an emphasis on conserving water – using subsurface drip where possible and only flood irrigating fields that have been laser leveled. Meanwhile, the Griggs place importance on preserving soil. They credit no-till for maintaining their soil, but use cover crops and a crop rotation program to restore the soil.
CONTACT: Phil Johnson, Professor, Chairman and Charles Thompson Chair, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Texas Tech University at (806) 834- 0474 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0304NM20 / PHOTO: National Cotton Council
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Editor: Norman Martin
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