Eddie Smith Named Recipient of

2013 Cotton Grower Achievement Award

Monday, December 2, 2013    From Cotton Grower Magazine

      Eddie Smith, a Floydada cotton producer, has been selected as the 44th recipient of the Cotton Grower Achievement Award.

      The Cotton Grower Achievement Award – organized and managed by Cotton Grower magazine and sponsored by Case IH and Deltapine – recognizes and honors growers who are outstanding innovators, sound stewards of the environment, and leaders in their communities as well as the cotton industry.

      Smith was recognized by his peers and the cotton industry on Monday at an event held in his honor at the Overton Hotel and Convention Center in Lubbock.

      "The cotton industry has a rich tradition of strong leaders who help guide the continued growth and promotion of the industry and who work tirelessly to protect and improve cotton's interests domestically and around the world," said Beck Barnes, senior editor of Cotton Grower Magazine. "Eddie has given his time and counsel to individuals and organizations at all levels of the industry for many years. We're excited to welcome him to the prestigious list of recipients of this annual award."

      Following graduation from Texas Tech University in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics, Smith began farming full-time. Today, he and his family maintain a cotton, cattle and grain operation near Floydada. Since first serving on the County Committee of Floyd County ASC in 1984, Smith has dedicated himself to bettering his community, his country and his industry and is a respected leader in the cotton industry on the state and national levels.

      He served as National Cotton Council chairman in 2010 and vice chairman for 2009, and has been a member of numerous NCC committees, including its Environmental Task Force. He was elected to the board of directors of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association in 1984 and has served as PCCA Chairman since 2004. He is also a director of Floydada Cooperative Gin.

      In addition, Smith is a past chairman and long-time director of Cotton Incorporated, and has served as that organization's treasurer, secretary and vice chairman. He also was a member of the Blue Ribbon Farm Bill Committee of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and served as vice chairman of its Trade Working Group. He was also a director of the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council.

      "Eddie is a very deserving recipient of this award," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "He's not only an excellent farmer, industry leader and family man, but also a tremendous friend to PCG and to me personally. He is innovative and always looking for ways to do his part in advancing, improving or promoting cotton."

      To learn more about Smith's story and the Cotton Grower Achievement Award, see the January 2014 issue of Cotton Grower Magazine or visit www.cotton247.com.


Timely Completion of Long Term,

Comprehensive Farm Bill Critical

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 From the National Cotton Council

      The National Cotton Council was joined by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and USA Rice Federation in expressing appreciation of the continued efforts of the leaders and members of the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee to complete work on a new comprehensive, multi-year farm bill – but the groups reiterated their opposition to extending current farm law.

      The groups stated they know the process of compromise is challenging and many of the differences in policy are deeply held but it is imperative for the Committee to make the tough decisions and complete work on legislation as soon as possible. It is necessary to our nation's farmers and rural communities so they both have the certainty necessary to make long term investments to remain competitive. New farm legislation also is needed to resolve a longstanding trade dispute with Brazil to end the trade retaliation threat that would adversely affect U.S. exports.

      They said that although the differences are deep and difficult to resolve, the option to abandon the process and extend current law, albeit with modifications, is not an acceptable alternative. That option would: 1) leave farmers without predictable policy, 2) affect the budget baseline and the ability to ever write new legislation and 3) likely provoke trade retaliation. Certainly every organization has the right to advocate for its position but establishing intractable demands is a recipe for failure and a tactic that many believe has led to gridlock on key legislation including the budget, appropriations and immigration.

      The groups noted that agriculture has a long history of bipartisanship and legislative accomplishments. The Conference Committee has before them two pieces of legislation that have been years in development and subjected to rigorous independent analysis. That analysis has consistently verified that the two bills show only relatively small differences in aggregate impacts on commodity markets. With these two bills, the foundation for compromise and agreement has been laid.

      The time for decisions is now – not next year or the year after that, the groups stated. Now is the time to resolve outstanding trade disputes. Now is the time to provide U.S. agriculture with the stability of a multi-year farm bill and let the extraordinarily competitive energy of the sector once again seek opportunities that ultimately serve this nation with the safest, affordable and secure food and fiber supply that is the envy of the world. Now is the time for a new farm bill. We believe the current leaders of the Agriculture Committees can meet the challenge of reaching compromise on long term policy and we urge them to ignore any calls to abandon their effort.


Upcoming Area Ag Conferences – see the list at


Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership

Program Seeking Applicants for Class XIV

Friday, December 6, 2013                   From AgriLife TODAY

      Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program is seeking applicants for its new class, which will begin in July.

      TALL is a two-year leadership development program managed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Applications for the newest class, Class XIV, are due March 15. Application forms are online at http://tall.tamu.edu.

      "Texas agriculture has a need for individuals who can lead our industry as it faces new and unique challenges. These individuals will provide the leadership, insight and direction to ensure agricultural viability for the future," said Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, AgriLife Extension leadership program director.

      The program invests 455 hours of intensive training per person in seminars, speakers and domestic and international study trips over two years, Mazurkiewicz added. It is equivalent to the time spent obtaining a master's degree in agriculture.

      The typical class size is about 25, and tuition is $3,000.

      "The goal of the program is to create a strong network within Texas agriculture by having representation from all agricultural industries and geographic regions," Mazurkiewicz said.

      Participants include traditional crop producers, ranchers, bankers and attorneys, as well as those who work in lumber, food processing, agricultural corporations and horticultural industries, he said.


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Myrl Mitchell's Special Notes

Friday, December 6, 2013 By Tommy Horton, Cotton Farming

      Sometimes we can observe random acts of kindness in the unlikeliest of ways. That's what happened to me recently when I received a handwritten note from retired Texas ginner Myrl Mitchell. I have known Myrl for more than 20 years, and I always enjoy visiting with him every year at the Texas Cotton Ginners Association's annual meeting in Lubbock. Although Myrl retired from active ginning back in 2004, he and his wife are fixtures at industry meetings in Texas. He knows every TCGA meeting attendee by his (or her) first name and loves to tell stories. If you didn't know any better, you might say that Myrl is the unofficial goodwill ambassador for Texas ginners. And make no mistake about it. He relishes being able to walk the trade show floor where he makes a personal visit to every exhibitor. He also appreciates the technology that is a part of today's ginning, but that still doesn't stop him from talking about "the good old days." I might be the only other person more nostalgic about the past than Myrl.

      Getting back to the "act of kindness," about once a year Myrl faxes a handwritten note and thanks me for whatever we have recently published in the magazine. Apparently, he doesn't own a computer, but that doesn't stop him from making a special trip to the Four-Way Gin in Lenorah where he faxes his note. There is something about a handwritten note that has so much more meaning than just another email. Anybody who takes the time to write a note and then drives to a local gin to transmit itÉis a special person.

      So, how can I properly reply to Myrl's handwritten note? Obviously, I can't send him an email. Instead, I plan to write a note and fax it back to the Four Way Gin and thank Myrl for being one of the few people who clings to a tradition that few of us appreciate anymore. When you read a handwritten note, you know that the person has taken the time to put his feelings down on paper. And regardless of how the person's penmanship looks, it's the thought that counts.

      By the way, Myrl doesn't just fire off a quick two sentences in his notes. His last note was about a page and a half in length, and he meticulously talked about nearly every story that was published in a recent issue of Cotton Farming. He likes to talk about people that he knows and recognizes on the magazine's pages.

      Myrl is quick witted and loves to joke around with anybody he visits at a trade show. So, I'm sure he'll hit me with another story when I see him in Lubbock in April. But I am officially giving Myrl some advance notice. Soon, he'll be receiving my handwritten note that I plan to fax to the Four Way Gin. Mainly, I'm planning to tell him that I'd rather receive a faxed note any day as opposed to another email.

      Some traditions never go out of style.