Visiting farmers on their farms is the best part of this job. Meetings and conferences are great, and it’s always good to see old and new friends at such events, where plenty of good fellowship and good eating take place.
But going to a farm can’t be beat. My Farm Press colleagues say the same thing. We get to travel to farms many times each year, and we are humbled and grateful to growers who welcome us and share their valuable time and knowledge. Every visit is familiar but unique.
This is what we call our “High Cotton” time of year, when we announce the honorees of our annual Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award program. The High Cotton special attention appears in our publications in the Southeast, Delta, Southwest and West. We have the honor to highlight four outstanding cotton-growing families from each region of the Cotton Belt.
The High Cotton award program was created by forward-looking individuals more than 25 years ago, and it’s a vehicle to showcase the country’s top cotton producers who share their production methods, challenges and successes. Over the last decade, we’ve presented the awards in-person during the annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, but the gin show was postponed last year. Our High Cotton award program went virtual last year, but we still safely visited each of the grower’s farms who won last year. That was a blessing. We were back in person for the award breakfast in Memphis, along with our 2022 winners, at the gin show this year.
Lee Cromley is the 2022 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award winner for the Southeastern States. When I visited Cromley’s farm in east-central Georgia, he said, “I can name you many who are well more deserving of this (recognition).” I almost agreed with him. I told him many are likely as deserving, but none is more deserving. I also told him we’re doing our best to get around to everyone. It’s the best part of the job.
Thanks to the Cotton Foundation and our many sponsors for supporting the High Cotton award program.