facebook_pixel

Whitmire Named 2016 Marketer of the Year

From Cotton Grower Magazine – February 2017

Cotton Grower magazine and ICE Futures are pleased to recognize Ronnie Whitmire of Whitmire Farms in Taft, TX, as the 2016 Marketer of the Year.

“For 26 years, this award has been given to U.S. cotton growers who demonstrate excellence in a marketing program,” explained Dr. O. A. Cleveland, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, who makes the annual presentation.

 The award is presented each year during the National Cotton Council’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences, held this year in Dallas.

Ronnie Whitmire (center) celebrates his Marketer of the Year honor with his wife, Joni, and Jeremy Speis of Calcot.

 

Sometimes, people just have a knack for things. Maybe it’s based on a keen sense of intuition. Maybe it’s nothing more than ideas, routines and advice absorbed during years and years of paying attention to what other say and do.

Ronnie Whitmire might claim it’s a bit of both. In his 41 years of farming near Taft, TX, he’s become wise to the needs and potential of his farmland. He’s also become adept at recognizing market trends and making the most of the opportunities presented.

That “gut feeling,” as he calls it, helped earn Whitmire the 2016 Marketer of the Year award, presented by ICE Futures during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Dallas in early January.

Whitmire is a sixth generation farmer who learned Texas cotton production on a day-to-day basis from his father, Arthur Whitmire. They became farming partners in 1975, and worked together until his father’s retirement in the mid-1990s.

Today, Ronnie and his wife, Joni, manage Whitmire Farms, which covers 2,500 acres of cotton and sorghum. The cotton side of the business gets 60-70% of those acres each year. It’s dryland production (“Some years dryer than others,” quips Joni), but Ronnie’s experience and Mother Nature’s rain helped produce the best cotton the farm has ever seen in the past two years.

“We averaged 1¾ to 2½ bales an acre in 2015 and 2016,” says Ronnie.

But it’s knowing what to do with that cotton that earned him the marketing honor. He works closely with Calcot, using their program options to help him diversify his marketing efforts and manage his risks.

“This year, Ronnie did half of his cotton in spot fixation contracts and the other half in our seasonal pool,” explains Jeremy Speis, Calcot regional manager for Texas. “With the spot fixation, he fixed his futures price and basis and was able to get the high when the market went on a run. And with the seasonal pool, he could play with the spot and wait for the highest price.”

“It was lucky,” says Ronnie. Joni knows it’s more than that.

“In 40-plus years of being in this business, he is remarkable at knowing when to sell,” she states. “He has very good instincts.”

“I sure don’t hit 100% on my decisions,” adds Ronnie. “But I feel like on a 10-year average, I’ll probably hit the high on seven of them.”

If it sounds like marketing is as much an art as a science for Ronnie, you won’t get any arguments from him or from Joni. In many ways, Ronnie is an old-school farmer who still relies on the advice and “signs” passed on to him from his father and past generations.

“Daddy used to farm a lot by the old signs,” recalls Ronnie. “His generation knew that when little birds flew low across the fields or when the moon dipped a certain way, it was going to rain. And it usually did.”

“When you grow up hearing that and can still rely on some of those things today, I guess they’re just bred into you,” says Joni. “Using all of that information just becomes instinct.

Because you,” she adds, looking at Ronnie, “are definitely good at knowing when to sell.”

The Whitmires have been working with Calcot since 2008. Before then, they sold their cotton through a long-time buyer in Corpus Christi – a relationship that began with his father and ended when the buyer retired. Change, for Ronnie, was not a simple decision.

“When I found out that the King Ranch and other local growers were using Calcot, I felt more comfortable looking into them” he recalls. “I starting doing a little bit of selling with them at first, but we’ve been working together 100% for the last 4 to 5 years.”

And what about his plans for 2017? Ronnie is already working those out in his head.

“Hopefully, we’ll get another miracle,” he says, laughing. “Prices look much better, and if the weather will let us, we can make a wonderful crop again yield-wise. I don’t have resistant weed issues – yet – and we’re 99% boll weevil free in our area. That helps us on costs. The new seed varieties help, too. But not having boll weevil is probably worth ¼ bale to us.”

Ronnie also admits to being cautious about some of the newer technologies and traits available. For him, again, change comes slowly.

“I’m not one that jumps right in on technologies,” he says. “My cotton is now 100% Roundup Ready and Bollgard, but I am going to try some of the new varieties with the dicamba tolerance this year. I might not need to spray dicamba on it. But if I have to, I have the option. I want to watch it grow and make my own decision about it.”

Not surprisingly, Ronnie also finds time to give back to farming in his area. He currently serves on the board of directors for Midway Gin & Grain CO-OP and was the 2009 Region III Resident Conservation Farmer of Texas. But it’s preparing for the seventh generation of Whitmires that also keeps Ronnie and Joni focused on the family farming tradition.

Their daughter, Meagan, and son, Tanner, grew up working on the farm and still help out when possible. Grandsons Tripp (5), Braddox and Jack (both 2) already show signs of farming in their blood.

“When I pick Tripp up from school, he usually asks ‘Will you take me to the farm?’,” says Joni.

And as for marketing advice to others, Ronnie’s suggestions may seem pretty basic.

“When you see a healthy profit, take it instead of chasing that rainbow,” he says. “Those are hard to catch. Don’t get greedy. You can make a profit, even if you don’t hit the high. And stay away from the lows.”

Sounds just like experience – and good instincts – talking.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

News Stories
News

NCC Lauds Rural Prosperity Task Force Efforts

January 11, 2018

The National Cotton Council has praised the work of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

News

U.S. Cotton Industry Watching China Closely

January 11, 2018

The United States cotton industry is cautiously watching China in hopes that its imports may be on the rise.

Product News

Indigo Offers Premium for Indigo Cotton Production

January 9, 2018

Indigo Ag has announced a new program that offers significant price premiums for U.S. cotton growers who contract to grow Indigo Cotton.

News

Campbell Receives 2017 Cotton Genetics Research Award

January 7, 2018

Dr. B. Todd Campbell, a research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Florence, SC, is the recipient of the 2017 Cotton Genetics Research Award.

News

Jones Named 2018 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year

January 5, 2018

Former Missouri Extension cotton specialist Andrea Jones was recognized by her peers as the 2018 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.

News

New Congressional Action Boosts Cotton’s Optimism

December 20, 2017

The U.S. cotton industry gives a thumbs up to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and to proposed policy that could restore cotton’s Title I coverage under the new farm bill.

Product News

Americot Adds Seven to Sales, Research Teams

December 20, 2017

Americot has added seven new sales and research associates to the company’s staff across the Cotton Belt.

Around The Gin
Product News

Indigo Offers Premium for Indigo Cotton Production

January 9, 2018

Indigo Ag has announced a new program that offers significant price premiums for U.S. cotton growers who contract to grow Indigo Cotton.

Product News

New Bayer Varieties Focus on High Yield, Adaptability

January 5, 2018

Bayer releases five new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for introduction in 2018.

Product News

New PhytoGen TRiO Guards Cottonseed Investment

January 3, 2018

New PhytoGen TRiO seed treatment helps provide early season protection for young cottonseed from diseases, insects and nematodes.

Product News

Americot Adds Seven to Sales, Research Teams

December 20, 2017

Americot has added seven new sales and research associates to the company’s staff across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Seven New Varieties in Deltapine Class of 18

December 11, 2017

Seven new varieties – including five Bollgard 3 XtendFlex offerings – join the Deltapine product lineup as the Class of 18.

Product News

Special Roundup Ready PLUS Incentives for Arkansas

December 7, 2017

Monsanto is offering a special Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform in Arkansas for 2018 for growers planting XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties.

Product News

Monsanto Sets 2018 Crop Protection Incentives

December 5, 2017

Monsanto will provide multiple tools, resources and products to help cotton and soybean growers maximize weed control in 2018.

Product News

Praxidyn’s Mixmate Named a 2018 AE50 Award Winner

November 27, 2017

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has recognized Praxidyn's Mixmate portable ag chemical blending and recordkeeping system with a 2018 AE50 award.

Latest News
News

U.S. Cotton Industry Watching China Closely

January 11, 2018

The United States cotton industry is cautiously watching China in hopes that its imports may be on the rise.

News

NCC Lauds Rural Prosperity Task Force Efforts

January 11, 2018

The National Cotton Council has praised the work of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

News

Campbell Receives 2017 Cotton Genetics Research Award

January 7, 2018

Dr. B. Todd Campbell, a research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Florence, SC, is the recipient of the 2017 Cotton Genetics Research Award.

News

Jones Named 2018 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year

January 5, 2018

Former Missouri Extension cotton specialist Andrea Jones was recognized by her peers as the 2018 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.

News

New Congressional Action Boosts Cotton’s Optimism

December 20, 2017

The U.S. cotton industry gives a thumbs up to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and to proposed policy that could restore cotton’s Title I coverage under the new farm bill.

News

NCC Thanks U.S. Trade Rep for WTO Cotton Support

December 14, 2017

National Cotton Council leaders have expressed thanks to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other U.S. negotiators for supporting U.S. cotton farmers to the World Trade Organization.

News

Comment Period Open for Low Gossypol Cotton

December 4, 2017

A petition seeking deregulation of a cotton variety genetically engineered to produce low levels of gossypol in its seed is now available for public comment from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for 60 days, effective December 5.

News

Drexel Names Specialty Products Manager

November 27, 2017

Aaron Winn has joined Drexel Chemical Company as Specialty Products Manager.

News

Midwest, Western Farmers to Tour High Plains Cotton Operations

November 8, 2017

Thirteen Midwestern and Western farmers will visit cotton and other agricultural operations in West Texas November 12-16, as part of the National Cotton Council’s Multi-Commodity Education Program.

News

Beltwide Takes to the Sky

November 3, 2017

The 2018 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will focus on elevating efficiencies and managing risks – both from the ground and in the air.

News

Wrangler, TAWC Partner for Efficient Water Use in Cotton

October 27, 2017

Wrangler and The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation are partnering to promote best-in-class techniques and technologies for efficient water use among cotton growers.

News

Hurricane Ag Losses in Texas Total $200 Million

October 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey caused more than $200 million in agricultural losses, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension economists, with half of the total losses coming from cotton.

News

BASF Agrees to Buy Bayer’s Liberty and Seed Businesses

October 13, 2017

BASF has agreed to acquire significant parts of Bayer’s seed and non-selective herbicide businesses, including Liberty herbicide and the Stoneville and FiberMax cotton seed brands.

News

Monsanto, Deltapine Support Hurricane Recovery for Texas Ag

October 10, 2017

Monsanto and Deltapine is donating $200,000 to assist with ongoing agricultural recovery efforts in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.

News

Registration Open for 2018 Beltwide Cotton Conferences

October 10, 2017

Registration is now open for the 2018 Beltwide Cotton Conferences set for January 3-5 in San Antonio, TX.