37 Years Of Honoring Achievement

One of the most gratifying and enjoyable parts of serving the U.S. cotton industry is interviewing and highlighting some of the truly great leaders who go above and beyond the ordinary in every aspect of the work they do. And once a year for the past 37 years, we’ve highlighted a single individual who’s work clearly stands out above the crowd through the Cotton Grower Achievement Award.

Now more than ever, the U.S. cotton industry needs to identify and amplify clear voices that are helping to illuminate the way to the future. Larry McClendon of Marianna, AR, the 2006 Grower Achievement Award Winner, is the kind of leader that offers inspiration and insight to an industry in the midst of seismic global change.

In these pages, we honor and celebrate the career so far of an outstanding grower, who as a boy never thought he’d return to the cotton fields, but after college fell in love with the industry and its people all over again. Now, no one descriptor accurately portrays McClendon, whose cotton resume includes grower, ginner, warehouseman, cotton-association executive, award winner, and dedicated family man. Except for, perhaps, “leader.”

We at Cotton Grower magazine welcome Larry McClendon to this elite class of individuals serving U.S. cotton with honor, and we were pleased to present the award to Larry in front of more than 250 cotton leaders at our annual Beltwide Luncheon at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans. We’ve learned a lot from our experience with him, and we hope that by sharing his story that you’ll be equally inspired.

Yours In Service,
The Editors

A special thank you to Monsanto Co. and Case IH for their sponsorship of the Cotton Grower Achievement Award, and for their support of leadership in U.S. cotton.

 

A Lesson In Leadership

Larry McClendon has made quite a life for himself in the cotton business, but it was no overnight success story. The Marianna, AR, grower produced his first crop in 1975, and then slowly over the course of three decades deepened his involvement in the industry to include ginning and warehousing as owner of McClendon, Mann & Fenton Gin Co., while also finding time to give back through association leadership. His dedication to excellence and remarkable success are the main reasons why McClendon was honored by his peers at the 37th Cotton Grower Beltwide Luncheon at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans as the 2006 Cotton Grower Achievement Award recipient.

‘Crazy Ideas’
In his remarks at the Luncheon, McClendon underscored some of the industry’s greatest accomplishments, noting that many of them had emerged and been discussed over the years at the Beltwide Luncheon.

“I’ve sat in this Luncheon for several years, and the biggest thing that’s come to me out of this meeting is that I’ve heard some of the wildest and craziest ideas that could ever surface,” he says. “I reflect back on those – herbicides we can spray over the top of cotton that kill everything but the cotton, insecticides that are contained within the seed, 6 row cotton pickers, cotton pickers that have on-board module builders, satellite imagery that allows us to better manage our crops … and strangely enough, as I stand before you today, most of these ‘crazy ideas’ now have practical applications on most farms across the U.S.”

McClendon grew his business by carefully watching these trends and others, and staying open-minded to change. His broad involvement in the industry includes involvement in the National Cotton Ginners Association, where he currently serves as chairman, and in the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, where he was president in 2000. He received both these associations’ highest honor as Ginner of the Year.

“Larry is just a good businessman,” says Tim Price, SCGA executive vice president. “He’s a guy who can tell you when a tractor got stuck on the back forty, and yet at the same time he may be entertaining a Chinese mill merchant. He has a great grasp of things going on around him and how all of these things have to work together.”

Work To Do

In accepting the award and acknowledging the industry’s many accomplishments, McClendon took a few moments to reflect on the work that U.S. growers must do to remain competitive domestically and globally in the midst of big market changes.

“I wonder today, as I stand before you, how will cotton fit in a new energy component in a modern world?” he asked. “I get concerned about how will we shape farm policy – we’ve got to protect the interest of the grower out here, but yet again, we’re influenced by the World Trade Organization, a new Congress, and non-governmental organizations like the Environmental Working Group. All those will have impact and influence on our decision-making.

“We’ve got to recognize that we’re in a world market,” he continues, “and we’ve got to be more efficient today with how we move cotton from the U.S. producer to our customers here in this country and overseas.”
In concluding his acceptance, he challenged his peers in the audience to stretch their thinking, and their businesses, to find ways to survive and thrive amid the shifting winds of the U.S. cotton industry.

“So I lay those issues out before you today, and those ideas. There’s been kind of a catch phrase in the media over the last month – when there is some discussion as to what President Bush would do in Iraq, the media guy asks, ‘Well, will he go big or will he go long?’ I want to say to you today in agriculture, that’s exactly what we need to be doing. We need to be thinking big and thinking long.

“So, I challenge you all to do that and next year, when I’m back (at this Luncheon), I’d like to hear some more crazy ideas from you.”

COTTON GROWER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS
1970 Dan Pustejovsky 1980 Herman Majors 1990 Billy Griggs 2000 Jimmy Hargett
1971 John Nigliazzo 1981 Dalton R. Pittman 1991 Rick Parsons 2001 Hollis Isbell
1972 Jack Hamilton 1982 Tommy Funk 1992 Jay Hardwick 2002 Kenneth Hood
1973 William Falls 1983 Bill Pearson 1993 Steve Sossaman 2003 Larkin Martin
1974 Jack Funk 1984 Dr. Richard Kinzer 1994 Jack Frey/Bill Tracy 2004 Don Cameron
1975 Owen Bibb 1985 Wayne Bush 1995 Charles Parker 2005 Steve Verrett
1976 Joe Craven 1986 Chuck Youngker 1996 Jimmy Blythe 2006 LARRY MCCLENDON
1977 Duke Barr 1987 Robroy Fisher 1997 Jack Hoover    
1978 Ben Bearden 1988 Ray Young 1998 Allen L. Baucom    
1979 Marion Baskin 1989 Mark Borba 1999 Paul Good    

Leave a Reply

Planting Stories
Planting

Clemson: Focus on Insect Management, Proper Variety Selection

February 4, 2016

Clemson Extension specialists point to insect management and proper variety selection as keys to help SC cotton producers grow more profitable crops in 2016.

Planting

Mississippi Variety Trial Data and Planning Budgets Now Available

December 4, 2015

Mississippi State University Extension’s 2015 On-Farm Cotton Variety Trials publication and Cotton 2016 Planning Budgets guide are both now available online.

Planting

NC State: PGR Management Considerations

June 17, 2015

Side-dressing could help spur vigorous cotton growth, especially with timely rain. According to the NC State Extension cotton team, it’s time to start PGR management plans.

Planting

El Nino Weather Good for High Plains Cotton

May 12, 2015

The Texas High Plains are benefitting from the current El Nino weather pattern. And that’s good news for this year’s cotton crop.

Young Cotton Plant
Disease Control / Nematodes

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Seedling Diseases and Soil Fertility

April 29, 2015

Two new webcasts focusing on seedling diseases and soil fertility have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource.

Planting

Don’t Let Early Season Thrips and Weed Management Impact Seedling Vigor

April 17, 2015

Increased challenges in early season thrips and weed management can potentially impact the value of vigorous cotton seedling growth.

Planting

Late Cotton Burndown Strategies

April 15, 2015

With cotton planting set to begin soon, many growers are looking for burndown options for their cotton acres.

Around The Gin
Product News

Brake Herbicide Receives EPA Registration for Cotton

February 12, 2016

The EPA has registered Brake herbicide for pre-emergence use in cotton.

Product News

New FieldView Drive Provides Real Time Field Data Transfer

January 26, 2016

The Climate Corporation is launching FieldView Drive, a device that provides seamless transfer of real time field data and mapping from planting or harvesting equipment to a mobile device.

Product News

PhytoGen Releasing First Enlist Cotton Variety for 2016

January 13, 2016

PhytoGen is releasing PHY 490 W3FE, the first cottonseed variety with the Enlist cotton trait, for the 2016 growing season.

Product News

Enlist Cotton Ready to Launch for 2016

January 6, 2016

Dow AgroSciences announced that cotton growers will have access to the Enlist cotton technology in 2016.

Product News

Bayer Announces New 2016 FiberMax and Stoneville Cotton Varieties

January 5, 2016

Bayer has announced the release of three new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for 2016, all featuring the company’s GlyTol, LibertyLink and TwinLink technologies.

Product News

Deltapine Announces Class of 16 Varieties

December 14, 2015

Four new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton varieties make up the recently announced Deltapine Class of 16.

Product News

PhytoGen Varieties Raise Standards for Yield and Quality

November 30, 2015

Growers propelled two PhytoGen brand varieties toward the top of the 2015 USDA Cotton Varieties Planted report.

Product News

2016 Seed Showcase – All-Tex and Dyna-Gro

November 16, 2015

Sister cottonseed companies are working to extend their footprint in 2016.

Latest News
Planting

Clemson: Focus on Insect Management, Proper Variety Selection

February 4, 2016

Clemson Extension specialists point to insect management and proper variety selection as keys to help SC cotton producers grow more profitable crops in 2016.

Planting

SC Cotton Growers Look to Rebound from 2015 Flood

January 28, 2016

After South Carolina’s cotton crop was essentially flooded out in 2015, what’s in store for the state’s growers this year?

Planting

Market Prices Impacting Early 2016 Crop Decisions

January 19, 2016

As farmers in the Rio Grande Valley try to finalize cropping decisions before planting begins in the coming weeks, many are still struggling with what to plant. For some, that will likely be cotton.

Planting

Mississippi Variety Trial Data and Planning Budgets Now Available

December 4, 2015

Mississippi State University Extension’s 2015 On-Farm Cotton Variety Trials publication and Cotton 2016 Planning Budgets guide are both now available online.

Planting

NC State: PGR Management Considerations

June 17, 2015

Side-dressing could help spur vigorous cotton growth, especially with timely rain. According to the NC State Extension cotton team, it’s time to start PGR management plans.

Planting

El Nino Weather Good for High Plains Cotton

May 12, 2015

The Texas High Plains are benefitting from the current El Nino weather pattern. And that’s good news for this year’s cotton crop.

Disease Control / Nematodes

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Seedling Diseases and Soil Fertility

April 29, 2015

Two new webcasts focusing on seedling diseases and soil fertility have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource.

Planting

Don’t Let Early Season Thrips and Weed Management Impact Seedling Vigor

April 17, 2015

Increased challenges in early season thrips and weed management can potentially impact the value of vigorous cotton seedling growth.

Planting

Late Cotton Burndown Strategies

April 15, 2015

With cotton planting set to begin soon, many growers are looking for burndown options for their cotton acres.

Planting

Choose Proper Seeding Rate for Optimum Plant Populations

April 15, 2015

With cotton planting ready to begin, it’s important for growers to keep the difference between seeding rates and plant populations in mind.

Planting

Cotton Variety Test Comparisons Now Available Online

April 8, 2015

Cotton Incorporated and Extension cotton specialists have partnered with SeedMatrix to make cotton variety yield test comparisons easily accessible to producers via computer, smartphone or tablet.

Planting

Enlist Joins the Flag the Technology Program

April 7, 2015

Dow AgroSciences plants its flag to help avoid mis-applications among herbicide technologies.

Planting

Soil Testing Still the Cornerstone for Fertilization Programs

March 30, 2015

In times of lower commodity prices and stable-to-higher input costs, the right fertilization program should still begin with soil testing.

Planting

Choose the Right Mix for Spring Burndown

March 19, 2015

Judging by the phone calls he’s receiving, Tom Barber, University of Arkansas Extension weed scientist, says that burndown applications are at the top of growers’ priority lists.

Planting

Georgia Cotton Enterprise Budgets for 2015 Available Online

March 13, 2015

The University of Georgia has posted its 2015 Cotton Enterprise Budgets online to provide guides to cotton growers for planning and decision making.