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
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

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.

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

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.

Around The Gin
Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Begins Eighth Year of On-Farm Variety Evaluation

April 28, 2015

Nearly 200 farmers will be part of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator program this year to help evaluate cotton variety candidates for the Deltapine Class of 16.

Product News

EPA Approves Enlist Duo Herbicide for Use in Additional States

April 2, 2015

The EPA has approved Enlist Duo herbicide for use in nine additional states, including four in the Cotton Belt.

Product News

New 2015 CROPLAN Cotton Varieties Feature Bollgard II XtendFlex Technology

March 19, 2015

WinField is adding Monsanto’s new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton trait to two new CROPLAN cotton varieties for 2015.

Precision Technology

New Features for TeeJet Aeros 9040 Field Computer

March 18, 2015

TeeJet has added new features to its Aeros 9040 Field Computer for 2015.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches New DynaJet Flex Nozzle Control System

March 17, 2015

The new DynaJet Flex 7120 nozzle control system from TeeJet Technologies helps growers manage spray quality across a variety of operating speeds and application rates.

Product News

New Cheminova Chemistry to Help Control Herbicide Resistant Weeds

February 23, 2015

Cheminova plans to register pethoxamid, a new herbicide active ingredient, to help growers manage herbicide-resistant weeds.

Product News

Brake Herbicide Receives Section 18 Approvals in Six States

February 18, 2015

Brake Herbicide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in six cotton producing states.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Matrix 430 Provides Simple, Easy-to-Use Guidance

February 18, 2015

TeeJet Technologies’ new Matrix 430 GNSS guidance system is ideal for a wide range of field applications.

Latest News
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.

Cotton Production

Cotton Grower Acreage Survey: Growers Dialing Back Acres in 2015

January 5, 2015

The 2015 Cotton Grower Acreage Survey suggests cotton farmers could reduce cotton plantings by more than 10 percent this year.

Planting

2015 Tennessee Cotton Variety Guide Available Online

December 16, 2014

The 2015 Tennessee Cotton Variety Guide is now available online.

Planting

2014 Mississippi Small Plot Trial Data Now Available

December 15, 2014

Data from the 2014 Mississippi Small Plot Cotton Official Variety Trial is now available through Mississippi State University.

Planting

AgriLife Extension’s On-Farm Cotton Variety Trial Data Available

November 26, 2014

The annual Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation trial results for the South, East and Central Regions of Texas are now available from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Cotton Production

USDA Says Cotton Planting Nearly Complete, Early Crop in Good Shape

June 9, 2014

According to the June 8 USDA cotton crop reports, 89 percent of this year's crop has now been planted, and the early crop is off to a solid start.