The recipients of this year's High Cotton Awards, which are sponsored by Farm Press Publications through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, were honored at the recent National Cotton Council's Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. They include Cliff Fox, Capron, VA; Joe Bostick, Golden, MS; Lawrence Braswell, Raymondville, TX; and Wally Shropshire, Blythe, CA.
In Virginia, Fox, with his brother Clarke, quickly learned the advantages of strip-tillage and other conservation tillage practices such as growing cover crops to protect their soil from erosion.
They also have installed drainage tiles and grass waterways. The brothers have learned to combine spraying trips to reduce their costs of production and are involved in container, oil and tire recycling programs.
Since 1991, Bostick has been focusing on conserving soil and water resources by building and maintaining terraces, grass waterways, improving drainage and converting to no-till to save soil, fuel and labor in Mississippi.
In Texas, Braswell says he's learned that the better he maintains the soil through conservation tillage, the better the cotton crop it produces. Conservation tillage also means leaving cotton stalks, grain sorghum stubble and other crop residue. Besides adding organic matter, the stalks and root systems keep channels open for water to penetrate the soil and for the next crop to follow to moisture.
Western Farm Press honored the California Cotton Pest Control Board and Shropshire, its chairman, for its successful efforts in keeping the pink bollworm out of the San Joaquin Valley for almost four decades. Shropshire has managed the pink bollworm exclusion program, which is considered an environmental benchmark by California regulatory authorities and producers, since 1974.