Group sets priorities for cotton industry

After the success of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in its zone, the Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association had more time and muscle to devote to other cotton goals.

Randall Conner, executive director, Winters, Texas, says the group now aims to make strides for cotton in education, promotion, research and political involvement.

“We try to do things to help cotton in both Washington, D.C., and Austin,” he allows.

SRPCGA works closely with the National Cotton Council, Texas Cotton Producers and the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, where it has a board member.

The group also has representation on the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated board, with its role on the Texas State Support Committee, which directs research funds throughout Texas.

Key Points

Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association is a busy group.

SRPCGA targets education, promotion, research and political work.

Group cooperates with many other organizations for the good of cotton.


In addition, ginners in the SRPCGA territory are heavily involved in the Texas Cotton Ginners Association, with Jerry Multer, manager of the Wall Co-op Gin at Wall, having served as the immediate past president of the TCGA.

“We normally send two or three members on legislative trips to Washington each year,” Conner says. “We also try to attend two to three American Cotton Producers meetings per year, and also National Cotton Council events.”

The SRPCGA has hosted NCC’s ever-popular Producer Information Exchange tours. “Besides hosting PIE tours, we send as many of our people as possible to PIE tours in other regions of the Cotton Belt,” Conner says.

Conner says a PIE tour is a wonderful way producers from different regions can see how cotton is grown in another part of the nation.

SRPCGA members also have traveled to foreign countries on behalf of U.S. and Texas cotton, including San Angelo growers Kenneth Dierschke and Doug Wilde.

And you always will see someone from SRPCGA at the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences — wherever the cotton industry’s biggest annual event is held. Conner says the Beltwide conferences showcase the latest tools for SRP growers back home.

“We also try to send as many as we can on Cotton Incorporated tours, and that helps our producers see where their money is being spent on research and marketing,” Conner says.

In addition, SRPCGA will host conferences during the summer to show growers how the latest cotton technology can help them. The group also will coordinate a couple of field tours with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service each year.

To show growers how their cotton is graded, the organization takes tours of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Cotton Classing Office in Abilene.

Targeting research

In addition to the Southern Rolling Plains being the first zone to demonstrate the success of boll weevil eradication, SRPCGA has been on the cutting edge of cotton research, especially studies done on controlling cotton root rot, which were performed primarily in the SRP region.

Rick Minzenmayer, Integrated Pest Management coordinator for Runnels and Tom Green counties, and Tom Isakeit, plant pathologist, Texas A&M University, College Station, have been instrumental in that work, performing critical research indicating that flutriafol is effective against cotton root rot.

That has included the John and Doug Wilde farm at San Angelo and others over several years. At this time, that work has led to hopes that flutriafol will receive a Sec. 18 Emergency Use Permit for cotton in 2012.

SRPCGA devotes $15,000 to $20,000 per year on PRIDE — Partnerships in Research, Innovation, Demonstration and Education — channeling additional research funds to key projects such as cotton root rot research.

Working with others

The two biggest events that SRPCGA coordinates are the Concho Valley Cotton Conference in San Angelo and the AgriPlex Ag Day in Ballinger in alternate years.

The group also works with other associations nearby such as the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association and the St. Lawrence Cotton Growers Association.

In fact, the three associations will work together in 2012 to sponsor “Cotton Appreciation Day” with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas as keynote speaker. Conaway’s 11th congressional district includes 36 agricultural counties in central and western Texas. (For more information, send an email to srpcga@wtxs.net.)

New SRPCGA directors, with Conner as executive director, include Robert Englert, president, Norton; Doug Wilde, vice president, San Angelo; Bill Belew, secretary, Wingate; David Kubenka, treasurer, Wall; Kenneth Gully, reporter, Eola; Kenneth Dierschke, San Angelo; Max Kerley, Miles; Stuart Lehr, Paint Rock; Ron Niehues, Miles; Richard Pelzel (immediate past president), Miles; and Doyle Schniers, San Angelo.

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HE’S A BUSY GUY: You can’t blame Randall Conner if his desk is a bit cluttered as he wears two hats as executive director of the Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association Inc. and as economic development director of the Winters Area Business and Industrial Foundation. He says he knows where to find everything.

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TRACTOR BRINGS COLOR: The antique, fully restored John Deere tractor brings bright color to the holiday season this year at the Gus Pruser Agricultural Exhibit, which is adjacent to the Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers headquarters in Winters, Texas. SRPCGA Executive Director Randall Conner remembers such tractors from his youth.

This article published in the December, 2011 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.