Billy Carter, the executive vice president of the N.C. Cotton Producers Association, died Dec. 30 from injuries he suffered in an automobile accident near Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
The funeral held on Jan. 5, in Carter's hometown in Scotland Neck, N.C., was well attended, and at the same time, about 500 miles away in Atlanta, Ga., Eddie Smith, chairman of the National Cotton Council of America, paused the proceedings in the Production Conference at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in tribute to Carter's long service to the cotton industry, asking the audience to remember him.
Carter's untimely death was a great shock in the cotton farming community. Carter and his wife, Beverly, owned and operated Carter Farms, near Scotland Neck for 30 years, and Carter had been the VP of NCCPA since 2002.
In a press release recognizing the loss, Brad Robb, vice president of communications at the Cotton Board said, "Billy was an outstanding leader. He spent a considerable amount of time on international trade issues as a long-time member of cotton's USDA Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee, helped bring a long-term vision to cotton leadership in the Southeast and was a close, personal friend to many of us. We will miss Billy's insight, his straight-forward approach to problems, and his congenial sense of humor."
In the early 1990s Carter was named Cotton Producer of the Year for the Southeastern U.S. and was a former chairman of the American Cotton Producers. He was involved with the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated, the N.C. Boll Weevil Foundation and was a member of the Advisory Board for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at N.C. State University.
Carter was preceded in death by his son, Christopher Lee "Chris" Carter. He is survived by his wife Beverly Hancock Carter, his daughter Beth Burchell and her husband Greg, of Nicholasville, Ky., his parents Willie Lee and Margaret Carter of Scotland Neck, sisters Brenda Phelps and husband, Joey, Washington, Susie Fleming and husband Russ of Kill Devil Hills, one granddaughter, Bella Zanotti and several nephews and nieces.