Cotton Incorporated has announced the formation of a Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame, which will annually recognize U.S. cotton industry leaders that have made significant contributions to the Program or to the cotton industry in general. The five inaugural honorees: J. Dukes Wooters (New York); Morgan Nelson (New Mexico); Marshall Grant (North Carolina); Fred Starrh (California); and Lambert Wilkes (Texas) will be recognized for their achievements at the combined Cotton Board/Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida this December.
The Cotton Research and Promotion Program was established in 1966 to expand the demand for upland cotton and to increase profitability for both cotton growers and importers of cotton products.
“As the Research and Promotion Program approaches its fiftieth year, we felt the time was right to acknowledge the contributions of those who have helped shape the modern cotton industry,” says Berrye Worsham, President and CEO of Cotton Incorporated.
- J. Dukes Wooters, the first President of Cotton Incorporated, is recognized for his innovative marketing of cotton to consumers, including the development of the now iconic Seal of Cotton trademark.
- Morgan Nelson, known as “Mr. Cotton” in his home state of New Mexico, was among the first directors of the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors. He is honored for his strong leadership and lengthy tenure in this role, in which he was instrumental in generating and maintaining grower support and helping to shape the direction of Cotton Incorporated.
- Marshall Grant, a staunch advocate of boll weevil eradication, is recognized for his foresight and tenacity in convincing local and national leaders to address one of the greatest threats ever to face the U.S. cotton industry. Heralded as one of the most successful USDA projects, the Boll Weevil Eradication Program also contributed to a reduction in pesticide applications and the implementation of Integrated Pest Management among U.S. cotton growers.
- Professor Lambert Wilkes (deceased), along with his team at Texas A&M, is responsible for the engineering of the cotton module builder, which dramatically increased the efficiency of cotton collection and storage. In 2000, the state of Texas acknowledged the module builder as one of the four most significant economic achievements of the 1970s, alongside the opening of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Southwest Airlines.
- Fred Starrh provided many years of leadership to the industry, first as Chairman of Cotton Incorporated and later as President and Chairman of Cotton Council International. He is honored for his strong leadership and for shepherding Cotton Incorporated through a transition of partnership with Cotton Council International to promote U.S. upland cotton around the world. He also served as the President of the California Cotton Growers Association (formerly Western Cotton Growers Association) from 1986 to 1990.
The 2014 honorees of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame were chosen from nominations made by Certified Producer and Importer Organizations and voted upon by the Chairman’s Committee of the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors. A huge congratulations from the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations to Fred Starrh, and to all of the inaugural recipients on a very special honor!