Published on 02/13/19

UGA Cotton Team honors top producers with annual awards

By Clint Thompson

The University of Georgia Cotton Team recognized the best cotton producers in the state with the 2018 Georgia Quality Cotton Awards during the Georgia Cotton Commission’s annual meeting and UGA Cotton Production Workshop held on Jan. 30, 2019, in Tifton, Georgia.

The awards are presented in three cotton-acreage categories within the four regions of the state: less than 500 acres; 500 to 1,000 acres; and greater than 1,000 acres. Both the winning cotton farmer and the UGA Cooperative Extension agent for the county were recognized during the event.

Cook County farmer Mike Lindsey was presented the Best Cotton Award, which is given to the farmer with the highest loan value and premium.

Other 2018 winners were:

Region 1

  • Less than 500 acres
    1. Grower: Robert Rawlins, Turner County
    2. Ginner: Sconyers Gin and Warehouse, Sycamore
    3. UGA Extension agent: Will Gay
  • 500-1,000 acres
    1. Grower: Chad Hawkins, Wilcox County
    2. Ginner: Arabi Gin Company, Arabi
    3. UGA Extension agent: Andrew Sawyer
  • 1,000-plus acres
    1. Grower: Lancaster Farms, Pulaski County
    2. Ginner: Heart of Georgia Peanut and Gin, Hawkinsville
    3. UGA Extension agent: Jay Porter


Region 2

  • Less than 500 acres
    1. Grower: Tucker Cobb, Washington County
    2. Ginner: Midville Warehouse Inc.
    3. UGA Extension agent: Brent Allen
  • 500-1,000 acres
    1. Grower: Ed Wilson Farms, Jenkins County
    2. Ginner: Midville Warehouse, Midville
    3. UGA Extension agent: Jason Mallard
  • 1,000-plus acres
    1. Grower: Dean Johnson
    2. Ginner: Bryant’s Gin, Bartow
    3. UGA Extension agents: Katie Burch and Pamela Sapp


Region 3

  • Less than 500 acres
    1. Grower: Mike Lindsey, Cook County
    2. Ginner: BCT Gin Co., Quitman
    3. UGA Extension agent: Tucker Price
  • 500-1,000 acres
    1. Grower: Branch and Branch Farms, Tift County
    2. Ginner: Omega Gin Company, Omega
    3. UGA Extension agents: Scott Carlson and Justin Hand
  • 1,000-plus acres
    1. Grower: Michael York, Brooks County
    2. Ginner: BCT Gin Co., Quitman
    3. UGA Extension agents: Stephanie Hollifield and Michasia Dowdy


Region 4

  • Less than 500 acres
    1. Grower: Clifford Dollar III, Decatur County
    2. Ginner: Sowega Cotton Gin and Warehouse, Climax
    3. UGA Extension agent: Nan Bostick
  • 500-1,000 acres
    1. Grower: Andy Sparrow, Seminole County
    2. Ginner: Clover Leaf Gin, Donalsonville
    3. UGA Extension agent: Cody Powell
  • 1,000-plus acres
    1. Grower: RBF and M+S Roberts Farms, Worth County
    2. Ginner: Worth Gin, Sylvester
    3. UGA Extension agent: Bryce Sutherland


“These are producers who are maximizing their productivity by having good quality as well as good yields,” said Jared Whitaker, assistant professor and Extension cotton agronomist at the UGA Tifton campus. “The Extension agents are vital to the success of these producers so it was important for us recognize their achievements as well.”

Georgia's 2018 cotton production season was hit by persistent rains in May, which delayed planting for many growers into June and July. Devastation from Hurricane Michael in October crippled Georgia’s cotton industry.

UGA Extension agents and agricultural economists estimated that losses to Georgia agriculture from Hurricane Michael exceeded $600 million. Also, steady rainfall in November and December delayed or canceled harvests for a substantial portion of cotton acreage.

“The quality that we’ve seen from these growers is impressive considering the type of year that we’ve had,” Whitaker said. “Our farmers faced just about every type of challenge you can imagine from Mother Nature this year. In a year where fiber quality was dramatically impacted, the fact that we still have a lot of growers making great-quality cotton is definitely a good thing.”

The awards are co-sponsored by the Georgia Cotton Commission and BASF.

For up-to-date information about the cotton crop in Georgia, visit

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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