Induction celebration to be held in December
(Cary, NC) – Three influential leaders in the cotton industry have been announced today as the 2023 class of the Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame. The program, now in its tenth year, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the Program or to the cotton industry in general. The honorees will be formally inducted into the Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame at Cotton Incorporated’s Board Annual Meeting this December in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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.
“Over the past several decades, the cotton industry has continued to evolve, shaped by innovation and strong leadership,” says J. Berrye Worsham, President and CEO of Cotton Incorporated. “The 2023 Hall of Fame inductees embody these attributes, and they have played a crucial role in the advancement of the industry with their tireless dedication and commitment.”
The three honorees for the 2023 Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame are James H. “Jimmy” Sanford (Alabama), the late D. D. “Dick” Hardee (Mississippi), and the late Murray Williams (Oklahoma).
The 2023 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 a Committee of Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors.
- Jimmy Sanford, a fourth-generation cotton producer from Alabama, has played an instrumental role in formulating farm policy as an active participant in every Farm Bill debate since 1981. A graduate from Auburn University, Mr. Sanford has held the role of Chairman of the Alabama Cotton Commission since its inception over 30 years ago. A past president of the National Cotton Council and Southern Cotton Growers, Mr. Sanford currently serves as president of Autauga Quality Cotton Association and as chairman of Choice Cotton, all while managing his 4,000-acre family farm. A champion of securing agricultural research funding, Mr. Sanford is also a past recipient of the Southern Cotton Growers most prestigious “Cotton Producer Recognition Award,” and he was named as the 2022 recipient of the “Cotton Achievement Award” presented by Cotton Grower Magazine.
- Dick Hardee (deceased), a native of Snyder, Texas, was a USDA-ARS research entomologist who was an integral part of the team who helped lead to the eradication of the boll weevil in the U.S. Mr. Hardee received degrees from Texas Tech University and Cornell University before beginning his career in 1964 at the Boll Weevil Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University., While at the research laboratory, he led the team of scientists who were trying to replicate the sex attractant for the boll weevil to develop a pheromone trap to draw out boll weevils from surrounding fields. Spending most of his career working in the cotton industry, Mr. Hardee also worked as a crop consultant, and then as the leader of the Southern Insect Management Research Unit at USDA-ARS’ Jamie Whitten Research Center in Mississippi.
- Murray Williams (deceased)was an innovative grower from Oklahoma who has been recognized on local, state, and national levels for his leadership and dedication to the industry. A proponent for soil and water conservation, Mr. Williams oversaw his family farming operation of over 6,500 acres. In the late 1960s, he was the first grower in Oklahoma to use the new pre-plant herbicide Treflan®. On the forefront of new practices, he was the first in his area to implement the installation of laser-guided drainage pipes, aiding in land production, as well as the first to build tail-water pits to allow for the recycling of irrigation water. Additionally, Mr. Williams donated his land to Oklahoma State University for cotton test plots, helping to further advance cotton production in the state. Along with being on the cutting edge of technology on the farm, he served on the National Cotton Council, the National Cotton Board, and the Cotton Incorporated Board of Directors. For his contributions to the industry, Mr. Williams was recognized by Cotton Farming Magazine as the United States Cotton Farmer of the Year in 1980, and by Progressive Farmer Magazine in 1983 as the Man of the Year in Service to Oklahoma Agriculture.
For more information about the Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame and to learn about past recipients, please visit CottonInc.com.
About Cotton Incorporated
Cotton Incorporated is the research and promotion company for Upland cotton. Funded by U.S. cotton growers and importers of Upland cotton-containing products, the not-for-profit organization’s mission is to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton. As a resource for the cotton industry, Cotton Incorporated conducts or oversees more than 450 research and educational projects in an average year. Research areas range from the development of agricultural and textile innovations to analyses of commodity and market data.
To learn more, visit https://www.cottoninc.com/.