What is in this article?:
- High Cotton winner dedicated to family, agriculture
- Four-bale, short-season cotton
- Environmental stewards
- Pink bollworm battle
- Clyde Sharp, Roll, Ariz., is the winner of the 2014 Western Farm Press High Cotton Award.
- Sharp is a highly successful cotton grower, environmental steward, and national cotton industry leader.
- The Sharp family grows Upland cotton, alfalfa, wheat, onions, and Sudangrass in the Arizona low desert.
Four-bale, short-season cotton
They planted NexGen 1511B2RF in mid-April; the crop was harvested in early October and was ginned at Growers Mohawk Gin at Roll and marketed through the Calcot Limited cooperative. Sharp is vice-chairman of both organizations.
Despite the short growing season, Sharp’s cotton yield was 4 bales per acre. Their round-module pickers harvested an average 3.66 bales per acre and Rood machines collected another one-third bale from the bottom of plants and lint on the ground.
Sharp grins from ear-to-ear in talking about his record yield, and admits to a bit of luck. The local gin average was less than 3 bales per acre.
“I’ll take luck over skill any day,” he says. “I like to experiment with new varieties.”
He credits lower humidity during the summer monsoon season, cooler summer nighttime temperatures, the NexGen variety, and farming skill for his bale-buster crop.
For generations, farming has been a deep passion for the Sharp family. Clyde and David’s parents — Lynn and Irene Sharp — operated a dairy in the greater Phoenix area and grew crops for the cows. After graduation from the University of Arizona, Clyde helped run the dairy, while David managed the crops.
With ever-increasing urban encroachment in the Phoenix area, the Sharps sold the dairy operation and moved to Roll in 1987, shifting totally to crop production. It didn’t take long for them to put down roots and make their mark at local, state, national, and international levels.
Among the life lessons their parents instilled in the Sharp boys was the importance of community service and giving back to the agricultural industry.
For example, on the community level Clyde and David built a country-size barbeque grill with a flaming blowtorch and sheets of metal. Over the years, they have cooked barbeque for various worthwhile causes, with proceeds supporting 4-H, FFA, Rotary, and other organizations. The brothers claim title to the best barbequed meats in the West.
When the local gin manager stopped by seeking a candidate to represent the area on the Calcot board, it opened doors to numerous future leadership roles for Clyde. Today, he is a National Cotton Council executive committee member; chairman of the NCC’s cotton grower arm, the American Cotton Producers; a member of the NCC Boll Weevil and Pink Bollworm Action Committees; ACGA board member; member of the local Natural Resources Conservation District Board; and an elder at the Mohawk Valley Community Church.
Previously-held positions include three years as ACGA president, several years as chairman of the Arizona Cotton Research and Promotion Council, chairman of Cotton Council International, and Cotton International board member.