What is in this article?:
- Since Farm Press Publications and The Cotton Foundation began the High Cotton Awards in 1995, we have chronicled the environmental stewardship efforts of 71 cotton producers. Since then, we’ve found that environmental stewardship and a willingness to try new technology go hand in hand.
- These are some of the most environmentally conscientious producers we’ve featured in our 16 years of presenting the bronze Cotton Boll awards.
Delta Region winner Ray Makamson
Delta Region winner Ray Makamson, a veteran of 38 years of farming, produces 3,050 acres of cotton and 700 acres of soybean on his farming operation near Itta Bena, which is located in the middle of the Mississippi Delta.
Observers say Makamson’s attention to detail in conservation practices is evident in the appearance of his farming operation. “The one thing that strikes you is Ray’s meticulous nature,” Trey Cooke, executive director of Delta Wildlife, told Delta Farm Press’ Elton Robinson.
“He is probably the most esthetically-astute farmer that I’m aware of in the Delta. His shop is clean. The grass is clipped, there are no piles of containers or irrigation pipe lying around. If you were to ever want to take somebody to a farming operation to see one of the best actors in the farming community, Ray’s farm would be one you want them to see.”
“Ray runs one of the cleanest operations of almost anyone I know,” said Jerry Singleton, area Extension agent, LeFlore County. “From the shop floor to his equipment, it always clean.”
“My shop, my equipment, my tractors, that’s all the money that I’ve banked through the years,” Makamson explains. “I’m invested in it. The people who work for me take pride in it, too. We take good care of things. I like things neat and orderly.”
Makamson’s conservation efforts mesh perfectly with his forward-looking style.
As a member of Delta Wildlife, Makamson participated in the Monsanto Mississippi River Partnership Project, created to determine the effectiveness of conservation measures on improving wildlife habitat and water quality. He installed numerous water control structures for use in reducing nutrient and sediment loss from his cropland to benefit water quality in adjacent water bodies.