MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jimmy Dodson, a Robstown, Texas, cotton producer, is the recipient of the 2015 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award. He was honored during the National Cotton Council's (NCC) 2016 annual meeting held in Dallas, Texas, on February 5-7.
The award, named for the late California industry leader and past NCC President Harry S. Baker, is presented annually to a deserving individual who has provided extraordinary service, leadership and dedication to the U.S. cotton industry.
Dodson, a third generation cotton producer, farms dry-land cotton, sorghum and corn in Nueces County near the Chapman Ranch with his family, including his wife, Barbara, and his daughters, Lori McDonald and Licia Massa, as well as a cousin, Jon Gwynn.
Very active in the U.S. cotton industry, Dodson has a long and distinguished record of leadership and service. He chaired the Cotton Foundation in 2003-04, after serving as its president in 2002-03; served on the NCC's Board from 2009-11 and as the chairman of American Cotton Producers in 2010-11. In 2012, he served as the NCC's vice chairman before being named the NCC's 62nd chairman in 2013, a year that required extensive work on the World Trade Organization (WTO) case with Brazil and that included incredible efforts leading to final passage of the 2014 farm law — some three years beyond the initial development of the industry's cotton policy proposal.
In presenting the award, outgoing NCC Chairman Sledge Taylor said that Dodson traveled extensively on behalf of the U.S. cotton industry and was involved in critical meetings in Geneva ahead of the WTO ministerial in Indonesia that year.
He said that under Dodson's leadership, the Cotton LEADS program was launched and key leadership programs reached milestones – with the Producer Information Exchange program celebrating 25 years, the Policy Education Program realizing its 15th anniversary, and the first class of the Emerging Leaders Program being chosen. During Dodson's term as chairman, the NCC also stepped up web-based communications principally with our members concerning the farm bill but also created a special site for Congressional staffers to apprise them of Council' positions on farm policy, as well as trade, appropriations and regulatory issues.
"Following his service as Council Chairman, Jimmy has remained very active in the affairs of our organization, serving as the chairman of the Crop Insurance Implementation Working Group and as a member of the governing board for Cotton LEADS," Taylor noted.
Dodson has been active with the Farm Credit Association, and in 2012, with more than 30 years of service as a director of Farm Credit institutions, he was elected as the chairman of the Board of Farm Credit Bank of Texas. He also is the chairman of the 10th District Farm Credit Council and a member of the Bank's Audit and Compensation Committees.
Dodson, who began farming in 1975, is a 1974 summa cum laude graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.S. in agricultural economics. In 2008, he was inducted into the Tyrus Timm Honor Registry of Former Students. The recipient of numerous industry honors, he received the 2014 Cotton Achievement Award from Cotton Grower magazine.
Previous Harry S. Baker award honorees include cotton producers – Woody Anderson, Duke Barr, Bruce Brumfield, Lloyd Cline, Robert Coker, Bruce Heiden, Kenneth Hood, Bill Lovelady, Bob McLendon, Frank Mitchener, Jimmy Sanford, Jack Stone and Charlie Youngker; ginners -- Lon Mann and Charlie Owen; merchants -- William B. Dunavant, Jr., and Bill Lawson; cooperative official -- Woods Eastland; textile manufacturer -- Duke Kimbrell; association executives -- Gaylon Booker, Neal Gillen, Albert Russell, Earl Sears and B.F. Smith; Congressional members -- Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Representatives Larry Combest and Charles Stenholm; and USDA official -- Charlie Cunningham.