MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Curtis Stewart, a long-time ginner who has provided outstanding service and leadership to the U.S. cotton industry, is the 2022 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year. He was recognized at the recent 2023 National Cotton Ginners Association’s (NCGA) annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.
The annual NCGA award is presented to a ginner in recognition of: 1) able, efficient and faithful service to the ginning industry and 2) continuing those principles exemplified and practiced by Horace Hayden, a former NCGA executive secretary.
General manager of Spade Cooperative Gin in Spade, Texas, Stewart has provided dedicated service and leadership to the industry during his career through participation in multiple organizations. He served a two-year term as NCGA president and is the outgoing NCGA chairman. He is a past president of Southern Cotton Ginners, Planters Cotton Oil Mill, Dumas Cotton Warehouse, among others. A graduate of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Leadership Program, Stewart has served on multiple NCC committees and as a NCC director and director of its export promotions arm, Cotton Council International. He also is a past chairman of the Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee.
A Texas native, Stewart graduated from Texas A&M University in 1982 with a B.S. degree in Mechanized Agriculture and then worked for several regional cooperatives that included the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Farmers Cooperative Compress, and New Home Coop Gin. He later earned a degree in Agriculture Engineering from Texas Tech while working at the USDA South Plains Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock – where he continues to assist in various research projects.
Stewart later worked as the engineer for Chickasha Cotton Oil Company in Casa Grande, Ariz., before coming president of Dumas Cotton Gin in Dumas, Arkansas. He joined the Spade Cooperative Gin in 2011.
The NCGA also recognized Dr. Greg Holt as recipient of the NCGA’s 2022-23 Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award. That award honors those who have provided a career of distinguished service to the U.S. ginning industry.
Holt, research leader at USDA’s South Plains Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and then his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech while working at the ginning laboratory.
Over his 24-year career with USDA, Holt has been involved in countless research projects that added to the U.S. ginning industry’s success. Among those studies were post-harvest processing of seed cotton, cottonseed and cotton gin by-products such as hydro-mulch and fuel pellets.
Holt also was involved in development of the Power Roll Gin stand design, generation of new particulate matter emissions data that has been used to improve the permitting process for gins, and the successful design and testing of an improved mechanical delinter that efficiently removes residual lint from ginned seed. More recently, his work has focused on designing detection and removal systems for removing costly plastic contaminants from seed cotton.
During its annual meeting, the NCGA re-elected as its 2023 officers: president – Gene Seale, Pima, Ariz.; first vice president – Richard Lindsey, Centre, Ala.; second vice president – Larry Black, Roscoe, Texas; and third vice president – Brad Williams, Burlison, Tennessee. George LaCour, Jr., Morganza, La., who served as NCGA president in 2022, will serve as NCGA chairman. Harrison Ashley, Cordova, Tenn., is NCGA’s executive vice president.