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Award Honorees

Farmer Members, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative

2016 : Farmer of the Year

In 1993, Texas farmers formed the cooperative when they realized they were producing more organic cotton than the market could absorb. Banding together, they began efforts to develop markets and to avoid being at the mercy of cotton brokers and merchants. Many of these early pioneers still are involved in promoting organic farming and educating the public about organic practices.
 
The cooperative began with 30 farm families producing 1,400 organic bales and 4,900 transitional bales from about 5,000 acres in 1993. In 2015, its 50 farm family members harvested 14,000 organic bales and 1,200 transitional bales on over 20,000 acres. They produce 80 to 90 percent of the organic cotton grown in the United States.

It hasn't always been easy. Over time, the cooperative has survived floods, sandstorms, hailstorms and droughts that destroyed as much as 70 percent of its crops some years. It has survived due to the farmers' personal commitment to organic production, the strength in its cooperative membership structure, and its vision for cleaner agricultural system. 

Jimmy Wedel, President of the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, and member of OTA's Farmer's Advisory Council, will be one of the farmers accepting the leadership award at the September 21 ceremony in Baltimore.

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