By Lynette Wilson
The global importance of Texas cotton was proudly publicized during Cotton Day at the Capitol. Cotton ambassadors showcased their industry during the 2009 Texas legislative session while visiting elected officials and learning more about the legislative process.
Now celebrating its ninth anniversary, Cotton Day at the Capitol is sponsored by Texas Cotton Producers, a statewide organization comprised of nine regional organizations actively representing cotton growers. As the promotion of cotton becomes more important with each new legislative session, the one-day gathering in Austin steadily grows larger.
This year, more than 70 cotton producers, ginners, and allied industry representatives from across Texas arrived at the Capitol on March 3, 2009, to help spread cotton’s message to each legislator’s office. In addition to thanking elected officials for their continued support of the cotton industry, other key topics raised by the cotton delegation were the continuation of cotton research and boll weevil eradiation funding, and the significance of the state’s top agricultural commodity to the Texas economy.
Wesley Butchee, a Seagraves, Texas, cotton producer and long-time Cotton Day participant, feels it is important to educate the next generation about cotton issues and to expose them to the world of agricultural business. This year, he brought his daughter with him to the Cotton Day. Amanda Butchee, a senior Environmental Crop and Soil Science major at Texas Tech University, was excited to attend.
“It’s important for us to get out and visit with our representatives so they’ll be well informed to make decisions regarding agricultural issues,” Amanda said. “Agriculture is important to our livelihood, and it’s imperative that we keep it in their thoughts.” Crosby county cotton farmer Lloyd Arthur echoed her sentiments.
“You can write letters, make phone calls, send emails, but the time you take to go visit your elected officials will have the most positive effect,” Arthur explained. “Sometimes it’s hard to leave your farming operation, but a face to face meeting definitely shows that you’re passionate about what you stand for and you care about your industry.”