MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Dr. Mark Lange, who served as president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council from 2003 until his retirement in 2015, is the recipient of the 2016 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award. He was honored during the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) 2017 annual meeting held in Dallas, Texas, on February 10-12.
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.
In presenting the award, outgoing NCC Chairman Shane Stephens said that during Lange’s tenure as the NCC’s CEO and through his leadership, the NCC secured favorable cotton provisions in a succession of farm bills, successfully addressed a number of critical trade issues, reduced operating costs while moving the NCC to more a modern and efficient headquarters office facility, and achieved record levels of membership support and leadership involvement.
“Like the Council CEOs before him, Mark Lange maintained the Council’s position as our nation’s premier commodity organization while successfully meeting every challenge before our industry,” Stephens said. “Mark left the Council in an outstanding position to continue its work and programs of unparalleled service to the U.S. cotton industry.”
Stephens also noted that NCC-managed programs as well as the organizations under its umbrella – its export promotion arm, Cotton Council International, the Cotton Foundation and the National Cotton Ginners Association – all flourished under Lange’s leadership.
Prior to being named president/CEO, Lange served as the NCC’s vice president for policy analysis and program coordination and before that director of the NCC’s Economic Services and Information Services departments.
Lange served in a variety of capacities with regional and national agricultural economic associations. From 2000 to 2003, he was on the advisory committee to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. From 2005 to 2011, he served on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade, which provides the Agriculture Secretary and the U.S. Trade Representative with advice and information on negotiating objectives, bargaining positions and other matters related to the development, implementation and administration of U.S. agricultural trade policy.
Before joining the NCC in 1990, Lange was an associate professor of Agricultural Economics at Louisiana State University. During his academic career, he published articles in the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Econometrics, Southern Journal of Economics, Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, and Journal of Cultural Economics.
Lange earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Economics from Indiana State University and received a Ph.D. in Economics from Iowa State University. He and his wife, Janis, have a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren and are active in Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Memphis.
Previous Harry S. Baker award honorees include cotton producers -- Woody Anderson, Duke Barr, Bruce Brumfield, Lloyd Cline, Robert Coker, Jimmy Dodson, 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.