Chris Breedlove, a veteran Texas ginner who has provided outstanding service and leadership to the U.S. cotton industry, is the 2021 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year. He was recognized at the recent 2022 National Cotton Ginners Association’s (NCGA) annual meeting in Houston, 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 and CEO of Willacy Co-op Gin in Raymondville, Texas, Breedlove has provided dedicated service to the industry during his career through participation in multiple organizations. He served as NCGA’s president in 2008, is a past president of Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association and current treasurer of the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust. A National Cotton Council Cotton Leadership Program graduate, he is a NCC director representing the ginner sector.
The West Texas native graduated from Texas A&M University in 1980 with an Agricultural Engineering Degree before joining Anderson Clayton & Company’s oilseed processing division in Phoenix. He soon was moved to Abilene where he oversaw eight of the company’s cotton gins.
Breedlove was hired later to oversee the cotton gin and elevator at Sebastian Cotton & Grain, and during that time earned his MBA degree from Texas A&M. In 2002, he was named general manager of Olton Co-op Gin and several years later named to his present post at Willacy Co-op Gin.
The NCGA also recognized both Jimmy Stover and Russell Sutton as recipients of the NCGA’s 2021-22 Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award. That award honors those who have provided a career of distinguished service to the U.S. ginning industry.
Stover, president of Stover Equipment Company in Corpus Christi, Texas, is a 1963 Oklahoma State University graduate. He was a cotton and wheat producer and cattle rancher in Oklahoma prior to building cotton module equipment. He was instrumental in the organization and building of Tri County Gin in Chattanooga, Okla., where he served on its Board for many years.
In 1989, Stover built the Stover Module Retriever, his first module retriever bed to which he made additional modifications to reduce the potential of seed cotton contaminants reaching the gin. He later designed and built the Stover Unwrapper GIS which removed plastic wrap from round modules at the gin. After the first one sold in 2007, Stover made improvements turning it into an electric machine. That proved to be a huge benefit to the cotton industry as it allowed the gin employee to remove the plastic wrap as the module was rotating to make sure plastic contamination did not get into the gin’s disperser cylinders. In 2008, he won the ASABE AE50 Outstanding Innovations Award for his invention.
Through the years, Stover has designed and built many lines of cotton equipment including Stover Gin Mover, Stover Field Mover, 6 Bale Module Trailer, Stover Cotton Train that hauls 10 round modules, the Stover Moving Floor Module Feeder, Stover Chain Bed Module Feeder, Stover Module Builder, and the Stover Big Red Cotton Cart.
DSA recipient Russell Sutton, a Snyder, Texas, native and Texas Tech University graduate, has been involved with ginning his entire life as his family owned and operated a cotton gin. He has worked for many of the nation’s gin equipment manufacturers which has taken him all over the nation’s Cotton Belt and throughout the world. Having begun his career with Horn Gin Machinery, Sutton worked for Consolidated HGM and then Consolidated Gin Company before joining Lummus Corporation where he recently assumed the position of vice president of Business Development and is based in Lubbock.
Sutton’s nominators cited his 1) unmatched willingness to provide resources through technical knowledge and 2) dedication to ensuring the ginning sector’s viable future which includes his commitment to looking for and developing talented ginning industry members.
During its annual meeting, the NCGA re-elected as its 2022 officers: president – George LaCour, Jr., Morganza, La.; first vice president – Gene Seale, Pima, Ariz.; second vice president – Richard Lindsey, Centre, Ala.; and third vice president – Larry Black, Roscoe, Texas. Curtis Stewart, Spade, Texas, who served as NCGA president in 2020 and 2021, will serve as NCGA chairman. Harrison Ashley, Cordova, Tenn., is NCGA’s executive vice president.