Roger Malkin Honored As Recipient of Cotton Industry Achievement Award

The late Roger Malkin, a pioneering Mississippi agribusinessman who served as long-time chairman and CEO of Delta and Pine Land Co., is the recipient of the 2001 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award. He was recognized at the NCC's 2001 annual meeting.

January 31, 2001
Contact: Marjory Walker
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SAN DIEGO, CA - The late Roger Malkin, a pioneering Mississippi agribusinessman who served as long-time chairman and CEO of Delta and Pine Land Co., is the recipient of the 2001 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award.

The announcement was made here today at the Council's annual meeting.

The annual award, established in 1997, is named for Oscar Johnston, whose vision, genius and tireless efforts were foremost in the organization and shaping of the Council more than 60 years ago. The award is presented to an individual, now deceased, who served the cotton industry, through the Council, over a significant period of his or her active business career. Recognizing more than office or position held, the award honors someone who, like Johnston, exerted a positive influence on the industry and who demonstrated character and integrity as well as perseverance and maturation during that service.

In presenting the award to Malkin's daughter, Melissa Malkin, Council Board Chairman Ron Rayner said, "It is impossible today to adequately pay tribute to Roger's contribution to cotton and to all of agriculture. How do you pay homage to someone who left such an indelible mark on this industry?

"Roger was a pioneer in the world of agribusiness who worked to make his adopted Mississippi Delta home a better place. He was called a visionary who knew what it took to succeed in both the business world and the community. And he was a tireless force for advancing education and the quality of life in the Delta, a force that will be sorely missed."

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Malkin graduated from Dartmouth College and received a Masters of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Thanks to his devotion to improving the conditions that individuals and farmers faced, he quickly became a trusted member of the Mississippi Delta community, as well as the U.S. cotton industry. After a brief career in real estate, he acquired, in one of the country's earliest leveraged buyouts, Federal Compress and Warehouse Co. in Memphis, TN. Shortly thereafter, he acquired Delta and Pine Land, helping the company expand worldwide.

"Fusing biotechnology and farming, Roger helped Delta and Pine become the world's largest cotton breeder with business in the U.S. and 18 other countries," Rayner said. "Under his 22-year watch, Delta and Pine breakthroughs included early maturing varieties, smooth leaf cotton, the first transgenic row crop seed and the first Roundup Ready cotton seed."

Malkin's success with D&PL, Rayner noted, mirrored Oscar Johnston's successful preservation of and development of the company after Johnston became D&PL president in 1927.

Rayner said one of Malkin's most memorable contributions to the National Cotton Council occurred during his tenure as a board member. Due to his suggestion, the framing of Council resolutions was forever changed. Malkin suggested that resolutions should be framed in a positive rather than negative sense so that the Council favored reasonable regulation of the particular practice to which the legislation or regulation was directed. This important contribution serves the Council well today.

Malkin, who died last year, was a philanthropist who championed education programs. He was an avid supporter of Dartmouth College, where he established a scholarship program for students from the Delta and supported the Center for Jewish students. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis in 1999. He was a benefactor of the Mississippi State University Agribusiness Institute, served as director of the Delta State University Foundation in Cleveland, MS, and was a benefactor of the school’s Delta and Pine Land Theatre at its Center for the Performing Arts. This year he received the Governor's Arts Patron Award from the Mississippi Arts Commission. He also created the Deer Creek Foundation.

Previous Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are: George C. Cortright, Jr., a Rolling Fork, MS, cotton producer and 14th Council President; Walter Montgomery, Sr., a Spartanburg, SC, textile manufacturer; and former NCC executive vice president, William Rhea Blake.