Wes Morgan Is National Ginner Award Recipient; Distinguished Service Award Goes to Dr. Derek Whitelock

Wes Morgan Is National Ginner Award Recipient; Distinguished Service Award Goes to Dr. Derek Whitelock

February 19, 2024
Contact: Marjory Walker
(901) 274-9030

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Wes Morgan, a veteran North Carolina ginner who has provided outstanding service and leadership to the U.S. cotton industry, is the 2023 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year. He was recognized at the recent 2024 National Cotton Ginners Association’s(NCGA) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

The annual NCGA award is presented to a ginner in recognition of: 1) able, efficient and faithful to the ginning industry and 2) continuing those principles exemplified and practiced by Horace Hayden, a former NCGA executive secretary.

Morgan is manager of Rolling Hills Gin, LLC, in New London. He has provided dedicated service and leadership to the industry during his career through participation in multiple organizations. He served as NCGA’s president in 2019 and is a past president of Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, among others. A graduate of the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) Leadership Program, Morgan has served on multiple NCC committees and as a NCC director. He also is a member of the Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee. 

The North Carolina native graduated from King’s College in Charlotte, N.C. in 1987 with an accounting degree. Upon recognizing the nearest cotton gin was 80 miles away, Morgan, along with his father, built a cotton gin in 1996 to serve their local farming community. Even though he initially had no experience with cotton gins, he learned to manage the gin himself and made his gin one of the most efficient in the country. 

The NCGA also recognized Dr. Derek Whitelock as recipient of the NCGA’s 2023-24 Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award. That award honors those who have provided a career of distinguished service to the U.S. ginning industry.

Whitelock, research leader at USDA’s Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, New Mexico, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and then his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering at Oklahoma State University. 

Over his 20-plus year career with USDA, Whitelock has been involved in countless research projects that added to the U.S. ginning industry’s success. Among those studies were focuses on lint cleaners, roller ginning, cotton contamination detection and extraction, as well as agricultural air quality. His innovative research in air quality and leadership contributions to the cotton ginning industry were recognized in 2020 when he received the ASABE Mayfield Cotton Engineering Award.

Whitelock has made substantial contributions to the NCGA through his active participation in gin schools, his role in the National Cotton Ginner Committee, and his advisory capacities within the National Cotton Council.

During its annual meeting, the NCGA elected as its 2024 officers: president – Richard Lindsey, Centre, Ala.; first vice president – Larry Black, Roscoe, Texas; second vice president – Brad Williams, Burlison, Tenn.; and third vice president, Tom Pires of Riverdale, California. Harrison Ashley, Cordova, Tenn., is NCGA’s executive vice president.

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