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Cotton News

April 14, 2022

By April 13, 2022No Comments

Guyle Roberson (left) and his brother Randy.

Faces of Cotton: Eight Seconds with Guyle Roberson

Waiting for his turn to run drills, Guyle Roberson breathed in and out, clenching and unclenching his hands. Jogging in place, staring at the other players also working to change their destiny. This is it, he thought, this is my moment. My chance. They call his name. He steps out on the field.

Seth Sowder and Guyle Roberson

Producer Seth Sowder and Guyle Roberson with the first ginned bale of cotton in 2021.

An hour later, he’s cut from the team.

Reflecting on chasing a football career, Roberson isn’t bitter, which says a lot about his character. An All-American offensive tackle at Lubbock Christian College (now Lubbock Christian University), he suffered a knee injury that hurt his chances of playing professionally. However, he didn’t quit. He worked his way up to playing for the Twin City Cougars, a minor league in California, and a good season there gave him his shot to try out for the Houston Oilers.

While he didn’t make a career out of playing football, the discipline and teamwork the sport taught him can be seen throughout his life. The farm boy from Amherst has had quite a ride so far. 

One Second …

Born and raised on a farm in Lamb County, Roberson was no stranger to working.  Farming alongside his father and brother was special. “While I never made a career out of farming,” he said, “I won’t ever forget how working with my family shaped me as a person.”

After football didn’t work out, Roberson worked for Lubbock Power and Light. He spent the next 21 years there working his way to manager of three departments and 45 employees. “Teamwork was crucial in that role,” Roberson said. “And, in a way, I believe it helped prepare me for the one I’m in now at Texas Producers Co-op.”

Two Seconds …

In 2008, Roberson was approached by Amherst gin board members asking him to run the gin. When he walked in the doors that May, he locked eyes with all his high school football and little league teammates, including his former little league baseball coach, and knew he had made the right decision. “It felt like a family reunion,” Roberson added. “I had been gone for a while and it was nice to be back home.”

Roberson is a numbers guy. He likes collecting data and measuring trends. He quickly automated the bale count system at the gin and analyzed components that led to inefficiency. Once he had measurements in place, he began prioritizing which concerns were of greatest importance.

Three Seconds …

Charles Hines and Guyle Roberson

Guyle Roberson (right) with long-time patron Charles Hines from Littlefield, Texas.

The customers were also part of the analysis process. Roberson assessed where they could provide more value for customers and made strides to improve and maintain product quality both in and out of the gin. “We weren’t just ginning their cotton,” Roberson added. “We wanted to provide more than that.” It worked. The Amherst gin grew by 15% in the first few years of Roberson’s leadership.

Four Seconds …

In 2016, Roberson was approached about a possible merger between Sudan’s gin and Amherst. He immediately went to his brother, who sat on the board for Amherst to get his opinion. The merger went through that June.

“Mergers are…I guess emotional is the right word for it,” Roberson added. “A lot of emotions when merging two gins into one co-op.”

Guyle Roberson with Greg Harper of Sudan, Texas

Guyle Roberson with Greg Harper of Sudan, Texas.

The merger gave birth to the Texas Producers Cooperative Association — a $28 million company, averaging 105,000 ginned bales a year.

Five Seconds

While the primary function is ginning cotton, the Texas Producers Co-op doesn’t see a lot of downtime in the off-season. As soon as the last bale is ginned, the co-op begins preparing and planning for next year. “That’s when our agronomy season begins,” Roberson adds. “We start looking at seed varieties pretty quickly after ginning.”

The co-op also runs a farm store and automotive shop year-round.

Six Seconds …

Guyle and Sherri Roberson

Guyle Roberson and his wife Sherri.

Roberson married his wife, Sherri, 31 years ago and has three children. His oldest daughter, Meagan Hunton, is a medical office manager in Amarillo, Texas. Randi Brooke Sheffy is a radiologist in Dimmitt, Texas, and the youngest, Shane Roberson, is a 3D prop artist in Austin, Texas. He also has a six-year-old granddaughter named Zoey.

Roberson’s brother, Randy, was always the one he went to for advice. “He was my go-to, my rock,” Roberson said. “His character was unmatched.”

When Sudan and Amherst merged, Randy decided to allow his board position to go up for re-election. “He volunteered to do that for me since I would be the CEO,” Roberson added. “He was afraid it would look bad for me to have my brother as an Amherst representative for the merged co-op. He was selfless like that.”

Randy died suddenly January 18th — the day after his 58th birthday. Twelve days before losing his brother, Roberson lost his mother.

“My mother lived such a full life, leaving no stone unturned,” Roberson added. “What a blessing to be raised by her. Losing my brother was a total surprise. It’s been rough, but I was so blessed to love and be loved by both of them.”

Guyle Roberson and the Eight-Second Ride band. Members include: Guyle Roberson, lead vocals/guitar; Mike Ritchie from Springlake, Texas, on bass guitar; Clay Gibson from Levelland, Texas, on lead guitar, David Newton from Abernathy, Texas, on drums. Also pictured is PCG Director of Field Services Mark Brown from Lubbock, Texas, on fiddle.

Seven Seconds

Roberson grew up singing in church and learned to play the guitar. In 1986 he formed a band and played gigs on the weekends. He’s currently the lead singer and guitar player for Guyle Roberson and the Eight-Second Ride. Sometimes, you can catch Mark Brown, PCG director of Field Services, playing the fiddle with the band.

Eight Seconds

Beth Wallace and Guyle Roberson

Guyle Roberson and Sudan employee Beth Wallace.

When he’s not singing and picking, he’s studying reports. All the entities of the co-op generate reports that he evaluates and transfers to an excel spreadsheet. “I want to be able to compare our operations to the month before or year before to make sure we’re on the right track,” Roberson added. “There’s always room for improvement and I would hate for us to become complacent, which would lead to loss of growth.”

Roberson manages 40 full-time employees at the co-op and around 100 employees during ginning season. The teamwork spirit ingrained in him from sports is attributed to his success. “We wouldn’t be able to do this if we didn’t all work together,” he added. “Not only work together but work together well.”

Guyle Roberson gives gin tours to elementary students.

Roberson may not have achieved his initial dreams of professional football, but he couldn’t ask for a better destiny than the one he’s been given.

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Wildfire Havoc

Wildfire in south Levelland

Wildfire in south Levelland caused the mayor to issue an emergency evacuation of the area April 12th.

In March, state and local resources responded to 726 wildfires that burned 164,257 acres across the state. From March 21 through March 28, fire resources responded to 121 wildfires that burned 35, 728 acres including the Crittenberg Complex in Coreyell County, the Eastland Complex in Eastland County, the Das Goat Fire in Medina County and the Ramsey Fire in Brown County, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 

On April 12th, the south side of Levelland was issued an order of evacuation after a grass fire broke out near highway 385 north of the airport. Minimal damage was reported. By 4 p.m. fire progression had stopped. Roads reopened at 5 p.m.

At 6:39 p.m. that same evening, a fire was reported at Premier Park Equestrian Center in Lubbock. One home and a barn were lost — all horses and people were safely evacuated.

More than 40% of the state is in an extreme drought. The fire in Eastland County was unusually intense due to a weather phenomenon known as a Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak (SPWO). SWPOs are characterized by dry vegetation, dry west-southwest winds, low humidity, above average temperatures and sunny skies.

Dawson County and several others in the immediate area are now included in a wildfire disaster declaration, which Gov. Greg Abbott originally issues last month.

Andrews, Borden, Dawson, Gaines, Howard, and Martin Counties were among 56 counties added on April 1 to a disaster proclamation originally issued by Abbott on March 18. The original proclamation, issued following the disastrous wildfires that hit the Eastland area, covered only 11 counties but additional counties have been added several times. The declaration now lists 67 counties scattered across various parts of the state.

Use caution when operating equipment and machinery and stay safe!  

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Fertilizer Price Impact Report

Texas A&M University economists will soon deliver a report to Congress that will show the surging fertilizer price impact on U.S. farmers is over double the drag estimated in a report late last year. Lawmakers may use the information to decide whether to push a program that would temper some of the price implications.

The United Nations said Russia is the world’s No. 1 exporter of nitrogen fertilizer and No. 2 in phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. Its ally Belarus, also contending with Western sanctions, is another major fertilizer producer. Many developing countries — including Mongolia, Honduras, Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Mexico and Guatemala — rely on Russia for at least a fifth of their imports.

The Russia/Ukraine war also has driven up the already exorbitant price of natural gas, used to make nitrogen fertilizer. The result: European energy prices are so high that some fertilizer companies “have closed their businesses and stopped operating their plants,” said David Laborde, a researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute, according to the Associated Press.

Jim Wisemeyer, ProFarmer

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Replant Requirements for ELS Cotton

Producers on the Texas High Plains considering Extra Long Staple Cotton insured under Written Agreement (WA) should be aware an ELS cotton policy includes some interesting and maybe unexpected requirements regarding crop damage and replanting determinations. 

For ELS cotton to be insurable under a written agreement, the final plant date (FPD) for the written agreement is based on the county upon which the ELS written agreement is based. In the High Plains region, the majority of FPDs are based on Ward County, Texas or Eddy County, New Mexico, both of which have an FPD of April 30th.

Another important difference between an ELS policy and the Upland cotton policies we are more familiar with is that an ELS cotton policy has different rules when it comes to replanting a damaged or destroyed crop. 

Like Upland cotton, the determination that it is practical to replant a damaged or destroyed ELS cotton crop is a decision made by the Approved Insurance Provider (AIP). The AIP’s determination is governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency’s definition of practical to replant and based on an expectation of growing a successful crop.

What is different about the ELS policy, however, is that when an AIP determines it is practical to replant a producer must replant either ELS cotton or Upland cotton in order to maintain coverage under the ELS policy. When Upland cotton is replanted the ELS policy utilizes a calculation that converts the Upland cotton produced to an equivalent ELS cotton production amount that is used to determine if a loss was incurred under the policy. 

A producer can decide not to replant ELS or Upland cotton when the AIP determines it is practical to replant. However, no coverage is provided. The acreage is removed from the acreage report, no indemnity is due, no replant payment is made and no premium is earned or payable.

According RMA policy, which is explained in the Frequently Asked Questions document “Double Cropping Revision and Practical to Replant” (https://www.rma.usda.gov/News-Room/Frequently-Asked-Questions/Double-Cropping-Revision-and-Practical-to-Replant), a producer is not required to replant a damaged crop, even when an AIP determines it is practical to replant, and has the option to plant a different crop instead.

In the FAQ RMA provides the following answers to the questions “Is a policyholder forced to replant their crop?” and “What if it is determined practical to replant and the acreage is planted to another crop?”

Is a policyholder forced to replant their crop?

No. However, in accordance with the crop insurance contract, if it is determined practical to replant the insured crop and it is not replanted, no coverage for the insured crop will be provided and no premium will be due.

Therefore, it is always the policyholder’s choice whether to replant a damaged crop; however, if it is determined practical to replant by the approved insurance provider and the policyholder elects not to replant, no coverage is provided. The acreage is removed from the acreage report, no indemnity is due, no replant payment is made, and no premium is earned nor payable.

What if it is determined practical to replant and the acreage is planted to another crop?

The initially-planted crop that was lost and determined practical to replant is removed from the acreage report and no coverage is considered to have existed. If the policyholder decides to plant another crop instead of replanting the damaged initial crop, the crop planted may be insured provided it meets all insurability requirements and will be considered the first insured crop.

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