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Steven Beakley strives to produce the best cotton feasible while conserving as much soil and moisture as possible on the Ellis County farm he works with his father, Bob. That commitment was instrumental in earning him the 2014 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award for the Southwest Region.
ELLIS COUNTY, Texas, farmer Steven Beakley is the 2014 High cotton Award winner for the Southwest Region.
Relationships are important to a farm community, Beakley says. “There are probably hundreds of farmers in the area who are just as deserving as I am of this award,” he says. “Many of them have done a lot for cotton.”
He points to the Monsanto support group as an example of relationships that have helped him and other growers in the region.
“Glenn Moore, retired Extension entomologist who is now a consultant, has been a tremendous help,” he says. Relationships with sunflower buyers also have been important to the area and have helped him grow the storage business, as has been the case for those who help him locate chicken litter sources in east Texas.
He doesn’t hesitate to share information with nearby farmers. “Developing these relationships helps everyone,” he says.
But he also recognizes his most important ally: “Nothing on the farm is more important than a wife who understands the farm and pays the bills, keeps the records and runs the kids around.”
His wife, Amber, didn’t grow up on a farm, but has taken to the life quite well. They have two daughters, Audrey, 12, and Mattie, 10, who show goats and thrive on the rural lifestyle.
Beakley, in addition to his position on the boll weevil eradication board, also serves as vice-president of the Youth Expo, is vice-president of the Avalon Co-op Gin, and is on the board of directors for the Ellis County Farm Bureau. They are members of the Church of Christ in Waxahachie.
Being involved makes a difference, he says. “It’s a matter of community — it’s not about individuals.”