John Farris, veteran Dawson County Extension agent, recently received the Plains Cotton Growers Outstanding Cotton Agent Award.
Headquartered in Lamesa, Farris was born in Alabama, grew up on the South Plains, and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas Tech University. He began his career in agriculture as a vocational agriculture teacher in Dimmitt in 1971 and started his service with Texas Cooperative Extension in 1975 — as the assistant agriculture agent in Dawson County.
He stepped up to agriculture agent and coordinator of Extension programs in Lamb County in 1977, serving in that capacity until he returned to Dawson County in 1982.
Farris coordinates Extension programs in Dawson County, leads the agriculture program there, and helps other agents, specialists, and researchers conduct regional and district-wide educational events on the South Plains. His excellent work throughout the years has not gone unnoticed or unrecognized.
He is a recipient of Extension's Award for Superior Service, the Texas A&M Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence, and the Lamesa Cotton Growers “Mr. Cotton” Award.
Farris was the first county agent to receive the Cotton Foundation's prestigious Hoechst-Roussel Cotton Extension Education Award at the Beltwide Cotton Conference in 1992. He also earned distinguished and superior service awards from his peers in the national and Texas County Agriculture Agents Associations and Epsilon Sigma Phi, Extension's service fraternity.
Farris was instrumental in creating a partnership between the Lamesa Cotton Growers and Texas A&M that established AG-CARES, a full-scale, 160-acre research, demonstration, and teaching farm that has received national recognition. He also helped organize one of Extension's first county marketing clubs (in Dawson County), and was a leader in the development of the farmer-friendly TAMCERT accounting system.
PCG, a growers group, bestows the Outstanding Cotton Agent Award each year to recognize exemplary service to South Plains cotton producers.
“We are extremely lucky to have a veteran agent of John Farris' caliber working on the South Plains,” said Jett Major, Extension district director for agriculture based in Lubbock. “When John tackles a task, it always gets done”.