For the past two decades, Frederick, Oklahoma, farmer Mike Johnson has served the National Cotton Council as member services representative for the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. He recently received recognition for his 20 years of service from NCC, along with several other NCC staff, at the national NCC meeting in Austin.
Before starting work for the Council, Johnson worked as an agricultural education teacher in several different schools.
His years with the NCC have been anything but boring, he says. “During my two decades I have experienced the highs and lows of cotton production in the plains,” he said. “I witnessed an almost complete elimination of cotton as a basic crop in this area because of the boll weevil. Before the weevil became a universal problem, I saw how cotton made a major contribution to farm income.
“After the eradication program brought the weevil under control I‘m witnessing the return of cotton in Southern Plains fields.”
Also prominent in Johnson's mind are the tremendous advances in transgenic cotton varieties and modern methods of cotton production made at the farm and processing centers.
“Weather has always been a determining factor in how well cotton works for farmers,” he said. “One of the worst experiences I’ve had, like a lot of other people, was the 2006 drought. Hopefully, we will receive more frequent rains this year to give farmers a better start.”
While Johnson looks back fondly on 20 years in the “cotton patch,” he says the future is bright for the crop and he’s glad to be a part of it.