The late Arkansas cotton ginner Lon Mann, is the recipient of the 2007 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award.
The announcement was made at the National Cotton Council's 2008 Annual Meeting that was held on Feb. 7-11. Accepting the award on behalf of the family was Mr. Mann's wife, June Mann.
The annual award, established in 1997, is named for Oscar Johnston, whose vision, genius and tireless efforts were foremost in the organization and shaping of the NCC 70 years ago. The award is presented to an individual, now deceased, who served the cotton industry, through the NCC, over a significant period of his or her active business career.
Recognizing more than office or position held, the award honors someone who, like Mann, exerted a positive influence on the industry and who demonstrated character and integrity as well as perseverance and maturation during that service. Mann is the ninth individual to be honored with this award.
Mr. Mann, who was a partner in McClendon, Mann & Felton Gin Company in Marianna, Ark., was a graduate of the University of Arkansas and third generation ginner and farmer who was involved in the ginning business his entire adult life.
He was a leader in the revitalization of the National Cotton Ginners Association (NCGA) and was a past president of that organization as well as the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and the Arkansas Agricultural Council. He served as the NCC's 27th president in 1978 — only the third ginner at that point to hold the top NCC post. He also was a key player in the Cotton Producers Institute, the predecessor to Cotton Incorporated and served on the Cotton Board for more than 12 years.
Among the many awards Mr. Mann received during his lifetime were the NCC's Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award and the NCGA's Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year Award.
Many in the cotton industry considered Mr. Mann to be the quintessential Southern gentleman and a pillar of the U.S. cotton industry. The partnership he formed with Larry McClendon (the NCC's newly-elected 2008 chairman) and the Felton family is indicative of his forward thinking and his quest for progress.
Previous Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are: James E. Echols, a former NCC chairman, Memphis, Tenn.; William Garrard, first general manager of Greenwood, Miss.-based Staplcotn Cooperative; Sykes Martin, a Courtland, Ala., producer; Walter Montgomery, Sr., a Spartanburg, S.C., textile manufacturer; William Rhea Blake, a former NCC executive vice president; Roger Malkin, long-time chairman and CEO of Delta and Pine Land Company, Scott, Miss.; and former NCC presidents, George C. Cortright, Jr., a Rolling Fork, Miss., producer, and Jack Hamilton, a Lake Providence, La., producer/ginner/warehouseman.