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Gunnison, Miss., cotton producer Kenneth Hood has made numerous contributions to the U.S. cotton industry, as a leader, entrepreneur and farmer.
For these efforts and his dedication to environmental stewardship, Hood has been awarded the 2014 High Cotton Award for the Delta States by Farm Press Publications.
KENNETH HOOD, High Cotton Award winner for the Delta states, has worked tirelessly to improve profitability for cotton producers across the Cotton Belt.
Hood, who was recognized as the Delta Council’s Outstanding Conservation Farmer of the Year in 2000, places just as much emphasis on getting water off the field as he does getting it on the field. And as cotton acres have given way to other crops, Hood is focusing on land-forming to irrigate a more diverse crop mix, including rice.
Hood is working on two tailwater recovery systems for the farm, and installs extra drop pipes to reduce the speed at which runoff enters sensitive streams.
Looking ahead, Hood believes precision farming can create more efficiency in irrigation scheduling, across multiple crops.
“We have to pull all the data together, irrigation, nitrogen, trips across the field and match them to the crop. “To make the best decisions, we need to be able to see what we’re doing,” said Hood, who uses an InTime software program called CropSite to record every activity his tractors make.
Hood said farmers today aren’t using precision farming enough. But he understands why. “We farmers stay too busy doing other things rather than using the data mining that it’s out there. That’s why the technology needs to be invisible to the farmer.”
For example, after Hood realized that physically moving data cards from tractors to other devices or networks was taking up too much of his time, he worked with MSU to design and install a high speed wireless network on his farm that moves information between tractors, office computers, consultants and growers at the touch of a button.
Hood was the 2007 recipient of the Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award, presented annually to an individual who has provided extraordinary service, leadership and dedication to the U.S. cotton industry.
In 2002, he was chairman of the National Cotton Council and is past president of the National Cotton Ginners Association, Southern Cotton Ginners Association and the Delta Council. He was recognized as the National Ginner of the Year in 1997.
The support of his family has been crucial in Hood’s involvement beyond the farm. “That’s why we have such a close knit family farm operation today. I’ve been active in the Delta Council, the National Cotton Council and Farm Bureau, but I couldn’t do all that without family. The secret is communication, always letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing.”
Hood and his wife, Betty, have been married for 48 years. They have a daughter Lou Ann Petro, who is involved in the farming operation, and three grandchildren, Meri Alan, Drew and Ann Carter.