The Memphis-based National Cotton Ginners Association (NCGA) elected its 2011 officers at its recent annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The new officers are: president — Kent Fountain, manager of Southeastern Gin and Peanut, Surrency, Ga.; first vice president — Lee Tiller, Odem, Texas; second vice president — Richard Kelley, Burlison, Tenn.; third vice president — Dwayne Alford, Yuma, Ariz.; and chairman — Kirk Gilkey, Corcoran, Calif. Harrison Ashley of Memphis serves as NCGA’s executive vice president.

In addition, Van Murphy, a Quitman, Ga., ginner, was named the 2010 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year. That award is presented annually to a ginner in recognition of: (1) able, efficient and faithful service to the ginning industry, and (2) continuing of those principles exemplified and practiced by Horace Hayden, a former NCGA executive secretary.

Murphy, who attended the Abraham Baldwin Ag College in Tifton, Ga., and worked at Boston Farms Center, currently is manager of B.C.T. Gin Company, Inc., which has two gins, two peanut buying points, a warehouse and a grain facility.

Murphy served as the president and board chairman for the NCGA in 2007 and 2008, and currently serves on its NCGA’s Advisory Policy Council. He also serves as a National Cotton Council director and on a number of its committees. A ginner member of the NCC’s Cotton Leadership Class of 1989-90, he also served as board chairman of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association in 2009-10 after serving as its president in 2007 and 2008.

A cotton producer for the past 28 years, Murphy serves as a Cotton Board director. For the past 10 years, he has been a member of Chickasha of Georgia’s Executive Committee and a trustee of AgriTrust of Georgia. He also is a director of Citizens National Bank of Quitman.

Also honored at the NCGA meeting was Eugene Columbus, a senior research associate in Mississippi State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, who received NCGA’s Distinguished Service Award. That honor is reserved for those individuals who have provided a career of distinguished service to the U.S. ginning industry.

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Columbus received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Mississippi State University. He was employed at the USDA Ginning Laboratory in Stoneville, Miss., from 1966 to 1972 as a research engineer, then for two years in the same role at the USDA Gin Laboratory in Lubbock.

In 1974, he took a position as a civil engineer with the Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, Miss., before returning to the Gin Lab in Stoneville in 1980 where he worked until 1995. He then began another career in Mississippi State University’s Agricultural Engineering Department, where he developed the department’s Ginning Technology curriculum, including fabrication of the micro gin there.

Columbus has published a number of papers and won several awards, including the ASABE Mayfield Cotton Engineering Award.