Tribute paid to contributions to Mississippi Delta community The late Roger Malkin, a pioneering agribusinessman who served as long-time chairman and CEO of Delta and Pine Land Co., is the recipient of the 2001 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award.
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 council more than 60 years ago. The award is presented to an individual, now deceased, who served the cotton industry, through the council, over a significant period of his or her active business career.
Recognizing more than office or position held, the award honors someone who, like Johnston, exerted a positive influence on the industry and who demonstrated character and integrity as well as perseverance and maturation during that service.
Council Chairman Ron Rayner presented the award to Malkin's daughter, Melissa Malkin, at the council's annual meeting in San Diego.
"It is impossible today to adequately pay tribute to Roger's contribution to cotton and to all of agriculture," said Rayner. "How do you pay homage to someone who left such an indelible mark on this industry?
"Roger was a pioneer in the world of agribusiness who worked to make his adopted Mississippi Delta home a better place. He was called a visionary who knew what it took to succeed in both the business world and the community. And he was a tireless force for advancing education and the quality of life in the Delta, a force that will be sorely missed."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Malkin graduated from Dartmouth College and received a Masters of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Thanks to his devotion to improving the conditions that individuals and farmers faced, he quickly became a trusted member of the Mississippi Delta community, as well as the U.S. cotton industry.
After a brief career in real estate, he acquired, in one of the country's earliest leveraged buyouts, Federal Compress and Warehouse Co. in Memphis, Tenn. Shortly thereafter, he acquired Delta and Pine Land, helping the company expand worldwide.
"Fusing biotechnology and farming, Roger helped Delta and Pine become the world's largest cotton breeder with business in the United States and 18 other countries," Rayner said. "Under his 22-year watch, Delta and Pine breakthroughs included early-maturing varieties, smooth-leaf cotton, the first transgenic row crop seed and the first Roundup Ready cotton seed."
Malkin's success with D&PL, Rayner noted, mirrored Oscar Johnston's successful preservation of and development of the company after Johnston became D&PL president in 1927.
Rayner said one of Malkin's most memorable contributions to the National Cotton Council occurred during his tenure as a board member. Due to his suggestion, the framing of council resolutions was forever changed. Malkin suggested that resolutions should be framed in a positive rather than negative sense so that the council favored reasonable regulation of the particular practice to which the legislation or regulation was directed. This important contribution serves the council well today."