Ronnie Lee, a cotton producer from Bronwood, Ga., was elected National Cotton Council chairman for 2017. Named during the NCC’s annual meeting held in Dallas, Texas February 10-12, he succeeds Shane Stephens, a Greenwood, Miss., warehouseman.
As the managing partner of Lee Farms, Lee raises cotton, corn, peanuts, small grains, hay, pecans, and cattle in Terrell, Lee, and Sumter counties. He also owns and operates McCleskey Cotton Company, a ginning and warehousing operation with locations in Bronwood and Albany. His gin also is one of the owners of Chickasha of Georgia.
Lee is involved in multiple agribusinesses. He owns RCL Flying Service; LGT LLC; McCleskey Saw and Machine Co., LLC; and Adela Logistics, all of which are companies that support local growers and their products. Prior to focusing on these closely held businesses, he was a vice president with McCleskey Mills, Inc., a peanut shelling company in Smithville, Ga.
An active U.S. cotton industry leader, Lee has been a NCC producer delegate since 2003 and served on the NCC’s Board of Directors in 2015. He also served as the vice chairman of the American Cotton Producers in 2014. He currently is a director of Cotton Incorporated.
Lee also has been involved in regional, state and local organizations. He is a past president and chairman of Southern Cotton Growers. From 2005 through 2013, he served on the Farm Services Agency Georgia State Committee as a committee member and later as its chairman, having first been appointed by President Bush and later by President Obama. He also has served on the boards of the National Peanut Buying Points Association and the American Peanut Shellers Association.
In 2004, Lee received the Soil Conservationist of the Year for Terrell County. In 2010, he was named the Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award winner for the Southeast Region.
Lee, who attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, has three sons, Ron, Chandler and Neil, all of whom are actively involved in the family businesses. He is a member of Bronwood Baptist Church.
The NCC’s vice chairman for 2017 is Ron Craft, a ginner from Plains, Texas. Re-elected as secretary-treasurer is Barry Evans, a producer from Kress, Texas.
Re-elected as NCC vice presidents are: Kent Fountain, ginner, Surrency, Ga.; Robert Lacy, cottonseed processor, Lubbock, Texas; Coalter Paxton, III, warehouseman, Wilson, N.C., Mike Quinn, cooperative official, Garner, N.C.; Joe Nicosia, merchant, Cordova, Tenn.; and David Hastings, textile manufacturer, Mauldin, South Carolina.
NCC staff officers include: Dr. Gary Adams, NCC president and chief executive officer; Reece Langley, vice president, Washington Operations; Craig Brown, vice president, Producer Affairs; Dr. Jody Campiche, vice president, Economics and Policy Analysis; Dr. Bill Norman, vice president, Technical Services; Harrison Ashley, vice president, Ginner Services; and Fred Johnson, vice president, Administration and Program Coordination.