WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R. Ga., received the 2013 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award from the National Cotton Council. He was honored during the National Cotton Council’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. The award, named for the late California industry leader and past NCC President Harry S. Baker, is presented annually to a deserving individual who has provided extraordinary service, leadership and dedication to the U.S. cotton industry.
During the award presentation, NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson, a South Texas cotton producer, said that during every farm bill debate, including the most recent one, “Senator Chambliss has sought to ensure that U.S. cotton and peanut producers were not harmed by over-reaching statutes governing payment limits and payment eligibility. He also worked tirelessly at preventing the passage of legislation governing environmental issues that threatened to undermine agriculture’s viability, among them pesticide permitting and greenhouse gas regulations.”
Dodson said Chambliss also intervened on behalf of U.S. cotton in trade negotiations and specifically opposed “early harvest” resolutions in the cotton text of the World Trade Organization Doha negotiations. “He has responded to the needs of the entire Cotton Belt and to all cotton industry segments, including textile manufacturers,” Dodson said. “For example, he fought for inclusion of the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program in 2008 and its continuation in the recently enacted law in recognition of that program’s success in revitalizing the U.S. textile manufacturing sector.”
“He has demonstrated a depth of knowledge about production agriculture, conservation, nutrition, and research programs as evidenced by his work on the 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014 farm bills,” Dodson said. “He has been an extraordinarily effective advocate for Georgia and for cotton.”
Upon receiving the award, Chambliss said “I am honored to receive this award from the National Cotton Council. Cotton has always been a crop particularly close to my heart and home, and it has been my privilege to work on behalf of the cotton industry during my time in Congress. I am proud of what we were able to accomplish for the industry in the last farm bill, protecting one of our state’s most important crops. I thank the National Cotton Council for this incredible honor and for all the work they do.”
Chambliss was first elected to Congress to represent Georgia’s 8th Congressional District in 1994. In 1996, he became a member of the famous Gang-of-4 and blocked adoption of Freedom to Farm by the House Agriculture Committee. He went on to serve as the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee during the 110th and 111th Congresses. Elected to the Senate in 2002, Chambliss became chairman of its Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee in 2004 becoming the only senator since 1947 to chair a full standing Senate committee after serving for just two years. In 2008, he was elected to a second term in the Senate and currently serves as a member of the following committees: Armed Services; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and Rules. He is vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Throughout Chambliss’ legislative career, he has been recognized numerous times by the public and private sectors for his work on agriculture, defense, budget and national security issues.
Previous Harry S. Baker award honorees include cotton producers — Duke Barr, Bruce Brumfield, Lloyd Cline, Robert Coker, Bruce Heiden, Kenneth Hood, Bill Lovelady, Bob McLendon, Frank Mitchener, Jimmy Sanford, Jack Stone and Charlie Youngker; ginners — Lon Mann and Charlie Owen; merchants — William B. Dunavant, Jr., and Bill Lawson; cooperative official — Woods Eastland; textile manufacturer — Duke Kimbrell; association executives — Gaylon Booker, Neal Gillen, Albert Russell, Earl Sears and B.F. Smith; Congressional members — Sen. Thad Cochran, R. MS, and Reps. Larry Combest and Charles Stenholm; and USDA official — Charlie Cunningham.