Member Spotlight

May 2018

Giving cotton growers a voice

Ask John Johnson how he landed his longtime position with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA), and the answer is simple: He went home.

“While working at Funk Seeds in Bloomington, Illinois, I read a magazine story about a friend of mine in Lubbock and called him to offer congratulations and catch up,” the CCA member explained. “During our conversation, he said I should return to Lubbock, and knew of a job I might be interested in at PCCA.”

Lubbock was John’s college home. He attended Texas Tech University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education with an option in agricultural communications.

Thirty-three years later, John is still calling Lubbock — and PCCA — his home. As the director of public relations and legislative affairs, he serves as a primary voice for the cotton marketing cooperative.

What are your job responsibilities at PCCA?
I oversee all corporate communications and monitor legislative and regulatory issues that affect our grower-owners.

What challenges are you facing in your work?
In recent years, PCCA has faced increasing competition from cotton marketing companies vying for our grower-owners’ cotton. So, last year we launched a promotional campaign to educate our grower-owners and other cotton farmers about the advantages of the co-op business model.

What do you like most about being a communicator for PCCA?
I like serving our grower-owners in a variety of ways. They are the bedrock of our rural communities in this region. Honestly, there is nothing I don’t like about my job. I consider it an honor to work for these grower-owners.

What piece of advice can you offer to new cooperative communicators?
It is essential to know and understand your co-op’s business from top to bottom. Also, listen to understand and don’t just listen to respond.

What’s a little-known fact about you?
I have helped judge the World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-off in Brady, Texas, for more than 10 years.

How do you spend your leisure time?
Cooking – I especially like making Chinese dishes from the country’s Szechuan region, and I like cooking dishes from Tuscany as well as Cajun/creole dishes.

CO-OP CAPSULE

Name: Plains Cotton Cooperative Association

Headquarters: Lubbock, Texas

Description: Grower-owned cotton marketing co-op serving approximately 15,000 cotton farmers in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. The co-op also has a cotton warehousing division with facilities in three states, and it provides software services for local co-op cotton gins.

The best thing about living/working in Texas is:
The diversity of its people, culture, geography, climate and, of course, its rich history.

If I wasn’t working as a communicator, I’d be a:
Lawyer