by Whitney Curry, Plains Cotton Growers
On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, Steve Verett officially retired as the Chief Executive Officer of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., after 24 years of dedicated service to the High Plains cotton industry. Though now retired from PCG, he will remain active on several projects with the organization until completion over the next several months.
For Verett a dream molded from experience in previous positions came true in July of 1997 when he was asked to be the CEO of PCG, a position held by only two predecessors since the organization’s formation in 1956. Having served PCG previously as a producer board member from Crosby County and as PCG board president in 1988 and 1989, as well as chairman in 1990 and 1991, joining the PCG staff was like coming home.
With his boots on the ground and a personal connection to farming, Steve has a unique understanding of what producers are faced with and has guided the organization through a significant period of change and renewal. Changes made during his tenure have allowed PCG to carry out the mission of the organization and successfully work on behalf of producers and the High Plains cotton industry. His leadership established an environment that encourages staff and volunteer leaders to continually find ways to improve the organization and meet the unique challenges facing the region’s cotton economy.
“Steve is and always has been an advocate for cotton and the agriculture industry. It would be almost impossible to list all the things that he has done for PCG and for High Plains producers,” says PCG current president Brent Nelson of Sudan. “It has been a real honor working alongside him as a volunteer and now as PCG president. What makes him so effective is that he is an excellent communicator who knows how to get the job done and done well. I am truly grateful for all that he has done through the years, and I wish Steve all the best in his retirement.”
The knowledge that Steve has brought to the organization has been tremendous, whether it was through the development of multiple farm bills, crop insurance reform, or assisting with the development of ad hoc assistance programs. He is a tireless supporter of cotton producers in the High Plains area and the agriculture industry as a whole.
Kody Bessent, formerly vice president of operations and legislative affairs of PCG, officially took the reins of CEO on July 1. In his new role, Bessent stated he has benefited greatly from the time he has worked with and around Verett. Bessent says, “Steve has been an excellent mentor over the years, and I look forward to using the knowledge I have gained to lead the organization forward”.
Verett in his recent retirement remarks stated, “When I started looking at retiring some five or six years ago, I wanted to make sure that when I walk out that door, I believed we have the staff in place that can carry this organization to even higher heights and can improve even more. I am confident that Plains Cotton Growers is set up for even more success in the future and that’s what makes me proud. It’s why I can retire knowing I’ve been able to do whatever I could to keep the organization moving forward and will continue to be successful and relevant.”
In his retirement, Verett plans to continue being active in the agriculture community, working on the farm alongside his son Kristofer, as well as spending time with his wife Patricia, kids, and chasing his grandkids around. The PCG staff, Executive Committee, board, and friends wish him the best in his retirement.