by Whitney Curry
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Verett announced his decision to step down from his current role and retire after 24 years of service to PCG and the High Plains cotton industry. Verett notified the PCG Board of Directors of his decision at the organization’s April 9 board meeting, establishing his official retirement date as June 30, 2021. Verett has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the organization since 1997 and is only the third person to hold this role since PCG’s formation in 1956.
Steve was no stranger to PCG when he accepted the role as CEO in 1997, having previously been a producer board member from Crosby County and also serving as PCG board president in 1988 and 1989, and chairman in 1990 and 1991. He also served as chairman of the PCG Boll Weevil Steering Committee in 1992 and 1993.
Since joining the PCG staff, Steve guided the organization through a significant period of change and renewal that allows PCG to successfully work on behalf of cotton producers and the High Plains cotton industry to carry out the mission of the organization. His leadership has established an environment that encourages staff and volunteer leaders to continually find ways to improve the organization in order to meet the unique challenges that face the region’s cotton economy. In the past twenty-four years, he has worked on countless legislative and regulatory efforts, including the development of four farm bills, crop insurance reform and numerous ad hoc assistance programs. One of the most notable efforts where he and PCG played a central role was getting cotton back into TITLE 1 of the 2014 Farm Bill.
Steve is actively involved in numerous professional and community activities. He serves as the treasurer of the Southwest Council of Agribusiness, is an active member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce’s Government Relations Committee, serves on the board of the Lubbock Reese Redevelopment Authority, and has served on the advisory board for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University as well as participating on numerous search committees for positions at both TTU and Texas A&M University. Steve was the chairman of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce in 2006, the first cotton producer to serve in that capacity.
In 2017, Steve was named by Farm Credit as one of the Top 100 Leaders in agriculture and rural communities nationwide. In 2006 he was honored by his peers for his service to the U.S. cotton industry when he was named the recipient of the prestigious Cotton Achievement Award.
In his retirement, Steve plans to continue working on the farm, as well as spending more time with his wife Patricia, kids and chasing his grandkids around.
Following his announcement, the PCG Board of Directors voted to name PCG Vice President of Operations and Legislative Affairs Kody Bessent as the next Chief Executive Officer of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. effective July 1, 2021.