That award is presented annually to a ginner in recognition of:
- Able, efficient and faithful service to the ginning industry and
- Continuing those principles exemplified and practiced by Horace Hayden, a former NCGA executive secretary.
Roppolo has been active at both state and national levels of the U.S. cotton industry. A past president of the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association, he has served on its board since the mid-1980s, and was named the Texas Ginner of the Year in 2000.
He has been a trustee of the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust, and currently serves as a director of the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council and as a member of the Fiber Advisory Committee for the Texas Agriculture Commission. He has served as a National Cotton Ginners’ Association (NCGA) director and as a ginner delegate to the National Cotton Council.
Roppolo, a Texas A&M graduate, also was at the forefront of a U.S. cotton ginning industry campaign launched in 1998 to raise $500,000 towards the creation of an endowed chair in Texas A&M University’s Agricultural Engineering Department.
“Jimmy’s tireless efforts were instrumental in raising those funds in just over two years,” said outgoing NCGA President Lee Tiller who presented the award to Roppolo.
In 2004, Roppolo was named the Texas A&M Outstanding Alumnus for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, and he was named a member of the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry of Former Students in Agricultural Economics. Currently, he chairs A&M’s Advisory Committee for the Cotton Mechanization and Engineering Chair, and is a member and past president of the university’s College of Agriculture Development Council.
Roppolo began his career in 1970 with Farmland Industries. After working in cooperatives for several years, he became the general manager of Farmers Coop of El Campo in 1985 and immediately set out to improve its ginning efficiency.
Noting that Roppolo “is known for is unwavering dedicated services to his customers and for implementing new technologies at the gin that improve fiber qualities and increase efficiencies,” Tiller said at the time Roppolo took over the Farmers Coop operation, the gin’s production volume totaled about 10,000 bales. In a year’s time, that volume tripled and over the years continued to grow. In 1992, Farmers Coop of El Campo was awarded the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council – Cooperative of the Year.
In the past year, Roppolo oversaw a merger between Farmers Coop of El Campo and Danevang Farmers Co-op, Inc. Roughly one year since the merger discussion began, the resulting company, United Agricultural Cooperative, Inc., has processed more than 150,000 bales of cotton. The company, now recognized as one of the most successful, innovative cooperatives in Texas, had 2012 sales in its grain, cotton, agronomy and farm supply divisions totaling $79 million.
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