As a young man, he never dreamed he would land in the high cotton he finds himself in today. He had just lost his first real job when he got on the fast track toward becoming the general manager of BCT Gin Company and a renowned cotton expert.

"It was all about timing," Murphy said. "I know the Lord has blessed me."

In 1983, the small grain elevator that operated in Murphy's tiny hometown of Boston shut down, leaving him jobless for the first time in five years. He was unemployed for three months when he hooked up with his current employer.

"It got to the point where I wondered what I was going to do," Murphy said. "The first month, I enjoyed not having a job. The second month, I started getting a little concerned. In the third month, I was down in the dumps."

BCT, which stands for Brooks, Colquitt and Thomas counties, was founded in 1983 by 36 farmers/stockholders. Now the ownership consists of 74 from nine counties.

"We started out with one cotton gin at this location (near Quitman) and ginned approximately 10,000 bales," Murphy said. "We hope to top 100,000 bales this year now that we also have gins in Morven and Berlin."

The BCT warehouse in Moultrie can store 9,000 bales of cotton. BCT also owns two peanut-buying points, including one at the Quitman facility and one at Sand Hill near Pavo. Murphy normally oversees 29 employees, including two that have been with BCT since it was founded. During the ginning season, BCT's work force expands to more than 100.

Murphy is a member of several national associations that promote the use of domestic cotton. He is destined to become the president of the Southeastern Ginners Association in four years.

Locally, Murphy is also a member of the Citizens National Bank Board and the Brooks County Development Authority.

"We're very concerned about the economic situation in Brooks County," Murphy said.

"The landowner is really toting the load as far as taxes go. As a development authority leader, we are working very hard to see if we can come up with some economic development to bring into Brooks County. I represent farmers, so we want to be conservative in how we attract businesses. We don't want to give away too many tax incentives because that may not help farmers."

-- Mark Lastinger, Editor, Thomasville Times-Enterprise

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