James S. Cook
Beginning with his vocational agriculture shop training in high school, James Cook, a dairy farmer from Evergreen, Alabama, has long been known as an innovator and inventor. Neighbors and friends considered the gentleman farmer the go-to man for assistance with tough how-to-do-it problems. Whether constructing new implements or fabricating attachments for existing equipment, Cook specialized in making hard jobs easier and operations more cost efficient.
In the early years of the dairy farm, Cook was active in the industry and local farming community, urging area farmers and consumers to join together in a call for action to stabilize milk prices. Cook was instrumental in organizing a coalition of local farmers that became a stronger voice to acquire and ensure a clean, safe water supply and a coordinated milk hauling program which decreased expenses and thereby maximized profitability.
In 1971, the Cooks were named Farmers Home Administration District VII Family of the Year. Some of the criteria for selection included efficiency of operations, record keeping practices, quality of livestock, production records, conservation practices, family cooperation in farming and community activities. Cook’s involvement in the community and industry was noteworthy, indeed, with service including president of the Conecuh County Dairy Association, chairman of the Alabama Farm Bureau Dairy Division, member of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, director of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, vice president of the American Dairy Association of Alabama, member of the Bay Minette Production Credit Association and member of the Union Bank Board of Directors.
The Cook dairy farm began in 1949 as a father/son operation with James Cook and his father, Stanley H. Cook. By the mid-1990s, the 800-acre farm in Conecuh County averaged milking 200 head per day. Even though Cook has retired from the day-to-day operations of the farm, he still spends time in the office every day to stay current on the industry.
Cook and his wife, Ann, still live on the Conecuh County farm, now managed by their son, John.