L. Sykes Martin
Martin Farm and Sykes Martin have long been recognized for their standard of excellence in cotton farming and processing. Mr. Martin died September 9, 1993, leaving behind a history of cotton farming based on science and good business principles. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his daughter, Larkin Martin, who returned to run the farm when her father became ill in 1990.
Martin Farm includes over 7,000 acres, most of it cotton, in an area rapidly being transformed by economic development. Sykes Martin was instrumental in bringing together agriculture and industry to develop environmental guidelines to face the challenges of farming in an area with rapid urban growth.
In addition to Martin Farm, Mr. Martin was instrumental in developing Servico, one of the largest, most vertically integrated, cotton ginning operations in the Southeast. He also helped establish several service subsidiaries. Cottonseed Inc. markets whole cottonseed to the dairy industry. Crop-Aide purchases materials in volume for sale to the gin’s customers. And, farmer-owned Agritech handles the bulk or liquid spreading of fertilizer materials and aerial applications.
Martin twice won the prestigious King Cotton Award presented by the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. In 1993, Martin Farm was designated as the Farm of Distinction by the Alabama Farmers Federation. He was named National Man of the Year in Agriculture by “Cotton Farming Magazine”, and was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the National Cotton Council and Cotton Incorporated. He was former chairman of the Producer Steering Committee of the National Cotton Council; president of The Cotton Foundation and Southern Cotton Growers; and served on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Agribusiness Council and AmSouth Bank.
Mr. Martin is survived by his wife, D.D., and daughters Larkin, Anne Flynn, Ellen and Donie. Mr. Martin has one grandchild, Henry Sykes Thornton.