Joe Pennington was raised on a family farm in Raymondville, Texas. As a young boy, he worked alongside his father on the farm, driving tractors, chopping sunflowers, and hauling cotton and other harvested crops. He graduated from high school in 1967 and attended Texas A&M University, receiving his BS in Agricultural Economics in 1971. While a student at A&M, Joe was active in the Ag Economics Club and the Corps of Cadets. He was awarded the distinction of Outstanding Corps Sophomore of 1968-1969 and also served in Supply Sergeant and Executive Officer leadership positions. He was a Ross Volunteer during 1969-1970. Upon graduation, Joe served in the Texas Army National Guard as a 1st Lieutenant from 1971-1977. He also helped his father run the family farm during this time and eventually assumed control of all business operations in 1971.
Joe and his wife, Dorothea, manage and operate over 11,000 acres in Raymondville, Texas. Over the years, they have raised both cattle and crops, including grain sorghum, cotton, corn, sugar cane, and sesame. Joe understands the importance of promoting agriculture and commits himself with both leadership positions and donations to ensure the way of life that he knows and loves is preserved for himself and others for years to come. He is well recognized by his peers for his selfless service on the behalf of the local areas, state and national agriculture industries.
Joe has always understood the importance of community. He continues to give his time and financial support to the local youth of Willacy County 4-H and FFA. He is also an active donor to the Driscoll Children’s Foundation and the Presbyterian Children’s Home.
Along with multiple generous contributions and donations to local youth, Joe has been active and involved in many different agricultural organizations. He has a true passion for agriculture and has dedicated his life to it. Joe has served as Chairman, Director, President, and Elder of numerous different agricultural associations and organizations and has been a member of many more. Some of his past positions related to the cotton industry include, Director for the state of Texas, Chairman of the Agricultural Research Committee and a member of the Executive Committee for Cotton Incorporated, Chairman of the State of Texas State Support Committee where he oversaw Texas’ use of Cotton Incorporated’s state funds, and also President of the Raymondville Co-op Gin. Currently, Joe serves as a Board Member of the Rio Grande River Authority (a position to which he was appointed by the governor), the Vice President of the Delta Lake Irrigation District, Chairman of the Zone 1 Cotton Producers Advisory Committee for the Texas Department of Agriculture, and as a Board Member of the Willacy County Co-op. Joe has also been inducted into the Willacy Hall of Fame for the Willacy County Fair and Auction and was named the 1986 Farmer of the Year by Cotton Farming Magazine.
Joe has also remained actively involved with A&M. He dedicates considerable time to the Corps of Cadets and Ross Volunteer Associations as well as the 12th Man Association. He has been a member of the Association of Former Students for the past 30 years.
Joe and his wife, Dorothea, currently live and work on their farm in Raymondville, Texas. They are the parents of A. Spence Pennington ’03, Tobin C. Pennington ’04, and Ellen L. Pennington ’06.