Dr. Tyson Raper named 2019 Cotton Extension Specialist of the Year

During the recent Beltwide Cotton Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Tyson Raper was named the 2019 Cotton Specialist of the Year. Raper is the Small Grains Specialist for the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Service. The award, sponsored by BASF, was presented to Raper at the event’s annual award dinner and reception, attended by cotton specialists from across the Cotton Belt.


“We’re pleased to recognize Dr. Raper’s outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the cotton industry,” said Steve Nichols, Global Agronomic Services Manager at BASF. “His expertise in agronomy and experience in the field has allowed him to make significant contributions to the cotton growers of Tennessee and to the industry. His strong leadership and working relationships with producers, consultants and key stakeholders is widely recognized amongst his peers and he is deserving of this award.”


Dr. Bob M. Hayes, Director and Professor of the West Tennessee Research and Education Center, works closely with Dr. Raper. “He is an outstanding young cotton specialist,” explained Hayes. “He joined us about four years ago and has really hit the ground running.”


Hayes explained that even as a young specialist, he has showcased his leadership throughout the industry. “In his short time here, he has developed protocols for growers across the Cotton Belt at a time of great need. His integrity, character and expertise are respected and we are very fortunate to have him here with us.”


Cotton specialists in the 17 states where cotton is grown vote each year on who among them will be chosen for the highly esteemed award. The recipient's peers evaluate and select a winner based on a number of considerations, including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service. The annual award and banquet became a featured event at the Beltwide Cotton Conference in 1984.


BASF, with a newly expanded portfolio of cotton solutions for growers that includes flagship brands FiberMax® and Stoneville®, recognizes the positive impact third-party research has on sustainability for growers across the Cotton Belt.


"Third-party research to validate variety performance and tackle agronomic issues is essential to a healthy cotton industry in the United States. Our highly credible extension cotton specialists provide the data, research and collaboration our growers need," said Nichols.


Raper, an Alabama native, earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and economics from Auburn University, a master’s in agronomy from Mississippi State University and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Arkansas. As a child, his father worked as an agricultural engineer with United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service at Auburn. Raper attended many field days in his youth as well as making frequent trips to his father’s research plots. These experiences led him to pursue a career in agricultural research and extension.