Tyson Raper is the 2019 Beltwide Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year. Raper is an assistant professor of cotton and small grain production with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The award was presented by fellow cotton specialists at the annual Beltwide Cotton Conference in New Orleans.
The prestigious award is voted on annually by specialists who represent every cotton-producing state in the U.S. Award criteria include exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service. The award is sponsored by BASF.
“Tyson’s work has had a major impact on the cotton industry in Tennessee, and I’m glad his passion for helping our state’s cotton producers is being recognized,” says Scott Senseman, head of the UT Plant Sciences Department.
Since joining the UTIA faculty in 2014, Raper has led the university’s education and research efforts involving cotton production. In this role, he works closely with producers and agricultural industry groups. This includes heading up Tennessee’s cotton variety trial program and managing the university’s cotton microgin.
Raper also serves as a major professor and advisor for several graduate students in the Department of Plant Sciences. Three of Raper’s students placed in the graduate-level competitions at the Beltwide Cotton Conference, with Freeman Brown winning the Cotton Agronomy, Physiology and Soil Posters division for master’s students. Cheyenne Williams took second place in the M.S. poster competition. Shawn Butler took 3rd place in the Ph.D. competition.