Wes Briggs of Bainbridge, Ga., winner of the 2015 Cotton Consultant of the Year Award, was honored by his peers at a reception last month at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans. The event was held in the RiverView room overlooking the Mighty Mississippi at the Marriott Hotel. The award, established in 1981, is co-sponsored by Cotton Farming and Syngenta.
Briggs and his wife, Beth, along with numerous friends and cotton industry representatives, were in attendance. Publisher Lia Guthrie and Syngenta’s Josh Kelley presented the traditional green jacket and plaque to Briggs.
“There are many consultants across the Cotton Belt deserving of this award, and I am very honored to have been chosen as the new member of this brotherhood,” Briggs said upon accepting the award. “It marks a special moment in my career.”
The Georgia consultant established Briggs Crop Services Inc. in 2001 after gaining experience in several other consulting positions in Mississippi and Georgia. He is a member and past president of the Georgia Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants and has five full-time men in his company that he counts on every day.
Weaver Wins Genetics Award
Dr. David B. Weaver, a cotton breeder who conducts plant breeding research and educates generations of students at Auburn University, received the 2015 Cotton Genetics Research Award.
One of his nominators, Dr. Jodi Scheffler, a USDA Agricultural Research Service geneticist and the previous year’s Cotton Genetics Research Award recipient, names three of Dr. Weaver’s top accomplishments. These include his evaluation of the effect of genes for resistance to reniform nematode on agronomic and fiber quality traits; impact of exotic germplasm introgression on cotton agronomics and effect of selection and inbreeding methods on fiber quality traits.
Dr. Weaver also was selected as a Fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.
Gaylon Morgan Named Top Specialist
Gaylon Morgan, Ph.D., Extension cotton specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is the 2016 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year. The prestigious award is voted on by Extension cotton specialists who represent every cotton-producing state across the U.S. Cotton Belt. The annual Award Banquet has been a featured event at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences since 1984 and has been sponsored by Bayer since 2008.
Morgan holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in agronomy from Texas A&M University as well as a Ph.D. in horticulture/plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin. He has worked within the Texas A&M University system since 2003. Currently serving as the Texas state Extension specialist, Morgan is involved in multi-disciplinary fields of research pertaining to cotton production as well as the practical implementation of those scientific advances to the field.
Morgan was presented the award by last year’s recipient, Dr. Guy Collins, North Carolina State University Extension associate professor of cotton. “Gaylon is very deserving of this award,” he says. “If I had to single out one attribute that is really remarkable about Gaylon, it would be his ability to look at an issue through a different lens and create a well-thought-out approach to study and solve the problem.”
Steve Nichols, head of Agronomic Services for Bayer, adds, “At Bayer, we have the privilege to work with some of the brightest and most dedicated individuals in the cotton industry. Dr. Gaylon Morgan represents the very best of scientists involved in U.S. cotton research and outreach.”
Morgan says one of the most rewarding aspects of his position is that the learning curve continues to be fairly steep, which keeps things interesting. “In our state, cotton is here to stay,” he says. “I am proud to be a part of the Texas cotton industry.”
Darrin Dodds Recognized
The National Cotton Council and its partners have named Dr. Darrin Dodds, associate Extension professor for Mississippi State University, the Dr. J. Tom Cothren Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist. Dodds has been an associate Extension professor and cotton specialist at Mississippi State University since 2007.
Dodds was nominated by Dr. Angus Catchot, Extension entomologist for Mississippi State University; Dr. Randy Boman, research director and cotton Extension program leader for Oklahoma State University; and Dr. Chris Main, cotton development specialist for PhytoGen.
Main, who worked with Dodds while he was in a similar lead Extension role in Tennessee, wrote in Dodds’ nomination letter: “He is intense in his attention to detail in research design, implementation, management, data analysis and writing, which sets him above most agronomists. Darrin is respected as an Extension cotton specialist because he has actually conducted the research results he presents. Darrin is well deserving of this award.”
Derek Racca, brand manager for PhytoGen, says, “PhytoGen and Dow AgroSciences are proud to support this recognition for cotton physiology researchers by sponsoring this award.”
Bayer Announces Three Varieties
Farmers will have three new cotton varieties from Bayer CropScience for the 2016 growing season, including one FiberMax and two Stoneville offerings. All three are stacked with proprietary Bayer traits, including GlyTol, LibertyLink and TwinLink technologies.
FM 1911GLT – This variety is very well adapted to the High Plains of the Southwest and offers high yield potential with a robust fiber package. FM 1911GLT features full tolerance to both Liberty and glyphosate herbicides, plus broad-spectrum lepidopteran insect protection (cotton bollworm and pink bollworm) using two Bt genes. FM 1911GLT has yield stability across multiple environments with a broad-spectrum disease package. Other key benefits include excellent early season vigor, high gin turnout, very good root-knot nematode and Verticillium wilt tolerance as well as resistance to bacterial blight.
ST 4848GLT – This is a new early/medium maturing GlyTol LibertyLink TwinLink variety with exceptional yield potential, herbicide flexibility and the added benefit of insect protection of TwinLink technology. ST 4848GLT is well suited for the East Texas, Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the Cotton Belt. It is easy to manage with moderately aggressive growth characteristics.
ST 4949GLT – This variety is a good fit for the Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the Cotton Belt. It is an early/medium maturing GlyTol LibertyLink TwinLink variety with exceptional yield potential. This variety has good fiber quality with a very high lint percent. ST 4949GLT is easy to manage with moderately aggressive growth characteristics, and early data suggest the added benefit of intermediate Verticillium wilt tolerance.
“When we introduce new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties to growers, our goal is to provide solutions to their cotton production challenges with options that complement our current cottonseed portfolio,” says Jeff Brehmer, U.S. product manager for FiberMax and Stoneville. “Our researchers and breeders continue to select and improve varieties for water-use efficiency, insect and nematode tolerance, and superior fiber characteristics and yield potential with the ultimate goal of providing the very best available germplasm on the market for ultimate profitability.”