The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recently presented awards to nine members of notable career achievements, including ginning leader Thomas D. Valco of USDA-ARS located in Stoneville, Miss.
Valco was awarded the 2012 Mayfield Cotton Engineering Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions and leadership to the cotton industry through research, education, Extension and technology transfer.
For more than 30 years as a researcher and educator, Valco facilitated the adoption of new technology in cotton production and processing, implemented conservation tillage systems, improved pesticide application technologies and developed precision farming technologies that have helped to improve production efficiency and the environment. He has worked with agronomists, entomologists, geneticists and other ag professionals to develop technology that performs as well on the farm as in the laboratory.
Big Contribution To Ginning
Valco currently serves as the Cotton Technology Transfer and Education Coordinator with USDA-ARS. He has provided leadership to work with groups that have helped the cotton industry evaluate different production practices across the country. He has played a key role in the promotion, scheduling, curriculum development, teaching and coordination of annual cotton ginners’ schools conducted at three USDA-ARS ginning laboratories.
These schools have been effective in passing along new technology to ginners and gin managers across the Cotton Belt through the progressive three levels of initial training and testing, leading to a Certified Ginner.
His efforts in facilitating ginning and textile symposia for Extension agents have been invaluable in ensuring educators’ understanding of the entire cotton supply chain, so they can better help producers understand the importance of fiber quality and other textile industry issues.
He has provided service to the cotton engineering community directly as an associate editor of the engineering section of the Journal of Cotton Science.
Valco has authored or co-authored more than 57 technical publications and 85 general press releases and has made numerous technical presentations. A 40-year member of ASABE, Valco has provided leadership to power and machinery cotton engineering and several award committees and also has served as an officer, including chair of the Texas Section.
Prestigious Industry Awards
His award recognitions include a USDA Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Performance, National Cotton Ginners Association Distinguished Service Award, Cotton Incorp-orated High Performance Award, and the ASABE Texas section named him Engineer of the Year in 1987.
This particular award is endowed through the contributions of Deere and Company and other contributors and is named after William (Bill) Mayfield, an Extension agricultural engineer who devoted his career to the application of engineering fundamentals to cotton production.
Valco is a native of Texas, a graduate of Boerne High School in Boerne, Texas, and received his B.S., M.S. and PhD from Texas A&M University. Valco currently resides with his wife Carolyn in Greenville, Miss.
Miss. State University contributed information for this article.