Extension cotton specialists who work with cotton producers across the U.S. have named Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, as the 2016 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.
The award was presented at the group’s annual banquet at the 2016 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans). Morgan’s wife, Cristine, who is also a scientist with Texas A&M University, was present to see her husband receive the award.
“This is a tremendous honor,” said Morgan, who was interviewed following the award presentation. “I am very proud of our growers and the work they have done to make Texas one of the dominant states in cotton production.”
Each year, the award recipient’s peers evaluate and select a winner based on a number of considerations, including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service. Morgan is the 27th Extension cotton specialist to receive the award, which has been presented at the Beltwide event since 1984, and has been sponsored by Bayer since 2008.
Morgan holds bachelor’s and master’s degree in agronomy from Texas A&M University; his Ph.D. in horticulture/plant pathology was earned at the University of Wisconsin.
He has worked within the Texas A&M University system since 2003, currently serving as Texas State Extension Specialist. He is an engaged scientist, involved in multi-disciplinary fields of research pertaining to cotton production, as well as the practical implementation of those scientific advances in the field.
VERY BEST OF SCIENTISTS
“At Bayer we have the privilege to work with some of the brightest and most dedicated individuals in the cotton industry,” says Steve Nichols, head of agronomic services for the company. “Dr. Morgan represents the very best of scientists involved in U.S. cotton research and outreach.
“He is a standard-bearer for the partnership between science and industry, with a mutual goal to preserve the viability of the U.S. cotton industry today, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for future excellence. His dedication to disseminating that scientific knowledge and experience to the grower is a critical component for the continued success of our industry.”
Morgan was presented the award by Dr. Dan Fromme, a former colleague at Texas A&M University who is now Extension cotton and grain specialist at the LSU AgCenter, Alexandria, La.
Last year’s recipient was Dr. Guy Collins, North Carolina State University Extension associate professor of cotton. “As a former recipient, I know how much it means to be recognized by your peers,” he says. “Gaylon is very deserving of this award. He is well respected by his colleagues, and has worked very hard to earn that respect over the years.
“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 for studying and solving the problem. That’s a mark of an excellent scientist and a highly effective Extension specialist. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a colleague, a collaborator, and a friend.”
MORE COTTON ACRES
As anyone who works with the cotton industry knows, cotton producers are facing difficult economic times. Morgan says he believes Texas cotton acres will increase, in part, because some growers weren’t able to plant all the acres they intended in 2015.
Working with growers is a priority for him, and he regularly talks with farmers and other industry members at field days and in one-on-one situations. He has been very active in trials throughout the state for FiberMax, Stoneville, and other varieties.
He has authored and collaborated on numerous scientific papers throughout his career, and is regarded as one of the industry’s leading agronomists. He has a reputation among his colleagues as excellent collaborator.
“He has a wonderful, relaxed demeanor,” Collins says. “He is so easy to work with. He grasps the situation quickly and hits the ground running, regardless of the project at hand. Perhaps most importantly, he has excellent ideas for research and how that research can ultimately be applied to real field situations. Gaylon is very deserving of this recognition from his peers.”