facebook_pixel

The Father of PhytoGen’s Phylosophy

From Cotton Grower Magazine – June 2015

McPherson Web 2

Though he was born and raised in Mississippi—the same state where he now resides—it’s safe to say that Dr. Mustafa McPherson took the long way home.

A career in agronomic and breeding research has led him from the Deep South to the Midwest and all the way out to Arizona and California before bringing him back to Leland, MS, where he now works as a cotton breeder for PhytoGen. He looks comfortably at home, sitting in his quiet office just south of the tiny Delta town. The lawn outside is perfectly manicured in a way that is befitting of a large, successful agriculture company.

PhytoGen operates thousands of test plots and breeding plots here in the fertile Mississippi Delta, and McPherson is a hands-on participant. Though he’s originally from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast region—four hours due south of here—he’s happy his winding journey has led him back to his home state. Along the way, he’s helped produce some of the most historically significant cotton varieties ever planted in the United States.

“Home is where the heart is,” McPherson says, “and I’m a Mississippian at heart. It took a little bit of adjusting for me to live in the Delta. When I was in college, I enjoyed living in Starkville and living in the hills and being able to go hunting and fishing there. I used to say ‘There’s no way I’d live in the Delta.’ But I’ve really acclimated now, and I really enjoy it here.”

Those years spent in Starkville at Mississippi State University were highly influential on McPherson. He initially went to the school with ambitions of earning an engineering degree, but after watching a movie at church about agricultural missionaries in Africa, he decided to switch his focus.

“I went into agronomy, and I enjoyed the agriculture classes, and I did well in them,” McPherson now says. “That’s how I initially got interested, but then I got into plant breeding after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree.”

After graduating from Mississippi State, McPherson went north to Purdue University and began focusing on plant breeding in corn. After receiving his Master’s degree there, he moved back to Starkville and started working with the USDA, ARS in the Cotton Host Plant Resistance Unit in 1985, and, after a few years, re-enrolled at Mississippi State to pursue his doctorate.

“My work with the USDA under the direction of Dr. Johnie Jenkins established a foundation for conducting research that I have built upon over the years,” McPherson says. “One of our primary activities was conducting field trials and lab assays to evaluate cotton for host plant resistance to tobacco budworm and the bollworm. In fact, I helped in the evaluation of the very first transgenic Bt cotton plants for resistance to these pests.”

It was a demanding field in its earliest stages, but McPherson was up for the challenge. That time spent working with USDA gave McPherson a unique opportunity to work in plant breeding and host plant resistance. It served to lay the foundation for a lifelong career in cotton breeding.

“Working with cotton, it’s a difficult crop to work with, because it is so complex,” McPherson says. “You either love it or you hate it. But after you get into it, it gets into your blood. And it’s just something that I really enjoy.”

Company Man

He worked with USDA from 1985 to 1993, when he graduated with his doctorate from Mississippi State. From there, McPherson went to work for a private seed company in Arizona before eventually landing a job at Mycogen, which took him to California. Shortly thereafter, the company formed a joint venture with J.G. Boswell which resulted in the formation of PhytoGen.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Seed Varieties Stories
Seed Varieties

Variety Trial Results Posted for East, Southern TX

December 20, 2017

The 2017 Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation trial results from South, East and Central Texas are now available online from AgriLife Extension.

Seed Varieties

CROPLAN Building on Its Strengths

November 21, 2017

Two strong varieties drove CROPLAN cotton seed sales and exposure in 2017, with more options and technologies coming in 2018.

Seed Varieties

Americot Building on Successful Growth

November 17, 2017

Maintaining momentum from a strong showing in 2017, Americot and its NexGen brands are just starting to hit their stride.

Seed Varieties

Bayer Working to Meet Needs, Minimize Challenges

November 16, 2017

Strong cotton varieties that fit and meet the challenges of each U.S. growing region continue to drive Bayer’s FiberMax and Stoneville product lines.

Seed Varieties

Dyna-Gro/All-Tex Keeps Rolling Ahead

November 14, 2017

A solid 2017 and a pipeline of strong products should keep the Dyna-Gro and All-Tex brands rolling strong in 2018.

Seed Varieties

Deltapine Captures Largest Acreage Footprint in U.S. in 2017

November 10, 2017

With DP 1646 B2XF leading the way, Deltapine takes the title of most popular seed brand in the Cotton Belt.

Seed Varieties

Deltapine Retains Top Spot Among Varieties Planted in 2017

October 3, 2017

Deltapine retained the top spot as the most popular cottonseed brand planted in the U.S. in 2017, thanks to strong showings from its varieties in each region of the Cotton Belt.

Around The Gin
Product News

Indigo Offers Premium for Indigo Cotton Production

January 9, 2018

Indigo Ag has announced a new program that offers significant price premiums for U.S. cotton growers who contract to grow Indigo Cotton.

Product News

New Bayer Varieties Focus on High Yield, Adaptability

January 5, 2018

Bayer releases five new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for introduction in 2018.

Product News

New PhytoGen TRiO Guards Cottonseed Investment

January 3, 2018

New PhytoGen TRiO seed treatment helps provide early season protection for young cottonseed from diseases, insects and nematodes.

Product News

Americot Adds Seven to Sales, Research Teams

December 20, 2017

Americot has added seven new sales and research associates to the company’s staff across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Seven New Varieties in Deltapine Class of 18

December 11, 2017

Seven new varieties – including five Bollgard 3 XtendFlex offerings – join the Deltapine product lineup as the Class of 18.

Product News

Special Roundup Ready PLUS Incentives for Arkansas

December 7, 2017

Monsanto is offering a special Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform in Arkansas for 2018 for growers planting XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties.

Product News

Monsanto Sets 2018 Crop Protection Incentives

December 5, 2017

Monsanto will provide multiple tools, resources and products to help cotton and soybean growers maximize weed control in 2018.

Product News

Praxidyn’s Mixmate Named a 2018 AE50 Award Winner

November 27, 2017

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has recognized Praxidyn's Mixmate portable ag chemical blending and recordkeeping system with a 2018 AE50 award.

Latest News
Seed Varieties

Variety Trial Results Posted for East, Southern TX

December 20, 2017

The 2017 Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation trial results from South, East and Central Texas are now available online from AgriLife Extension.

Seed Varieties

Results In for NC On-Farm Cotton Variety Evaluation

November 30, 2017

Yield results from the North Carolina 2017 On-Farm Cotton Variety Evaluation Program are now available online.

Seed Varieties

CROPLAN Building on Its Strengths

November 21, 2017

Two strong varieties drove CROPLAN cotton seed sales and exposure in 2017, with more options and technologies coming in 2018.

Seed Varieties

PhytoGen: Enlisting Growth and Potential

November 20, 2017

Enlist cotton is off to an impressive start for PhytoGen in 2017, with a pipeline full of new options for all regions of the Cotton Belt.

Seed Varieties

Americot Building on Successful Growth

November 17, 2017

Maintaining momentum from a strong showing in 2017, Americot and its NexGen brands are just starting to hit their stride.

Seed Varieties

Bayer Working to Meet Needs, Minimize Challenges

November 16, 2017

Strong cotton varieties that fit and meet the challenges of each U.S. growing region continue to drive Bayer’s FiberMax and Stoneville product lines.

Seed Varieties

Dyna-Gro/All-Tex Keeps Rolling Ahead

November 14, 2017

A solid 2017 and a pipeline of strong products should keep the Dyna-Gro and All-Tex brands rolling strong in 2018.

Seed Varieties

Deltapine Captures Largest Acreage Footprint in U.S. in 2017

November 10, 2017

With DP 1646 B2XF leading the way, Deltapine takes the title of most popular seed brand in the Cotton Belt.

Seed Varieties

Deltapine Retains Top Spot Among Varieties Planted in 2017

October 3, 2017

Deltapine retained the top spot as the most popular cottonseed brand planted in the U.S. in 2017, thanks to strong showings from its varieties in each region of the Cotton Belt.

Seed Varieties

Cotton Varieties Eyed in AgriLife High Plains Trials

April 20, 2017

With more producers interested in cotton due to good markets and prices, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension variety trials are sure to get more attention in the coming weeks and years.

Seed Varieties

High Plains, Rolling Plains Variety Trial Results Available

February 17, 2017

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agronomists in the High Plains and Rolling Plains have released the results of their large plot, on-farm, replicated cotton variety trials from 2016.

Seed Varieties

Variety Trial Results Reflect 2016 Extremes in East and South TX

January 19, 2017

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension 2016 Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation trial results from South and East Texas reflect the extremes of the past season.

Seed Varieties

Tennessee 2016 Variety Trial Results Now Online

December 28, 2016

The 2016 Tennessee Cotton Variety Trial Results publication is now available online.

Seed Varieties

Mississippi 2016 Variety Trial Results Now Available Online

December 8, 2016

Data for the 2016 Mississippi Cotton Official Variety Trial program and for the On-Farm Cotton Variety Trials is now available online.

Seed Varieties

NC State 2016 On-Farm Fiber Quality Results Now Online

December 2, 2016

Fiber quality results for the 2016 North Carolina On-Farm Cotton Variety Evaluation Program are now available online.