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

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

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 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.

Around The Gin
Product News

Bayer Looking for FiberMax One Ton Club Growers for 2017

November 16, 2017

Cotton growers who produce an average of 2,000 lb/A on 20 or more acres planted to FiberMax varieties in 2017 are eligible to be part of the 13th annual FiberMax One Ton Club.

Product News

Monsanto Delays NemaStrike for Additional Review

November 2, 2017

After finding cases of skin irritation, Monsanto is pulling its nematode seed treatment NemaStrike for further product review.

Product News

Intrepid Trio: Naturally Balanced Nutrition in Every Granule

November 1, 2017

Intrepid Trio contains three essential nutrients for cotton plants.

Product News

Save Time, Increase Efficiencies with Mixmate

November 1, 2017

Mixmate from Praxidyn is a precision chemical mixing system for small farms to large enterprises.

Product News

Crumpler Ironworks & Fabrication

November 1, 2017

Crumpler Ironworks & Fabrication is committed to providing the highest level of service, honesty and integrity, regardless of project size.

Product News

Delivering Proven Performance Across the Cotton Belt

November 1, 2017

Seed varieties, traits and crop protection products from Bayer deliver proven performance to growers across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Growers Continue to Count on Americot and NexGen

November 1, 2017

Americot is dedicated to working with cotton growers throughout the Cotton Belt to provide elite performing NexGen varieties within the marketplace.

Product News

Deere Adds New Narrow Track Versions to 9RX Tractor Lineup

November 1, 2017

John Deere has added three new 9RX Narrow Track Tractors, expanding its lineup of high-horsepower machines.

Latest News
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.

Seed Varieties

Preliminary 2016 Variety Trial Data Available in TN, NC

December 2, 2016

Preliminary variety performance data from 2016 trials in both Tennessee and North Carolina can now be found online.

Seed Varieties

PhytoGen Poised for Breakout Success

December 1, 2016

Varieties like PHY 333 WRF have laid the template for success at PhytoGen. Now, the Enlist trait is poised to bolster that winning formula.

Seed Varieties

Deltapine Varieties Gain Ground in 2016

November 29, 2016

In 2016, farmers across the Cotton Belt flocked to Deltapine varieties featuring the company’s new trait technology.