Tyson Raper Named 2019 Beltwide Cotton Specialist of the Year

Tyson Raper Named 2019 Beltwide Cotton Specialist of the Year

Dr. Tyson Raper, Extension cotton and small grains specialist for the University of Tennessee, is the 2019 Beltwide Cotton Specialist of the Year.

The award, sponsored by BASF, was presented during the annual Beltwide Cotton Specialists award dinner and reception during the 2019 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans.


“We’re pleased to recognize Dr. Raper’s outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the cotton industry,” said Steve Nichols, BASF agronomic services manager. “His expertise in agronomy and experience in the field has allowed him to make significant contributions to the cotton growers of Tennessee and to the industry. His strong leadership and working relationships with producers, consultants and key stakeholders is widely recognized amongst his peers, and he is deserving of this award.”

Since joining the UT faculty in 2014, Raper has led the university’s education and research efforts involving cotton production. In this role, he works closely with producers and agricultural industry groups – including heading up Tennessee’s cotton variety trial program and managing the university’s cotton microgin.

“Tyson’s work has had a major impact on the cotton industry in Tennessee, and I’m glad his passion for helping our state’s cotton producers is being recognized,” says Scott Senseman, head of the UT Plant Sciences Department.

Dr. Bob M. Hayes, director and professor of the West Tennessee Research and Education Center, works closely with Raper. “He is an outstanding young cotton specialist,” explained Hayes. “In his short time here, he has developed protocols for growers across the Cotton Belt at a time of great need. His integrity, character and expertise are respected, and we are very fortunate to have him here with us.”

Cotton specialists in the 17 states where cotton is grown vote each year on who among them will be chosen for the highly esteemed award. The recipient’s peers evaluate and select a winner based on a number of considerations, including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service.

An Alabama native, Raper earned a B.S. in agricultural business and economics from Auburn University, M.S. in agronomy from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. in crop physiology from the University of Arkansas. He is based at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, TN.


Based on information provided by BASF and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture