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Agricultural News

Dr. Seth Byrd Named Beltwide Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year

Sun, 10 Jan 2021 09:12:25 CST

Dr. Seth Byrd Named Beltwide Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension cotton agronomist, was named Beltwide Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, Jan. 6, 2020, during the virtual Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

The award, sponsored by BASF, was announced during an online event virtually attended by cotton specialists, BASF personnel and retired Extension specialists from across the Cotton Belt.

Tyson Raper, University of Tennessee cotton and small grains specialist and the 2019 recipient, presented the award.

According to a story from Southwest Farm Press, Byrd addressed fellow cotton specialists from 17 states across the Cotton Belt who evaluate and select the award recipient based on a number of considerations, including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service.

"Thank you. I don't think I deserve it," Byrd said. "It means a lot."

Byrd also referenced previous winners. "There are a lot of big names on that list. I've always thought of that list as the cream of the crop. I don't think I belong on it but hopefully one day I'll earn it. I appreciate it."

He also thanked BASF. "I appreciate everything BASF does for us. It means a lot," he said. "I appreciate y'all having this opportunity for us."

Seth Byrd joined the OSU faculty and Extension team in April, 201. He arrived at Oklahoma State from Texas A&M, where he was an assistant professor and Extension cotton specialist.

To me, cotton is just a fun crop, he said. Its a tropical tree. It thinks its going to survive and be here next year and the year after that. I dont think it takes more management. It just takes a different kind of management to sort of reign it in and get it to do what we want it to do. Luckily, we have great university and industry breeders that have helped make that easier and more profitable.

A self-proclaimed East Coast guy, Byrd is originally from North Carolina, but has lived all over Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Wyoming, Montana, Florida, Georgia. He was drawn to Oklahoma, in part, because of the emergence of cotton as a popular option for a rapidly growing number of producers across the state.

Byrd\s boss, Jeff Edwards, OSU Plant and Soil Sciences department head, also weighed in during the virtual presentation.

"We are so fortunate to have him in Oklahoma," Edwards said. "He's been such an asset to the cotton industry in the Southern Plains and a great addition to our family, to our team at Plant and Soil Sciences."

Edwards also congratulated the couple on the birth of their daughter. "Any of us who have been involved in Extension know that it's not just the Extension specialist, it's the whole family that's involved and responsible for making everything work. We appreciate their work."

Edwards praised Byrd for bringing a team-based focus to the cotton program at OSU.

"As a result of Seth's hard work, we have more scientists working in the area of cotton at Oklahoma State than we've had, at least since I've been here. Seth's been able to recruit and get more people involved in cotton research and Extension.

Edwards noted Byrd's "tremendous work ethic," and his passion for the cotton industry.

"We have two major production areas in the state, the historical production area in the southwest, but we have a lot of expansion acres in northern Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Panhandle. That's not a short distance between those two locations -- a lot of windshield time, a lot of time on the road. Dr. Byrd is very dedicated. This is very well-deserved."

The sponsor of the award is BASF- and Steve Nichols, BASF Agronomic Services also praised Byrd. "It speaks well to the consistency of the way you are viewed in the industry. It's evident you enjoy your work.

"You represent Oklahoma State University and the growers in that region with strong leadership and a level of professionalism that's hard to match. You bring a lot to the cotton industry."



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