At the recent virtual Beltwide Cotton Conferences, BASF sponsored two prestigious professional awards: Cotton Specialist of the Year and Cotton Marketer of the Year. Seth Byrd, an agronomist with Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension, was named the 2021 Cotton Specialist of the Year, and Texas cotton grower Barry Evans was named Cotton Marketer of the Year.

Cotton Specialist of the Year

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Voted on by cotton specialists in the 17 states where cotton is grown, this highly esteemed award is based on several considerations, including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service.

Though Byrd has experience in growing everything from corn and soybeans to wheat, alfalfa and potatoes, cotton has been his most recent focus. Byrd arrived at Oklahoma State University in 2018 and maintains active Extension and research programs in southwest Oklahoma as well as the Oklahoma Panhandle. He works with clientele that have varying degrees of experience from multi-generation cotton farmers to first-time producers.

“Dr. Byrd has been instrumental in fostering a team-based approach to our cotton extension and research program, and providing leadership to that team,” said Jeff Edwards, department head and professor, Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University. “As a result, we have a greater number of faculty and students actively involved in cotton extension and research, which brings new ideas and helps supply the industry with experienced graduates.”

Cotton Marketer of the Year

The Joseph J. O’Neill Cotton Marketer of the Year award presented by ICE Futures (formerly New York Cotton Exchange) and BASF dates back to 1991.

This year’s recipient, Barry Evans, is a fourth-generation farmer in Swisher County, Texas. After receiving a degree in Agricultural Business and Economics at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M), he worked in the commodity futures industry before returning to the farm in 1992. He farmed and managed a family-owned commercial grain elevator until 2013. Today, he farms full time and is the secretary and treasurer of the National Cotton Council and a member of the board of Texas Grain Sorghum Producers.

“Barry has been a tremendous advocate for the cotton industry for many years, and this award recognizes his knowledge extends well beyond growing the crop,” said Kenny Melton, BASF Western Region Agronomic Manager.  “Risk management is essential for every farming operation, and Barry’s marketing reflects the work needed to understand the macro and microeconomics of these tumultuous markets.”

Byrd received his award on Jan. 6 during a virtual award presentation. Evans was recognized during the Cotton Economic Outlook Symposium as part of the virtual Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

“BASF is honored to spotlight the tremendous efforts of Dr. Byrd and Barry Evans,” said Steve Nichols, BASF Global Agronomic Services – Cotton. “Our commitment to cotton goes beyond our portfolio, and we are pleased to celebrate the work these recipients are doing to advance the cotton industry.”

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