NEW ORLEANS – Bobby J. Phipps, veteran cotton breeder and advisor to cotton farmers in the Missouri Bootheel, has been named Extension cotton specialist of the year by his peers.

Bill Robertson, Extension cotton specialist with the University of Arkansas and last year’s winner, presented the award to Phipps at the Extension Cotton Specialists annual banquet at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans. The banquet is sponsored by Crompton Corp Protection.

“Bobby is a topnotch cotton specialist who grew up on a farm in west Texas and was himself a cotton farmer before he began his professional career as a cotton breeder,” said Robertson.

“Bobby and I have worked closely together over the years on projects ranging from the use of plant growth regulators to harvest aids. His variety testing program is respected throughout the industry, and he has been very successful in introducing new production tools.”

Among the latter have been the use of digital infrared photography to help growers better evaluate replant decisions.”

Dale Monks, Extension cotton specialist at Auburn University, says Phipps is the first person he calls with questions about cotton genetics and cotton varieties.

“Bobby is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to cotton breeding and cotton genetics. He looks not just at the role that specific varieties will have this year or next, but how they will translate five or 10 years down the road,” Monk said.

“He’s always willing to share his experience, and I consider him as, by far, one of our best cotton specialists in the country.”

“Bobby has brought a great deal of valuable experience in cotton breeding and variety development to his position,” adds J.C. Banks, Extension cotton specialist at Oklahoma State University. “He’s had considerable influence on cotton production and harvest dates, and many of his recommendations are published throughout the Cotton Belt.”

“Since he started out as a plant breeder, Bobby has worked with many of the cotton varieties that were progenitors to some of our newer varieties,” says Tom Barber, Extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University. “As a relative newcomer to my position, I value his experience and often rely on him for information.”

A Texas native who grew up on a farm northeast of Lubbock, Phipps earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University and a Ph. D. degree in plant breeding from Texas A&M University. He joined the University of Missouri’s Delta Research and Extension Center as Extension cotton specialist in 1995.

He and his wife, Mary, live in Portageville, Mo. They have a son, Rex, and a daughter, Mindy.

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