HERB WILLCUTT, Extension professor and agricultural engineering specialist at Mississippi State University, is the recipient of the National Cotton Ginners Association's 2003 Distinguished Service Award.

Willcutt, an Alabama native, has worked for farmers in Mississippi for 20 years. Previously, he served the cotton industry for nine years as an employee of Cotton Incorporated, working with the cotton module builder and conservation tillage systems for cotton production.

His current assignments include developing materials and educational programs in the areas of mechanization and ginning, rural and farm safety and health, AgrAbility (a program that helps provide assistive technology to individuals with a disability who desire to pursue work in agriculture), chemical application, grain drying and storage, cottonseed storage, and other areas.

He has conducted numerous research demonstrations, assisted manufacturers and presented programs on the proper use of cotton module builders across the Cotton Belt and provides expertise in design and management of cottonseed storage facilities. He was an early instructor at the NCGA's Stoneville Gin School and continues to be involved in that and other association activities.

Willcutt also is inventor or co-inventor on two patents and participated in the development, testing and production of the automatic control package for the KBH cotton module builder.

Among awards he holds are the Mayfield Cotton Engineering Award from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers; Mississippi Agricultural Aviation's “Agrinaut” award; Mississippi Association of County Agents “Specialist of the Year” and Mississippi Section of American Society of Agricultural Engineers' Engineer of the Year.