In recognition of his contributions to the transition from conventional cotton to transgenic varieties and an overall increase in the average cotton yield for his state, University of Arkansas Extension Agronomist William C. “Bill” Robertson is the recipient of the Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year Award.

Presented at the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences at San Antonio, the selection is made by cotton specialists throughout the nation's producing regions. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the award sponsored by Crompton Corporation/Uniroyal Chemical and based on leadership and service to the industry.

“Bill has given our producers practical direction in the utilization of cultivar plant nutrients and plant growth regulators,” says Fred Bourland, director of the University of Arkansas Northeast Research Extension Center at Keiser, Ark. He credits Robertson with providing the state's cotton growers with down-to-earth information they can put to use in their own production programs.

“He's very knowledgeable in the area of fiber and micronaire quality,” Bourland says, “and he's played an important role in bringing the COTMAN production into the Extension program. He brings a high level of leadership to our Extension program.”

Will McCarty, Extension cotton specialist at Mississippi State University, says “Bill has done an outstanding job of working with the cotton growers of Arkansas during some tough economic years. His dedication to the basics of cotton production has helped in the transition from conventional cotton to transgenics, and has contributed to an overall increase in the average cotton yield per acre for the state. He is very deserving of this recognition.”

Bobby Phipps, Extension cotton specialist at the University of Missouri, who grew up near Robertson in the same area of West Texas and started his Extension career about the same time, says “I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award than Bill Robertson. He's truly a great guy to work with, and very conscientious in giving an unbiased, honest opinion.”

Robertson, who grew up on a farm north of Lorenzo, Texas, earned his B.S. degree in plant science at West Texas State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in agronomy at Texas A&M University. He joined the University of Arkansas Cooperative Exztension Service in July, 1995. He and his wife, Charlotte, have a son, Clay.

e-mail: hbrandon@primediabusiness.com