Collins, Edmisten win national cotton awards

NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty members won two of the top awards given last week at the national Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio, Texas.

Just one day after joining NC State University’s faculty on Jan. 5, CALS alumnus Dr. Guy Collins received the national 2015 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year award. And the following day, his academic mentor, NC State crop science professor and cotton specialist Dr. Keith Edmisten, won the Cotton Physiologist of the Year award.

The award Collins received is based on leadership and industry service as determined by extension cotton specialists who represent every cotton-producing state. Bayer CropScience sponsors the award.

In a Bayer CropScience news release, the company’s head of agronomic services, Steve Nichols, said, “Guy Collins is a well-established professional in the cotton industry. … His research and expertise in agronomy and cotton management have enabled growers to improve cotton production and increase yields, leading to larger profits year after year.”

Dr. Darrin Dodds, associate extension professor at Mississippi State University, said Collins’ “commitment and passion to help cotton growers and agronomists be the best they can be is incredible. He constantly demonstrates leadership in the field, and it shows in his work. Guy has consistently gone above and beyond for growers, retailers and agronomists to help them reach excellence and maintain steady success in their operations.”

Collins earned three degrees from NC State – a bachelor’s in agronomy and master’s and doctoral degrees in crop science. Since he obtained his Ph.D. in 2009, Collins spent most of his career at the University of Georgia Tifton campus, where he taught growers the latest cotton management techniques and provided them with relevant research information. Collins was also able to collaborate with Georgia cotton growers to help them make key operational decisions, achieve maximum yields, reduce production costs and optimize agronomic inputs

Collins has been leading research in situational variety selection, where he helps growers determine what varieties give the best opportunity for high yields.

Edmisten, a CALS crop science professor, was recognized for significant research contributions in the area of physiology, the branch of biology that deals with how living organisms function.

As Collins noted, “In addition to incorporating higher-level physiology into his teaching program and also training county agents, growers and graduate students, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Journal of Cotton Science.

“Moreover, Keith has had incalculable impact on the North Carolina and U.S. cotton industry through the training of graduate students. Many of his former students hold or have held critical cotton positions throughout the industry,” he added. Those former students work in state regulatory agencies, various universities and leading seed and agroscience companies.

Collins attributes much of his personal success to “the exemplary training from Dr. Edmisten. He has a unique way of training his students to think critically and outside the box. Graduates from his program are very well-equipped to enter these leadership careers and be successful.”

The Beltwide Agronomy and Physiology Conference bestowed Edmisten’s award, which was sponsored by BASF.

Before joining NC State’s faculty in 1992, Edmisten was an extension agronomy specialist with Mississippi State University from 1987 to 1990, then with Auburn University.

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