Longtime California Cooperative Extension cotton specialist Robert Hutmacher was named the 2017 Cotton Specialist of the Year during the annual awards dinner at the Beltwide Cotton Conference in Dallas, Texas.
The award, sponsored by Bayer, recognizes the top Extension cotton specialists in the United States for their commitment to growers and leadership across the industry. Recipients are evaluated by their peers.
“Being considered for and getting this recognition from the Extension Cotton Specialist group means a lot to me and is truly appreciated,” Hutmacher told Western Farm Press.
Each year cotton specialists in the 17 states where cotton is grown select who among them will be chosen for the prestigious award. The annual award and banquet has been a featured event at the Beltwide Cotton Conference since 1984. Bayer has sponsored the award since 2008.
“Extension cotton specialists are the backbone of our industry, providing leadership in our industry and the collaboration our growers need,” says Kenny Melton, Bayer Western Regional Agronomic Manager.
“This role is the perfect marriage of science – the research and technology that drives our industry, and art – the management finesse that brings home the crop each season,” Melton continued. “Dr. Hutmacher is a master of defining a grower challenge, rallying all parties to come to the table to address the challenge and then working with growers to put that science to work in their fields. Whether the challenge is finding resistance to Fusarium wilt Race 4 or increasing water efficiency, Dr. Hutmacher rises to the challenge. It’s an honor to work with him and a special joy to help bestow this award.”
Hutmacher said the “kind and generous statements” made about him at the award presentation reminded him of the “team effort” that includes colleagues Mark Keeley and Raul Delgado, “who have worked with me for years,” he continued.
He also thanked University of California colleagues, cooperating growers and other cooperators including those with the California State University system and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As an Extension cotton specialist, Hutmacher is at the forefront of disease management and water efficiency issues affecting California growers.
Aside from his cotton research, Hutmacher is the director for the University of California West Side Research and Education Center near Five Points.
The 2016 recipient of this high honor - Gaylon Morgan, Extension cotton specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, presented the 2017 award to Hutmacher.
“Bob is a highly respected leader who California growers depend on to navigate the ups and downs of the cotton industry in their state,” Morgan says. “He has helped growers find the path to profitability. That kind of leadership is essential not only in California, but also nationally.”
Hutmacher earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy at the University of California-Davis, a Master of Science degree in soil physics from Texas A&M University and a doctorate in crop physiology from Texas Tech University.