Veteran North Carolina State weed science Extension specialist Dr. Alan York was presented the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association’s “White Gold Award” during the 2018 Joint Commodities Conference held last week in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
York joined the North Carolina State staff as a cotton Extension specialist in 1979, but switched to weed science Extension specialist in 1983, and has since set the standard for that position.
“The impact Dr. York has made on the North Carolina cotton industry and beyond is hard to grasp, but generations of cotton growers in North Carolina and across the United States have benefitted from his research and recommendations,” says David Parrish, CEO, North Carolina Cotton Producers Association (NCCPA).
Responsible for developing applied weed science management research and Extension programs in cotton, corn, soybean, peanuts, and small grains, York helped guide producers through numerous herbicide registrations in the 1980s and through the introduction of herbicide-resistant crops in the 1990s.
Influence and Awards
York has instructed two-year and four-year weed science courses spanning 28 semesters, taught over 800 students, and advised or co-advised 29 M.S. and Ph.D. students who have gone on to become leaders in academia and industry. One of those influenced by York’s efforts through the years is Dr. Guy Collins.
“When Dr. York speaks, farmers, researchers, and allied-industry professionals all hang on his every word,” says Collins. “The incredible dedication and passion he has exhibited through his years of work is unmatched.”
When herbicide-resistant weeds were discovered, York was on the cusp of advising and educating growers about how to deal with the emerging problem. He has produced over 150 referred journal research papers and is a past recipient of the NCCPA’s Outstanding Service Award.
“I have known Alan for decades. He is an exceptionally knowledgeable weed scientist,” says Dr. Robert L. Nichols, senior director, Agricultural and Environmental Research, Cotton Incorporated. “Send Alan something to review and you’ll find out what you don’t know.”
David Parrish and the board of the NCCPA thought it would be appropriate to establish an award that could be given to someone in the North Carolina cotton industry only when their efforts were so impactful that they made significant and broad-sweeping improvements across our industry. “I think anyone would agree, Alan’s efforts have done just that,” concludes Parrish.
The name for the award, White Gold, was chosen to reflect not only the importance cotton has played in the economy of the United States through history, but the level of achievement reached by the recipient. The inaugural White Gold award was presented to Marshall Grant in 2015 for his tireless efforts to establish the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in North Carolina and across the Cotton Belt.