Tyson Raper has been tapped to lead the University of Tennessee’s cotton and small grains education and research efforts.

Raper will be based at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, but he will serve a statewide clientele through a joint research and extension appointment in the Department of Plant Sciences. Raper will oversee the UT Variety Trial sites, implement research programs, coordinate educational events and develop training materials and other publications.

Raper hails from Alabama. As a child, his father worked as an agricultural engineer with USDA-ARS in Auburn. Raper recalls attending many field days in his youth as well as making frequent trips to his father’s research plots. He credits these experiences for his desire to pursue a career in agricultural research and extension.

Raper graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in Agricultural Business and Economics.  He completed his M.S. in Agronomy at Mississippi State University, and received his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas. Most of Raper’s graduate research focused on the remote detection of nitrogen and potassium fertility and site-drought characterization/irrigation scheduling using canopy temperature and soil moisture measurements.

“I’m very excited to begin serving the producers, consultants and agents of Tennessee alongside the great faculty and staff located at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center,” says Raper. “In my opinion, we are on the brink of big changes in crop production systems. I’m looking forward to helping the state’s producers navigate and adapt during these exciting times.”