Tyson Raper Is the Statewide Winner of the Bill & Ann Hicks Outstanding New Extension Worker Award

Tyson Raper, 2017
Dr. Tyson Raper (center), a cotton and small grains specialist with UT Extension, is the statewide winner of the Bill and Ann Hicks Outstanding New Extension Worker Award.​ Also pictured are UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross (left) and interim UT Extension Dean Delton Gerloff. Photo courtesy UTIA. 


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recently presented several awards to top faculty, staff, researchers and extension experts. More than two dozen people were recognized at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon held on the UTIA campus in Knoxville late last month. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.

Dr. Tyson Raper, a cotton and small grains specialist with UT Extension, is the statewide winner of the Bill and Ann Hicks Outstanding New Extension Worker Award. The award is made possible by the generosity of UT Extension Dean Emeritus Billy G. Hicks and his wife Ann. It goes to an agent with less than five years of service.

“I am truly honored to have received this year’s Bill and Ann Hicks New Extension worker award,” Raper says. “I consider myself extremely fortunate to be involved with such a supportive institute, and to have the opportunity to work with some of the greatest agents and specialists within the land grant system.”

For such a young man, Tyson Raper is already having an impact on Tennessee agriculture. Raper has been with UTIA since 2014, headquartered at the UT AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson. He’s working to enhance yield and crop returns on some 750,000 acres, and is praised for his well-attended workshops and crop production seminars. Recently more than 300 wheat producers made changes to their production practices based on his research, and the enhanced returns topped $350,000.

Cotton production in Tennessee has gone up and down in recent years. But based on recommendations from Raper on pests, weeds and plant diseases, producers upped yields by some 40,000 pounds.

And half a century old, but still cranking just fine. No, not Tyson Raper. He’s much younger than that. We’re talking about a piece of machinery. Raper helps operate the cotton gin at the Jackson center, 50 years old, but still processing thousands of samples a year. It’s one of a handful of university-operated cotton gins in the country, and a valuable research tool to get accurate fiber quality information.

UTIA Chancellor Dr. Tim Cross hosted the award winners, and praised them for their work. “The people at the UT Institute of Agriculture word hard every day to deliver real life solutions to our many stakeholders,” Cross says. “Recognition of the outstanding work by our award winners inspires all of us to strive for excellence and make a difference in the lives of Tennesseans.”​​

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.



Charles Denney, 865-382-8058 (mobile), cmdenney@utk.edu​