Writer: D'Lyn Ford
State University, received the 1997 Cotton Genetics Research Award last month at the 1998 Beltwide Cotton Conference sponsored by the National Cotton Council.
As a cotton breeder for 38 years at NMSU, Staten, 91, played a key role in developing New Mexico Acala 1517 cotton, and maintaining and improving its superior quality.
After becoming head of NMSU Acala breeding program in the early 1950s, he developed cotton lines that were used in breeding programs around the world.
U.S. commercial cotton growers have presented the award for outstanding basic research in cotton genetics for 34 years. Judging is based on criteria established by the Joint Cotton Breeding Policy Committee, comprised of representatives from state experiment stations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, private breeders and the cotton council.
Morgan Nelson, a Roswell cotton producer, said Staten's research not only benefitted New Mexico cotton producers but also producers across the nation and throughout the world.
H.B. Cooper Jr., a veteran cotton breeder in Corcoran, Calif., said that Staten understood the importance of high-quality fiber as he pursued the development of early maturing, verticillium wilt-tolerant, high-yielding cottons.
"It is evident that Mr. Staten's work as a cotton breeder has had a very significant impact on world production of cottons with excellent fiber properties and resistance to bacterial blight and verticillium wilt," he said.
Carl Barnes, head of NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia, said Staten's work as a cotton breeding pioneer is best exemplified by the importance of New Mexico Acalas as parent lines in U.S. cotton. In a recent parentage study, New Mexico lines were second in number of times they occurred. Almost half the new upland varieties trace back to NMSU's cotton breeding program.
"The development of verticillium wilt-resistant Acala cotton germplasm was a major breakthrough that affected the entire Cotton Belt," said Dick Davis, NMSU professor emeritus of agronomy and horticulture. "The outstanding achievement of his career, though was the creation of an agronomically sound breeding pool of high-quality, disease-resistant Acala cottons. This breeding pool is arguably the most important source of germplasm to be traced in present-day varieties."
Staten earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Oklahoma A&M University (now Oklahoma State). He received the Honorary Lifetime Achievement and Member Award from the New Mexico Crop Improvement Association in 1995.
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