BASF recognizes Cotton Marketer, Cotton Specialist of the Year at Beltwide Cotton Conferences

Left to right: Hunter Frame and Murilo Maeda

At this week’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences, BASF sponsored two prestigious professional awards: Cotton Specialist of the Year and Cotton Marketer of the Year. Dr. Murilo Maeda, assistant professor and extension cotton specialist from Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, in Lubbock, Texas, was named the 2023 Cotton Specialist of the Year, and Arkansas cotton grower Joe Mencer was named Cotton Marketer of the Year.

Cotton Specialist of the Year

Voted on by cotton specialists in the 17 states where cotton is grown, this highly esteemed award is based on several considerations, including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service.

Dr. Maeda works as a Texas extension cotton specialist. He has been in the cotton industry his entire life, growing up in Brazil on his family’s cotton farm. Maeda came to the U.S. in 2010 to pursue his master’s degree in agronomy and crop physiology in 2012 and his doctoral degree in agronomy and crop physiology in 2015 from Texas A&M University. In 2018, he made his debut in the extension industry. Maeda was the recipient of the 2021 Dr. J. Tom Cothren Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist Award.

“Along with solid field knowledge, Dr. Maeda also brought an excellent focus in technology, specifically a focus into drone use for producers,” said Kenny Melton, BASF Agronomic Services Manager. “He does a great job bringing West Texas producers into the 21st century and beyond. Not only does he bring the technology knowledge needed to make advancements, but he also does a great job explaining what he is doing and why so that the producers can have a baseline knowledge as well.”

Maeda recently accepted a full-time position with BASF as its Breeding Technology Manager. Along with his wife and two children, he will be moving back to Brazil to use his focus on drones and the sensing industry to work on BASF’s cotton breeding business in Brazil.

Cotton Marketer of the Year

The Joseph J. O’Neill Cotton Marketer of the Year award presented by ICE Futures (formerly the New York Cotton Exchange) and BASF dates back to 1991.

Joe Mencer is this year’s award winner. Mencer is a third-generation farmer and has been farming since 1979 when he started his operation in Lake Village, Arkansas, with 125 acres of rice on his father and uncle’s land. Mencer had been working for his family since he was old enough to drive the equipment used on their farm. Today, Mencer grows 1,800 acres of cotton, 1,800 acres of rice, 1,000 acres of corn and 2,400 acres of soybeans. He also manages 1,600 acres of timber across Arkansas and Mississippi.

Left to right: Joe Mencer and O.A. Cleveland

“Mencer has been doing this a long time, and he understands all aspects of the business, which goes beyond just growing the crop itself,” said Jerry Ford, BASF Area Manager. “Marketing and sharing knowledge of product, along with the production of the product are a huge part of our industry, a part that Mencer has taken pride in and woven into his business fluidly.”

Mencer runs a family business with the help of his wife and two sons. His younger son runs a trucking company that hauls the cotton and grain for the farm, while his older son has a law degree and assists with all legal matters for the operation. Mencer is also heavily involved in many agriculture boards and committees, including the Arkansas Boll Weevil Board, representing Arkansas on the National Boll Weevil Board, the USA Rice and Arkansas Rice boards, the Arkansas Ag Council, the local NRCS Board, and the local Farm Bureau Board and Delta ACA Farm Credit Board.

Dr. Murilo received his award on Wednesday evening during a virtual award presentation. Mencer was recognized during the Cotton Economic Outlook Symposium as part of the virtual Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions Division 
Farming is fundamental to provide enough healthy and affordable food for a rapidly growing population while reducing environmental impacts.Working with partners and agricultural experts andby integratingsustainability criteria into all business decisions, we help farmers to create a positive impact on sustainable agriculture. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline, connecting innovative thinking with practical action in the field. Our portfolio comprises seeds and specifically selected plant traits, chemical and biological crop protection, solutions for soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we strive to find the right balance for success — for farmers, agriculture and future generations. In 2021, our division generated sales of €8.2 billion. For more information, please visit or any of our social media channels. 

About BASF 

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 16,700 employees in North America and had sales of $25.9 billion in 2021. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit  

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Around 111,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €78.6 billion in 2021. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at

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