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In Profile: Graham’s retirement reboot brings researcher back to Lubbock

In Profile: Graham’s retirement reboot brings researcher back to Lubbock

Jim Graham’s career has come full circle. Before the Texas Tech agricultural science grad (’63 BS) joined global agribusiness leader Monsanto in 1966 as a research specialist, he worked on cotton-related projects at Lubbock’s Texas Agricultural Experiment Station as a Texas Tech undergraduate.

“Even though I was just a college student working in the field and doing small things in the lab, I was able to see how teaching in the classroom related to practical research,” Graham said. “I developed an appreciation for the process of transferring technology from the lab to application on the farm. I saw how it really worked, and it drove me to want to go to graduate school.”

Graham earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin, where he was encouraged to join Monsanto. At the agricultural biotechnology giant, the Ashtola native would eventually advance from researcher to field developer to manager.

During that run up the career ladder he was involved in technical development and sales support of Lasso and Roundup herbicides on the East Coast, as well as directing research in the United States, Canada, Asia, South America and Western Europe. From Monsanto’s Brussels headquarters, he served as director of agriculture technology, leading a 70-person research, product development and registration group.

Graham officially retired in 1999, but today continues his research part-time from the company’s St. Louis headquarters. “It’s very rewarding that Monsanto allows retirees to continue to bring back their skills on research projects,” he said.

One of those projects has Graham once again working with a cotton research team at what’s now known as Lubbock’s AgriLife Research Center. Making four or five trips to Hub City each growing season, he monitors research plots aimed at improving cotton water-use efficiency. How appropriate that, in his retirement, Graham can be found once again working on occasion in a cotton field near Lubbock, where his inquisitive nature was first nurtured.

Reporting by Laura Gutschke

CONTACT: Tracee Murph, Coordinator of Alumni Relations, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806)742-2802 or

1015NM12 / PHOTO: Leslie Kitten


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