SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A former Extension cotton specialist with a reputation for thorough, concise work and quick reporting was recognized last week as the 2018 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, an annual award sponsored by Bayer during the Beltwide Cotton Conference.
Andrea Jones, the first woman to be named Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, technically was a research associate at the University of Missouri for most of her 18-year tenure.
“She took that position and became the de facto cotton specialist for Missouri through hard work, dedication, and commitment to helping anyone in need,” says Darrin Dodds, Extension cotton specialist for Mississippi State University. “She occupied a position within the University but turned it into a defining role for over a decade through her efforts. She is to be commended for not being defined by a title on paper but rather dedicating herself to providing Missouri cotton producers with the latest information in an effort to increase their bottom line.”
Essentially, Jones saw a need and filled it.
“Andrea filled an important gap in the cotton specialists by building a strong cotton research and Extension program from scratch in Missouri,” says Keith Edmisten, Extension cotton specialist at North Carolina State University. “She was the ultimate team builder in our group and was always willing to participate in Beltwide cotton specialists’ projects.”
Jones left the University of Missouri in July. She now works in a commercial role.
The prestigious award is voted on annually by Extension cotton specialists who represent every cotton-producing state across the U.S. Cotton Belt. Each year, the recipient’s peers evaluate and select a winner based on a number of considerations including exceptional leadership and outstanding industry service. The Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year has been awarded since 1984 and sponsored by Bayer since 1998.
Bayer, with flagship brands FiberMax and Stoneville, recognizes the positive impact third-party research has on sustainability for growers across the Cotton Belt.
“Third-party research to validate variety performance and tackle agronomic issues is essential to a healthy cotton industry in the United States. Our highly credible Extension cotton specialists provides the data, the research and the collaboration our growers need,” says Scott Asher, Ph.D., Bayer Eastern Regional Agronomic Manager. “Growers rely on the science our Extension cotton specialists provide and respect their art – the expertise they offer that helps growers bring in a successful crop.”
Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s from Arkansas State University. In addition to leading variety trials and field days, Jones provided extensive research on irrigation and weed control.
Jim English, director of the division of plant sciences at the University of Missouri, notes that Jones evaluated 718 varieties from six different companies and led 51 cotton trials in her last year at the university.
“And that’s a typical year for her,” English says. “She is an extremely talented and productive person. She’s an awesome presenter and educator and I think people come away with tremendous information. Her leaving was a loss for us, but she’s still in the industry and that’s what matters.”
Past winners include:
Bob Hutmacher – University of California (2017)
Gaylon Morgan – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (2016)
Guy Collins – University of Georgia (2015)
Darrin Dodds – Mississippi State University (2014)
Randy Norton – University of Arizona (2013)
Tom Barber – University of Arkansas (2012)
Chris Main – University of Tennessee (2011)
David Wright – University of Florida (2010)
Dale Monks – Auburn University (2009)
Robert Lemon – Texas A&M University (2008)
Mike Jones – Clemson University (2007)
Randy Boman – Oklahoma State University (2006)
Bobby Phipps – University of Missouri (2005)
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