Andrea Jones was named 2018 Extension Cotton Specialist of the year for her work as a research associate at the University of Missouri. The award is sponsored by Bayer and presented each year at a dinner during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences.
Jones, the first woman to earn the honor, accepted the award during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio Thursday.
“I am shocked and just humbled,” Jones said following the presentation. She earned a masters Degree from Arkansas State, and said she was humbled and honored to be included in a list of highly respected former- recipients. “All these PhDs,” she said.
As a research associate, Jones worked on variety selection, concentrating on finding varieties that fit into the short season of the Missouri Bootheel. “This is the northernmost point of the Cotton Belt,” she said. “Our growing season is very short.”
Jones credited her mentor and former Missouri Extension cotton specialist Bobby Phipps for his support and counsel. She assumed much of the responsibility as state cotton specialist when Phipps left the University.
“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.”
FILLED A NEED
“Andrea filled an important gap in the cotton specialist role 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 and is working for an ag industry company is a sales role. “I enjoy the new challenge,” she said.
Extension cotton specialists, represeningt every cotton-producing state across the U.S. Cotton Belt, vote on the annual award. They 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.
“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 provide 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 they 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, says 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. 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)