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From 'Go Dawgs' to 'War Eagle' for John Beasley

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• University of Georgia Extension Peanut Agronomist John Beasley is swapping red and black for orange and blue as he takes the reins of the Auburn University College of Agriculture's Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department.

The University of Georgia’s loss is Auburn University’s gain, and for once, we’re not talking about football, though Georgia has been winning a lot more than Auburn on the gridiron in the past couple of years.

In this particular case, Auburn’s win is in the form of University of Georgia Extension Peanut Agronomist John Beasley, who is retiring from UGA at the end of the year and joining Auburn as the head of its newly named Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department in the College of Agriculture, formerly known as the Department of Agronomy and Soils.

I admittedly bleed navy blue and burnt orange, so it did my heart good to see John at the recent Wiregrass Field Day in Headland, Ala., decked out in an AU shirt and cap. The colors looked good on him, as they do on any true Auburn man. I’ll concede that Georgia may have helped to make John the person he is today, but I suspect the ingredients were already there.

At the field day, John struck a sentimental note, talking about how he grew up not far from the southeast Alabama substation, working in Extension’s IPM program during his undergraduate years at Auburn, scouting peanuts, corn, grain sorghum and soybeans.

John said he had been given a great opportunity to return to his home department and provide leadership. 

“I’ll commit to you that I’ll work hard every day, just as I have as the University of Georgia’s Extension peanut agronomist. If you have anything that you’d like to see the department work on in the future to help your bottom line and to help improve your quality of life, please let me know. I’ll be contacting you to see what we can do to improve and accomplish things for Auburn University, the College of Agriculture, and the Department of Crops, Soils and Environmental Sciences.”

After graduating from Auburn with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and soils, Beasley completed his master’s degree at Oklahoma State University and in 1985 received his Ph.D. in crop science at Louisiana State University.

He began his career that same year as an assistant professor and Extension specialist at the University of Georgia. In 1991, he was promoted to associate professor, and five years later, he attained the rank of professor.

Having enjoyed an outstanding career at the University of Georgia, John said it was good to be coming home.

“This is literally home to me and has a very special meaning to me, and Auburn has a very special meaning to me as well. The University of Georgia has been great to me — the people I’ve worked with and the administration. We’ve all worked together on a lot of joint projects between the two institutions and with the University of Florida.”

Welcome home, John.

(For a video interview of John Beasley talking about his move, see Longtime Georgia peanut agronomist says farewell ...sort of).

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