At 68, Ron Smith may be a bit of an old dog chronologically, but professionally, he's striving to remain as agile and resourceful as a young fox.

He has to be. For almost two generations working as an Alabama Cooperative Extension System entomologist the measure of his professional success has always depended on how quickly and accurately he gets his message across to clients.

His message is insect control. His clients are farmers who have depended on his timely advice to keep virulent crop-feeding insects at bay.

Such an expenditure of time and creative energy over such a long period of time sends most people his age to the cozy comfort of their living room recliners.

Not Smith. The constantly evolving demands of cotton insect control have always kept him engaged and interested in his work.

"I've always been one of those fortunate ones who never had to deal with career burnout," Smith says. "There is no way you can burn out if things are changing all the time."