Virginia Tech has hired a new cotton/peanut specialist. Joel Faircloth, who has been the cotton specialist in Louisiana for the past year and a half, will be on staff at the Tidewater Agriculture and Extension Center in Suffolk beginning Jan. 1.

One of his first speaking engagements in his new post will be at the Southeast Cotton Conference scheduled for Jan. 27, 2004, at the Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, N.C.

Faircloth, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., says he looks forward to returning to his roots in the Virginia-Carolina region. On the cotton side, Faircloth replaces Jim Maitland, who retired last year. On the peanut side, he replaces Charles Swann, who retired this year.

In his work in Louisiana, Faircloth focused on varieties, plant growth regulators and defoliation.

In Virginia, he'll have a very broad focus. In addition to his responsibilities in peanuts and cotton, Faircloth will also focus on weeds.

He received his bachelor's, Master's and doctorate degrees from North Carolina State University. His Master's work was in entomology under the direction of J.R. Bradley and John van Duyn. His doctoral work was in agronomy under the direction of Keith Edmisten and Randy Wells.

“I look forward to working with the cotton and peanut growers of Virginia,” he says.

He and his wife, Christine, have a 14-month-old daughter, Julia.

They plan to live in Franklin, Va.