Mike Jones of Clemson University is the 2007 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year. The associate professor of entomology, soils, and plant sciences received the award during the Extension Cotton Specialists' annual banquet during the 2007 Beltwide Cotton Conference in New Orleans, Jan. 9.

“Receiving the award is a big shock and I'm excited about it,” said the researcher of the recognition bestowed by fellow cotton Extension specialists. “There are many deserving cotton specialists out there and to be recognized by them for my work means a lot.”

While Jones's father served as a tobacco specialist in Virginia, the younger Jones knew his career path would follow the family's footsteps in the Extension Service. Jones's career in cotton research began in Mississippi, but he moved to South Carolina to become a cotton agronomist in 1998. Jones now conducts research at the Pee Dee Research & Education Center in Florence, SC.

”You're trying to help people (cotton growers) better their lives by working through Extension, helping them better their operations, and make a living. I get a lot of pride from helping those folks,” said Jones.

According to Clemson Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences Chair Joe Culin, Jones' first-rate cotton production materials are available on the Internet.

“Jones maintains a strong research program that examines methods to increase cotton production in environmentally sustainable and economically profitable ways,” Culin said. “His active research program allows him to transfer first-hand knowledge of new production practices directly to his clientele.”

Jones earned his bachelor of science degree in agronomy, his master of science in soil science, and his PhD in crop science from North Carolina State University. He serves on the board of directors of the South Carolina Cotton Museum and as an associate editor of the Agronomy Journal.

The Chemtura Corp. sponsors the award that recognizes Extension specialists for service to growers and the cotton industry.