Working with peanuts and peanut farmers won’t be anything new for Scott Monfort, the new South Carolina Peanut Specialist.

He grew up in Arlington, Ga., and has worked with cotton and peanuts most of his life.

Monfort, housed at Clemson University’s Edisto Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Blackville, S.C., is replacing long-time Peanut Specialist Jay Chapin.

Montfort began his agriculture career in southwest Georgia, working for former Georgia cooperative giant Gold Kist. He cut his professional teeth in precision agriculture, and will bring some new insights on the use of precision technology to South Carolina peanut farmers.

The new South Carolina peanut specialist moved from Gold Kist to the Georgia Cooperative Extension System, working in Worth County in the heart of the state’s peanut belt. At the time, he had an agricultural degree from the University of Georgia and says working with Extension specialists there inspired him to further his degree.

He subsequently got interested in peanut disease management and earned a masters degree, working with long-time University of Georgia Plant Pathologist Albert Culbreath.

“It was clear to me working with farmers in and around Sylvester, Ga., that precision agriculture would be an important part of the future of farming. Working with the Georgia Extension Service also helped me understand the importance of managing nematodes in peanuts and cotton,” Monfort says.

Getting a masters degree, he adds, further inspired him to continue his education, but finding the right university to suit his interest wasn’t easy. 

He ended up at the University of Arkansas, working on precision agriculture and nematode management — critical issues he had faced as an Extension agent in Georgia.

After completing his degree, he worked for five years as a state plant pathologist in Arkansas. He worked on multiple crops, even some with peanuts, during his tenure in Arkansas.

Common throughout his academic studies has been a keen interest in plant diseases. “Historically diseases have been a limiting factor on peanut yield, so I’m looking forward to continuing  to help growers manage disease problems,” he says.