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MISSISSIPPI STATE PROFESSOR NAMED EXTENSION COTTON SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR
Source: Bayer Crop Science news release

Darrin Dodds, Ph.D., associate Extension professor at Mississippi State University, has been announced as the 2014 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, an award sponsored by Bayer CropScience since 2008.

Dodds received the award at the Extension Cotton Specialist annual dinner banquet on Jan. 7 during the 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans.

The annual award and banquet has been a featured event at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences since 1984. Extension cotton specialists representing every cotton-producing state select a winner annually based on leadership and industry service.

Steve Nichols, U.S. agronomic manager for Bayer CropScience, said the company is pleased to congratulate Dodds on this accomplishment.

"Darrin Dodds has created a well-deserved name for himself as a leader in the cotton community," Nichols said. "His dedication to delivering relevant information and best management practices to Mississippi cotton producers has provided them with the necessary tools to improve performance and profitability on their farms."

Tom Barber, Ph.D., associate professor and Extension weed scientist at the University of Arkansas and 2012 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, has known Dodds since they both attended Mississippi State.

"The Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year is very special because it is voted on by peers, and I can't think of anyone more deserving than Darrin for this award," Barber said. "His work is tremendous. When you have a researcher or an Extension person like him that pours his life into helping others succeed, it is invaluable. It is people like Darrin who give growers, consultants and county agents the information they need to help stay successful in this global cotton environment."

"Darrin is a first class Extension Specialist and he continues to support his clientele through local, state and regional meetings where he provides key information and recommendations from his applied research program," Bayer continued. "Darrin is widely known for organizing excellent meetings that are well attended, regardless of the platform. The data that is generated from his program and the recommendations he makes to producers help to keep them profitable. That is the reason he is being recognized."

Originally from Illinois, Dodds received his master's degree in weed science from Purdue University and went on to receive his doctoral degree at Mississippi State University. He has now worked at MSU for six years and studies cotton variety performance, management, fertility, plant growth regulator use, irrigation management and weed control.

He is the coordinator of the annual Row Crop Short Course at Mississippi State University. Last month, the course offered three days of intensive agricultural education with a heavy focus on irrigation. Half of the day was spent on entomological issues in various row crops and the other half was spent on nutrient management and weed management issues.

"When I was at Mississippi State we offered a Cotton Short Course. At the time it just covered cotton and we had about 200 participants," said Barber. "Darrin expanded the program to the Row Crop Short Course and received record attendance this year. There were more than 400 people at the meeting, which is the most ever."

According to Barber, Dodds has focused in cotton variety management and performance over the years and has developed several publications that concentrate on management of cotton varieties. In recent years, he has been at the forefront of research in new herbicide technologies coming down the pipeline and educating growers about the realities of herbicide resistance.

"In addition to his accomplishments, Darrin stands out because of the respect everyone has for him," Barber said. "We all respect Darrin's opinion because of his work ethic and the quality of research and Extension program he has developed. He is a devout leader in the Extension Specialist Working group where he has facilitated the publishing of numerous multi-state cotton projects. Darrin does an excellent job in putting the data from projects in a package where it can be utilized by key clientele."


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