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Lemon honored as top specialist

Robert G. Lemon, Ph.D., professor and Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist for cotton with Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, has been recognized by his peers from across the Cotton Belt as the 2007 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.

Lemon received the award at the Extension Cotton Specialists annual banquet during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Nashville, Tenn.

The award and banquet sponsored by Bayer CropScience have been featured at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences since 1984. Extension cotton specialists representing every cotton-producing state select a recipient annually based on leadership and industry service.

Travis Miller, professor, Texas AgriLife Extension program leader and associate head of the Soil and Crop Science Department at Texas A&M University, has worked with Lemon since he was a graduate student at TAMU.

“Whatever is happening in cotton, Robert is on top of it,” he said. “He coordinates well with other specialists around the state. Robert has the best interests of cotton and cotton farmers at heart, and I couldn't be more pleased for him.

“Robert is not bashful,” Miller continued. “He's energetic, forward-thinking, well-organized and works well with people. He has a natural analytical ability to readily develop and implement a solution to any problem. Robert has had a great deal of success because of the way he thinks and his ability to relate well to producers and producer organizations.”

For example, Lemon initiated the successful chemical stalk destruction program. Timely cotton stalk destruction is important in boll weevil management. In regions engaged in the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program (approximately 1 million acres), this production practice reduces post-harvest spraying operations, decreases pesticide use and conserves program and producer funds.

Randy Boman, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Extension Service cotton specialist at Lubbock, and the 2005 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, said Lemon is a skilled communicator and an excellent resource for his cotton grower clientele.

“He is an outstanding Extension specialist and works extremely hard to keep Texas Extension agents and producers informed of rapid changes in the cotton patch,” he said. “Robert has a comprehensive educational program supported by timely, well-designed and high-quality research trials.

“He's a tremendous thinker,” Boman added. “He thinks outside of the conventional wisdom to truly bring valuable educational programs to the cotton grower. Robert was instrumental in the development of the 2005 Cotton Resource CD for Texas, which was updated to a DVD format in 2007. This DVD includes a tremendous amount of production information to help answer producer questions, as well as those by Extension agents, ginners and consultants.”

Boman said Lemon is a “great team player who is committed to the success of the Texas cotton industry. He is most deserving of this award, and I think it speaks volumes of his contributions to the cotton industry. I am proud to call him my colleague.”

In his acceptance speech Lemon praised his predecessors and colleagues for their roles in his success. He also acknowledged the professionalism of others in the cotton industry.

“I have a high reverence for the folks who work in cotton,” he said. “This is a special group and I am honored. We do things that no other academic discipline can do and what we do is important.”

Lemon cited retired Supak and Boman for their roles in improving the Texas cotton industry.

“A lot of great folks contribute to this industry,” he said. “You can look at any other commodity you want to but you won't find the kind of kinship we have.”

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