Randy Norton, Ph.D., associate professor and regional Extension specialist with the University of Arizona, has been recognized by his peers from across the Cotton Belt by being selected as the 2013 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year, a Bayer CropScience-sponsored event at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences since 2008.

Norton received the award at the Extension Cotton Specialists annual dinner banquet on Jan. 9 during the 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. 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.

“Dr. Norton is a committed professional. He directs a well-integrated agronomic research and Extension program with a strong emphasis on irrigated cotton production,” said Jeff Silvertooth, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director for Economic Development and Extension for University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Silvertooth noted that the research efforts of Norton, who has served as editor of their Extension’s cotton variety testing guide, have been timely and had a lasting effect on the cotton growers in his area. “His greatest impact has come in the way of up-to-date and relevant variety testing information that is regionally based,” Silvertooth explained. “Randy does an outstanding job of incorporating his applied research into his Extension education program.”

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Norton is currently the director of the Safford Agricultural Center, which provides research and service to farmers in Graham, Greenlee and Cochise counties. In his current position, he provides educational assistance aimed at increasing the effectiveness, competitiveness and profitability of farmers. In addition to agronomy, Norton’s areas of expertise also include applied research, horticulture, livestock and natural resources.

Norton has been with the University of Arizona’s Extension program since 2001. He started as an Assistant Agriculture Agent then became an Area Associate Agent. Norton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in plant science in 1993, followed by a master’s degree in soil science in 1996 and a Ph.D. in soil chemistry and soil fertility in 2000, all from the University of Arizona. He is also a member of the National Cotton Council of America’s Program Committee.

Steve Nichols, U.S. agronomic services manager for Bayer CropScience, said the company is pleased to be the first to recognize Norton on his award and thankful for the ongoing opportunity to sponsor this time-honored industry award.

“Randy Norton is a terrific example of the dedication today’s Extension leaders have for providing cotton growers with the research and information needed to increase on-farm yield, manage weeds and maximize profitability,” said Nichols. “Randy’s forward-thinking educational programs and willingness to share his cotton knowledge demonstrate his commitment to the success of current and future generations of cotton growers. We at Bayer CropScience are thrilled to congratulate Randy on his accomplishments.”