James Maitland, recently retired as Extension cotton specialist, Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, has been recognized by his peers as the 2003 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.

The award was presented at the Extension Cotton Specialists annual banquet Jan. 7 during the Beltwide Cotton Conference.

The annual award and banquet, sponsored by Crompton Corp./Uniroyal Chemical, has been and continues to be a featured event at Beltwide Cotton Conferences since 1984. Extension cotton specialists representing every cotton-producing state annually select a recipient based on leadership and service to the industry.

“Jimmy Maitland has more knowledge of cotton and has a keener interest in the crop than anyone else in our system,” says Jim Jones, Ph.D., who recently retired as director of the Southern Piedmont AREC, and now serves as scientist-in-charge. “In the early ‘90s, when Virginia experienced a resurgence in cotton production, Jimmy was the catalyst who provided technical information and advice to county agents and growers who were getting back into cotton production. His applied research into the evaluation of early maturing varieties, conservation tillage systems, and growth regulators and defoliation chemicals has provided information for our growers that we simply couldn't get anywhere else.”

A Virginia native, Maitland began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher at Dinwiddie County High School in 1967. He joined the Virginia Extension Service as an Extension agent in Dinwiddie County in 1981. In 1995 he was appointed Extension cotton specialist, Virginia Tech Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Blackstone, Va.

Maitland earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1967 and continued his graduate studies at Virginia State University. He is supported by his wife, Mimi, a son, Coleman, a daughter, Jennifer and two grandchildren.