Phillip M. Roberts
2005 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension
Dr. Phillip Roberts, an Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology, is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading cotton entomologists. He is a member of the University of Georgia Cotton Team and leads one of the strongest multi-disciplinary cotton insect pest management programs in the U.S. His strong multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach provides the best possible educational programs to Georgia cotton producers, county faculty, industry associates, and agricultural consultants. Dr. Roberts’ involvement in a wide variety of applied research projects, in collaboration with research and teaching faculty colleagues and county faculty, ensures producers and other clientele groups receive the very latest science-based information.
In the Southeastern U.S., insect pests have often been the most limiting factor in cotton production. The overall excellence and breadth of Dr. Roberts’ program has helped ensure the Georgia cotton industry remains economically viable. Georgia producers are fortunate to have an Extension Specialist whose passion for his work, knowledge of cotton insect pest management, and ethical handling of complex industry issues associated with cotton production truly set him apart. Each year, Dr. Roberts conducts numerous county production meetings, statewide educational meetings, in-service trainings for county faculty, workshops, and consultant meetings. In addition he, seemingly with ease, finds time to contribute significantly to all mission areas of his department, the Tifton Campus, and the college.
Cotton production has undergone many changes in recent years and producers must respond quickly to issues affecting cotton quality and production costs. Dr. Robert’s broad knowledge of agricultural production, his exceptional understanding of applied ecology in agricultural systems, and his expertise in the changing dynamics of pest populations in transgenic crops will serve Georgia producers well in the coming years. He is a team player in every sense of the concept. The exceptional level of energy and time he devotes to his work and his generosity truly speaks for his character.
His role on the UGA cotton team has become even more important as insect control issues become more complex due to transgenic crop opportunities and liabilities, and continuing cultural practice changes. The rapidly changing nature of crop protection science necessitates applied research in support of insect control. Dr. Robert’s Extension programs have had exceptional support in this respect. His broad collaborations, and the excellent level of competitive and non-competitive extramural funding he generates, allow him to identify new and emerging pest management problems and address them quickly.
Dr. Roberts is an exceptional educator who possesses a versatile and effective teaching style. Whether in a workshop, a grower meeting, or a national scientific meeting, he is equally effective and consistently commands the attention of his audience. “He effectively communicates in the middle of a cotton field addressing producers and industry reps or in a formal scientific meeting with his entomological peers,” said Richey Seaton, Executive Director of the Georgia Cotton Commission. “All of his work boils down to significant savings for our producers and enhancement of our cotton in Georgia”.
Dr. Jack Bacheler of North Carolina admires Dr. Roberts’ relationship with his colleagues. “Dr. Roberts is widely regarded by his peers as perhaps the most outstanding practicing cotton entomologist in the United States, having developed a model combination of a broad practical applied research project coupled with a comprehensive and relevant outreach program.” Another colleague and co-worker, Colquitt County Extension Coordinator Scott Brown, said, “I believe Phillip Roberts is among the best of the best specialists in Extension, past or present.”
Since joining the CAES faculty in 1996, Dr. Roberts has positively impacted the agricultural community of Georgia, the university, the college, the Department of Entomology, the Tifton Campus, CAES students, and his co-workers. And his dedication, hard work, and commitment have earned him numerous awards. Dr. Robert continues to “make a difference” in the lives of those around him.