Brown Wins D.W. Brooks Award

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Steve L. Brown

University of Georgia professor Steve L. Brown will be awarded the prestigious D. W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Public Service for extension Oct. 2 in Athens, Ga.

Brown, a professor and extension specialist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Entomology, is a widely recognized expert in integrated management of pests in peanuts and stored products.

His work is centered in two distinctly different program areas. He has been instrumental in finding a solution to tomato spotted wilt virus, one of Georgia peanut producers' most damaging diseases. By 1995 the virus had become the greatest yield-limiting factor for the billion-dollar Georgia peanut industry and had a severe impact on other Georgia-grown crops, including tobacco, tomatoes and peppers.

Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

Brown played a key role on a team of scientists that developed practical programs and solutions to TSWV. He developed the UGA Spotted Wilt Risk Index, a planning tool that assesses the risk of producer practices. Using hundreds of on-farm observations, the index is refined each year.

While TSWV continues to be a threat to the Georgia peanut industry, the risk index has proven to be an accurate predictor of TSWV. It allows growers to avoid the devastating losses of previous years.

The risk index has yielded greater net returns for Georgia peanut producers. Economic analysis of the risk index shows that for each percent decrease in risk index value, the net return per acre increased by more than $11 in 1998. This resulted in an increase of $133 to $280 per acre.

Besides his work with TSWV, Brown is a leading expert in the Southeast for insect control in stored grains, peanuts and cottonseed and for postharvest entomology. Brown oversees the South's only demonstration grain treatment and storage facility, which provides hands-on training for county Extension agents and growers.

Other Winners

The annual Brooks awards are presented to UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty who excel in teaching, research, extension and international agriculture. The awards include a framed certificate and a $5,000 cash award.

Other honorees this year were: Eddie McGriff, county extension programming; Michael Dirr, teaching; John Ruter, research; and Manjeet Chinnan, international agriculture.

Before the awards ceremony, William F. Kirk, vice president of DuPont Biosolutions Enterprise, will deliver the D.W. Brooks Lecture: "The 21st Century -- An Agribusiness Odyssey."

The lecture and awards are named for the late D.W. Brooks, founder and chairman emeritus of Gold Kist, Inc., and founder of Cotton States Mutual Insurance Companies. Brooks was an advisor on agriculture and trade issues to seven U.S. presidents.

Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.