Dr. Jason Woodward, associate professor and Texas AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist at Lubbock, has been named the new state peanut specialist, according to officials.

“We are very pleased that Dr. Woodward will assume the position of state peanut specialist," said Dr. Travis Miller, program leader for the Soil and Crop Sciences AgriLife Extension unit. “He will serve as a liaison with the Texas Peanut Producers Board and coordinate AgriLife Extension’s peanut production management programs. He has an excellent range of experience working with peanuts and we are confident that he’ll make a real difference in this role.”

Shelly Nutt, executive director of the Texas Peanut Producers Board at Lubbock, said the board recommended Woodward for the position because of the respect he’s earned.

“He’s a strong peanut advocate,” Nutt said. “The growers have a tremendous amount of respect for him and he’s proven himself accessible to the Texas peanut industry. In the board’s opinion, he was the logical choice for this very key position in our industry.”

Woodward earned his doctorate degree from the University of Georgia and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Oklahoma State University.

As an AgriLife Extension specialist with the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, he helps producers and Extension agents and integrated pest management agents diagnose and manage crop diseases. He also assists in the planning and implementation of educational meetings, crop tours and demonstration plots relating to disease management of row crops, primarily peanuts and cotton, according to Dr. David Appel, program leader for AgriLife Extension Plant Pathology at College Station.

“We are very proud that Dr. Woodward is being recognized with this appointment for the outstanding program he has developed on peanuts,” Appel said.

Appel added that Woodward also has teaching experience, having responsibilities at Texas Tech University’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, where he teaches courses in agricultural plant pathology, trains graduate students and serves on student committees. He has 16 refereed journal articles to his credit and has served as a reviewer for six professional journals. He’s also been the principal investigator for approximately $649,000 in funding or gifts obtained to support AgriLife Extension programs and applied research.

According to Miller, the importance of Woodward’s work with peanuts cannot be overemphasized as Texas ranks No. 2 among U.S. peanut-producing states.

“Peanuts supply a nutritious snack and are an important ingredient for candy makers,” he said. “Texas AgriLife Research and Extension collaborate closely with the Texas peanut industry to provide information on sustainable peanut management as well as developing new varieties of peanuts for Texas producers. In his new appointment, Jason will be a major driving force, leader and contributor to these efforts.”

Miller said Woodward has worked collaboratively on peanut production systems with his predecessor, Dr. Todd Baughman who recently accepted a position with Oklahoma State University.

For more information on the Texas peanut industry, go to the Texas Peanut Producers Board website at: http://www.texaspeanutboard.com/industry-production.html .