2009 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Public Service Extension
Paul Wigley is one of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension's most elite agriculture and natural resources agents. He is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced agents in the United States on the subjects of peanut production and disease control.
For the past 10 years, Wigley has focused on the study of Rhizoctonia limb, pod and peg rot in peanuts and its control. He conducted 26 replicated trials evaluating almost 40 fungicides in more than 80 different combinations and systems to study their control of this disease in peanuts. More than 800 visitors from across the U.S. and nine foreign countries for viewed his research plots and trials. His work and the data it has generated have become the cornerstone for control recommendations for this disease to peanut growers in every U.S. peanut producing state. The application of his research findings has led to more than $14 million in additional farm income in Calhoun County since 2000.
The Georgia Peanut Education for Excellence program has recognizes Wigley three times as the extension agent with the best overall educational program for peanut production in Georgia. He has been honored for having the best presentation by a county extension agent at the American Peanut Research and Education Society meeting and nominated for the prestigious Bailey Award four times.
Wigley also conducts trials and educational programming for peanut growers on tomato spotted wilt virus management, row spacing, maturity determination and yield enhancement product evaluation. He manages the state's largest Extension-sponsored Integrated Pest Management program which reports on upward of 21,000 acres annually. Programming on these topics has netted an additional $5.7 million to Calhoun County growers since 2000.
In addition to peanut projects, Wigley studies cotton nematode management and drought response and management for livestock producers. He obtained $30,000 in grant funds that were used to collect and safely dispose of more than 80,000 pounds of unwanted pesticides and 120 tons of scrap tires.
He has led the Calhoun County junior swine program to its position as one of the premier junior swine programs in the state. His students have captured state champion or reserve champion honors at the Georgia Junior National Market Swine Show on multiple occasions. His expertise in the area makes him one of the most sought after swine judges in the southeastern U.S. where he has judged more than 50 shows.
Wigley is an excellent adult leader as well and has served as a formal mentor to several new agents. He held the offices of president and treasurer of the Georgia Association of the County Agricultural Agents and served as treasurer of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.