Dr. Scott Monfort is currently the head Extension Peanut Agronomist and Associate Professor at the University of Georgia which has a 90% focus in extension outreach, and a 10% focus in research. Research in this role ties into his extension position and is used to assist growers in efficient crop production.
Dr. Monfort obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in Plant Protection and Pest Management. This opened an opportunity in Worth County Extension, and whilst in this position, Dr. Monfort pursued a Master’s degree in Plant Pathology. His Master's graduate work was under the direction of Dr. Albert Culbreath. This initial extension position sparked an interest in research, which led to continuing his education at the University of Arkansas to complete his PhD in plant sciences, where he also accepted a position as an Extension plant pathologist. He then continued his extension/research career as a peanut specialist at Clemson University where he was able to work with extension and pathology disease research.
Dr. Monfort has now been with the University of Georgia for nine years and upon returning to Georgia, had access to many resources that have allowed him to set specific goals and work on different projects and research. Through a large focus on extension outreach, he has discovered issues that growers are seeking solutions for, this has provided opportunities for graduate students to pursue a master’s degree while conducting research in relative fields.
On the agronomic side of production, Dr. Monfort has been very successful in determining which varietal response is best for the area, this enhances productivity and ultimately, profitability for growers. While at the University of Georgia, in the last 3-5 years, Monfort has been working on the effects of using growth regulators in the Southeast. This helps growers manage vines and has resulted in a portion of increased yields. Another key area of interest is research dealing with effective storage and the impact that this will have on seed quality for the next year. Over the last five years, each of these projects and accomplishments have utilized graduate students allowing these students to obtain their master’s degree. One graduate student project focuses on in-furrow fertilizer usage to increase productivity while minimizing negative effects. The use of in-furrow fertilizers is common in other row crop production practices but have not been recommended in peanut production until more recently. This research project has focused on negative effects of this usage and he has strived to educate growers on product usage, in an effort to reduce its impact on their crop productivity. These projects and outreach under Dr. Monfort’s leadership have provided industry advancements across the peanut belt.
Funding for these research projects has come through the National Peanut Board, industry donors and local donors, Peanut Commission groups, and peanut sheller organizations. Funding from sources such as these is a necessary element to conduct research projects. This research is conducted to aid growers in enhancing productivity and profitability as part of Dr. Monfort’s extension role. Educating and providing agents and growers with information is the goal of extension outreach. Ongoing and continuing research is key to validating recommendations and helping growers be more efficient and productive.