James Jacobs grew up on small farm in Hoboken, Georgia working with his family in tobacco and managing a small beef cattle herd. He completed his BS degree in Animal Science in 1995 and began working with the Animal Science Department in Tifton as a Research Coordinator I that summer. In 2001, he completed his MS in Agricultural Extension. He and his wife Heather have three children, Annslee, Banner and Carson Jacobs.
Jacobs began his Extension career in 1998, serving as County Extension Agent for Berrien County. Berrien County has a diverse agricultural community, which provided him with a great opportunity to apply his education and work experience but also to gain extensive knowledge in vegetables and other row crops. In 2005, Jacobs was able to move closer to home by accepting the County Extension Coordinator position in Ware County. While in Ware County, he continued to work with row crops and vegetables but was quickly introduced to the rapidly expanding commodity of blueberries. After two years, Jacobs transferred to the role of County Extension Coordinator for Pierce County in 2007. James currently serves in this position as well as interim County Extension Coordinator for Brantley and Charlton Counties.
In addition to fulfilling the daily routine of conversing with clientele on issues and challenges, Jacobs has worked directly with Extension Specialists and industry through on-farm research trials to address issues of economic importance. Tomato spotted wilt virus has been a major economic threat to both tobacco and peanuts since the late 80’s and 90’s. As a new agent in Berrien County, he began working closely with Dr. Paul Bertrand and Dr. J. Michael Moore, and later in Ware County with David Jones, on implementing on-farm research trials to evaluate materials and practices for suppression of the spotted wilt disease in flue-cured tobacco. Jacobs has participated in 41 trials that have contributed to the overall knowledge base of the vector (thrips) and management strategies for the suppression of the disease. His research endeavors have been recognized through presentation opportunities at the National Tobacco Workers Conference and annually through the Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour.
Over the last 15 years, Jacobs has continued to work broadly with row crops but has also developed a knowledge base for blueberry production in the Southeast. The rapid expansion of Georgia’s blueberry industry brought forth a number of challenges for not only new producers but seasoned producers as well. Spotted winged drosophila found its way into Georgia’s small fruit crops in 2011. Since its introduction, Jacobs has worked with Drs. Dan Horton and Ash Sial on conducting on-farm research projects to gain an understanding of the biological aspects of the insect as well as potential management strategies. Research efforts have included extensive trapping, identification of potential host plants on field borders, evaluation of chemistries, in-field sanitation practices, impact of precipitation and others.
In all, Jacobs has participated in 33 on-farm research trials focusing on commercial blueberry production. These trials have focused on production practices, insect suppression and disease management. In 2015, he was recognized by the Southern IPM Center for his educational endeavors in the field of entomology as the recipient of the 2015 IPM Implementer Award.