Entomologist returns home to battle Arkansas pests

After receiving a doctorate degree in entomology from Mississippi State University, Arkansan Ben Thrash is coming home to serve as the new extension field crop entomologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

In Mississippi, Thrash worked on refining defoliation thresholds in soybeans. He’s taking his lessons from his three and a half years there, along with master’s degree in entomology from UA–Fayetteville, where he studied stinkbugs in edamame, to his new position where he’ll work to convey university research to Arkansas producers.

“The job is 100 percent extension,” Thrash said. “Along with answering pest control questions for growers, I’ll be conducting applied research to develop and refine thresholds, evaluate efficacy of insecticides and transgenic crops and overall find ways to make growers more profitable.”

With more 12 years of experience in research and plot work throughout his academic career, Thrash is excited to finally have a set position in the field.

“I just really enjoy doing the research,” he said. “My family farms in Conway and they rely on the recommendations the Division of Agriculture makes. I want to be a part of that. I want to help growers make good decisions and help them be profitable.”

Thrash said that passion is what will make this new position so rewarding for him.

“I love seeing the effort we put in come to fruition,” he said. “It’s such a great thing that we get to see all of our hard work put to good use.”

Love for his home state seems to be the icing on the cake for Thrash, as he gets to do what he wants, where he wants.

“I wanted to come back home,” he said. “I love Arkansas. The agriculture, the mountains, kayaking, fishing and of course family. I love all of it.”

Thrash begins his new job Aug. 1.

Local students graduate from U of A

From Conway:

Bryan D. Altman

Michael J. Anthony

Skyler W. Bagby

William Thomas Beckman

Megan Elizabeth Belew

Brianna M. Belote

Jordan Thomas Blackwood

Tyler Clark Bowman

Krista Mikelle Brewington

Janna Alexander Corsini

James William Coyne

Kaleb Matthew Crow

Jacob Henry Evans

Jessica G. Ferguson

Michael T. Ferguson

Michael P. Fincher

David Bryan Ford

James Eric Garner

Lincoln Vincent Gimnich

Avery Alexander Green

Joshua Michael Hannon

Lance Anthony Hartman

Abigail Elizabeth Hill

Lily Ho

Cathryn Johns

Patrick Aaron Kells

Moriah Rose Kizer

Callan Amelia Lichtenwalter

Pooja Govind Lukhi

Alexander Pierce Mickel

Brittany Monique Miller

Patrick John Schierlang

SondraClaire Lorraine Sellers

Chance Logan Smith

Melody Jean Smith

Matthew Duane Snider

Sydney Spradlin

Reid David Sutherland

Chance McCabe Townsell

Jacob Marshall Trickey

Claire Victoria Valentine

Payton Elaine Wahrmund

Kyle Matthew Ward

Britney Dawn Wollmeringer

Jane Jiaen

Dennis N. Zimmerman

From Greenbrier:

Ashley Michelle Adlong

Candace Kay Bartrow

Hayley Ashcraft Booth

Kaitlyn Paige Brickey

Bryce Timothy Daniels

Jacob Andrew Fluech

Sam E. Harris

Carlee D. Hensley

Marley Michelle Hutchinson

William Lee Ratliff

Shelby E. White

From Mayflower:

Bradley Lewis Chambliss

Kaylie Lynne Phillips Tankersley

From Mt. Vernon:

Taylor Nicole McKinney

From Vilonia:

Henderson Keith Clement

Benjamin Michael Higgs

Nathan Robert Max

Shawn Nathan McKay