Agricultural educator Amanda Crump has been named the new director of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center, bringing a lifelong interest in extension education to the job.
“I grew up on a dairy and forage farm in southeastern Idaho, and my dad always had University of Idaho researchers and extension agents on the farm,” Crump said. “I really wanted to become an extension educator because of my dad. We farmed at 6,000 feet elevation, which is very challenging and the margins were low, so he was always looking for ways to farm better.”
As director of the Western IPM Center, Crump will lead the Center’s efforts to protect human health and the environment by promoting the development, adoption and evaluation of integrated pest management in 13 Western states and the Pacific Island Territories. She leaves the Horticulture Innovation Lab, a federally funded program located at the University of California, Davis, where she was associate director.
“I look forward to joining the Western IPM Center because I feel that the work the Center does to support integrated pest management research and advocate for IPM policies is important not just for growers, but also for the communities and natural areas of the West,” said Crump, who begins her new job on May 2. “I’m really interested in the question of how to best disseminate IPM information and get growers and others to adopt IPM practices.”
Jim Farrar, the former Western IPM Center director who left the position to become the head of the University of California Statewide IPM Program, said Crump’s background made her a perfect fit for the job.
“At the Horticulture Innovation Lab, Amanda had a lot of experience with a similar program, although its focus was international and the Center’s is regional,” he said. “She has good skills in interacting with stakeholders and collaborators, and brings experience in evaluation and change theory that will really benefit the Center.”
The Western IPM Center is one of four regional centers funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to promote integrated pest management to reduce the health and environmental risks of both pests and pest management practices. The Center makes grants to IPM researchers and extension specialists to develop new IPM techniques and promote their adoption.
IPM is a science-based approach to pest management that encourages a multi-faceted approach to controlling pests. In integrated pest management, growers use techniques like crop rotations, plant-variety selection, natural enemies and biological controls and selective pesticides to keep pest populations at levels that don’t cause economic harm.
Crump was a state FFA officer in college and graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in agricultural education. She received a master’s degree in plant pathology and weed science from Colorado State University and was an environmental horticulture farm advisor in California’s Fresno County before coming to the Horticulture Innovation Lab in 2009. That program builds international partnerships for fruit and vegetable research that improves livelihoods in developing countries.
Crump is now working to finish a doctorate in agricultural education at UC Davis.
“I’m still fascinated with understanding how people learn, especially how they learn new ideas or techniques in agriculture,” she said. “I think it’s an important aspect of this job.”