LITTLE ROCK – 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 University of Arkansas at 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 in a news release. “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.

“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.”

Thrash begins his new job Aug. 1.

“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.”

For more information on insect management, visit

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. Participants who need a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, should contact their county extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay, according to the release.

— Sarah Cato is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture.