University of Idaho's College of Agriculture has hired Idaho Falls, ID, native Bryan Hopkins as the extension's first potato-cropping systems agronomist.
His responsibilities in the newly refocused position include developing educational programs in potato-cropping systems management for southeastern Idaho, leading such programs statewide, and conducting applied research to complement his extension efforts.
"We are moving toward a more integrated systems approach in potato production," Jeff Stark, UI plant science division chair, said. "Potatoes are grown in isolation. Management practices used in rotation crops can have substantial effects on soil physical conditions, pest populations and nutrient cycling, which in turn affect potato-management decisions.
"To maximize profitability, we need to develop a better understanding of how to maximize the efficiency of the entire cropping system."
Hopkins earned an associate degree in horticulture from Ricks College and his bachelor's and master's degrees in agronomy from Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. in agronomy at Kansas State University in 1995.
He has worked in consultant/educator positions for two private firms in the last six years.