Texas Cooperative Extension recently welcomed a new entomologist to its staff at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Lubbock.

Dr. David Kerns began work March 1 as an Extension cotton entomologist and assistant professor of entomology. He will cover a 41-county area that encompasses more than 3.5 million acres of cotton on the Texas High Plains.

As an Extension entomologist, Kerns will plan and carry out applied research and educational programs using integrated pest management to address cotton pest problems on the High Plains. He will also provide technical pest management support for growers, Extension agents and specialists, and industry.

"I'm extremely excited about being back in Texas," Kerns said. "I look forward to addressing cotton growers' insect pest management needs on the High Plains."

A native of Plainview, Kerns holds three entomology degrees. He earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in 1985, a master's degree from Oklahoma State University in 1987 and a doctorate from Auburn University in 1992.

Before joining Extension, he was an integrated pest management specialist for citrus and vegetables at the University of Arizona for 13 years. He also has experience dealing with cotton pests in Mississippi and the Brazos River bottom in Texas, and with rice pests along the Texas Coastal Bend.

Kerns and his wife, Kelli, have three sons - Cody, Dawson and Jimmy. They reside in Wolfforth.