The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome John David Gonzales and Dr. David Drake as the newest members of the growing statewide integrated pest management group.
Gonzales and Drake started their Extension Agent-IPM positions on February 1, with Gonzales serving the Muleshoe area and Drake serving the Commerce area. Gonzales replaced Erin Jones while Drake replaced Dr. Jim Swart after he retired in December 2014.
Before joining the Commerce position, Drake worked as an Extension Agronomist for 8 years at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo and as an Extension Assistant Professor, Diversified Crops Specialist, and Sevier County Director with the Utah State University Extension in Richfield, Utah from 2005-2009.
Drake also worked as a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University and as a specialist for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Utah at the Forage and Range Research Lab in Logan.
Drake received his Bachelor of Science in Plant Science from Utah State University and his Master of Science and Ph.D. in Agronomy-Plant Breeding and Genetics from Purdue University.
“David is a hard worker with an excellent knowledge of wheat, cotton, alfalfa and a number of other crops,” Professor and Associate Department Head and Extension Entomologist Dr. Charles Allen said. “He has a very strong background in agriculture, is very well trained, and is great to work with.”
Gonzales worked as a research associate with the LSU AgCenter on projects managing insect pests of cotton and grain sorghum and was responsible for plot maintenance. His earlier work experience included working as an AgriLife Research assistant working on beneficial fungal endophytes in cotton with Dr. Greg Sword, as a sales intern with Mycogen Seed Company, and as a summer bug scout with the IPM Program.
Gonzales received his associate degree in math and science from the New Mexico Military Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural leadership and development from Texas A&M University. He is currently completing a master’s degree in entomology from Louisiana State University.
“John David was raised in the Castro County area, so he is very familiar with the region,” Allen said. “He has worked in the area of integrated pest management on cotton and other crops in the region. He has also worked for AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and for the LSU AgCenter in Louisiana. In addition, he has spent time working in other facets of the agricultural industry. So he has a well-rounded background I feel will be of great help to the region’s producers starting this spring.”