The Department of Entomology will be saying goodbye to a longtime leader in boll weevil eradication as Dr. Charles Allen will retire on January 31 after 38 years with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Allen’s career started with working in 1981 as an Area Extension Specialist in Weslaco for two years. He then moved to Fort Stockton in 1983 where he worked as an Extension Specialist for 13 years. In 1996, he was an Extension Entomologist at the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in Monticello, Ark.
Allen then moved to Abilene in 2000 where he served as the Program Director for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation and as Professor and Extension Specialist and became the statewide IPM Coordinator and Associate Department Head in San Angelo in 2009.
In his managerial roles, Allen led boll weevil and pink bollworm eradication programs in Texas and Eastern New Mexico. During his 9-year tenure as Program Director, he had supervisory oversight of 1,500-2,500 employees in programs funded by state & federal appropriations, and local assessments totaling over $803 million. In his Extension career he secured and managed grants totaling $3.1 million and managed units in Extension Entomology with cumulative operating budgets of $16.5 million from 2009-2018.
The cumulative net economic impact of the cooperative boll weevil eradication program in Texas since 1996 was $3.3 billion by 2016. In 2018, pink bollworm was declared eradicated from U.S. cotton. However, no crop damage or control costs have been incurred by cotton producers in over 13 years. Cumulatively, over $400 million in net benefits have been realized by cotton growers in the southwestern United States from pink bollworm eradication.
Allen also has made other contributions to state and national IPM efforts and insecticide resistance management efforts involving several pests. He has been consistent advocate and teacher of integrated pest management for Texas and national stakeholders.
Allen authored or co-authored 19 refereed publications, 4 book chapters, 43 extension publications, 117 proceedings articles and 3 white papers. He has given 140 invited and 99 submitted professional presentations and hundreds of presentations supporting county programs. He served on and led regional and national committees associated with professional societies, commodity-associated groups, IPM-related groups and federal agencies, most recently, US EPA.
Allen has received numerous awards during his career which included the Friends of IPM – Pulling Together Award for the Sugarcane Aphid Team in 2016, the West Texas Ag Institute’s Innovator award in 2017, and the Plains Cotton Grower’s Service to Cotton award in 2017. In 2018, he received the Superior Service Award for Distinguished Career.
“It’s been a real privilege to work with you all,” Allen said.
“Few entomologists will achieve the kind of professional impact made by Charles Allen during his career. Not only was he one of the most important Texas players in pest management during his time, he also steered our Texas A&M entomology Extension unit through some of its leanest budget years ever,” Professor and Extension Entomologist Mike Merchant said. “I believe I speak for everyone in our Extension unit when I say that we have been very blessed to have had Charles as our leader over the past decade. He will be greatly missed.”