Tim Kring, a faculty member at the University of Arkansas, has been named head of the Department of Entomology in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Kring spent the last 31 years working on biological control of insect pests and weeds using their natural enemies. He received his bachelor’s in biology from Quinnipiac University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in entomology from Texas A&M University.
As a devotee of integrated pest management techniques, Kring hopes to continue the widely reputed work that Lok Kok, former department head and professor emeritus of entomology, started decades ago using biological control agents in the state of Virginia.
He also wants to invigorate the department with new talent.
“One of my goals as a new department head is to grow our faculty members,” he said. “We have a great reputation for enjoying a convivial and collegial work environment here, so I am looking forward to having the opportunity energize our roster with new faculty in the near future.”
Kring is a member of the Entomological Society of America as well as societies in the states of Kansas, Florida, Georgia, and served as the president of the Arkansas Entomological Society in 1992, as well as the International Organization for Biological Control Nearctic Regional Section from 1997-1999.
He is the recipient of the 2009 ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management, Southeastern Branch, and the Distinguished Scientist Award, International Organization for Biological Control, NRS.
At the University of Arkansas Kring worked in close collaboration with Extension concentrating on biological control of spotted knapweed using two weevils, the knapweed flower weevil and root weevil. He hopes to continue fostering the tradition of sharing science-based research at Virginia Tech by bringing fieldwork from the Agricultural Research and Extension Centers and foundational research on campus closer together.
Integrated pest management is closely associated with sustainable agriculture methodologies and Kring wants to play a key role in translating those two concepts.
“I see one my goals for sustainable agriculture is to try and get the economics of production more closely tied to management of natural resources,” he said.
He also anticipates taking graduate students who are mostly study both applied and basic science on trips to see producers.
“I would like to give students who do foundational research who may not be working with producers directly the opportunity to see how farmers face challenges of production,” said Kring. “Taking students out for a week at a time to the field not only gives students a different perspective but also creates a sense of camaraderie among them, and gives them the confidence to think for themselves and have their own opinions. That’s the ‘innovation’ part of Virginia Tech.”