Q&A with Mandy Bish

Bish is a Weed Science Extension Specialist and Integrated Pest Management Coordinator with the Agriculture and Environment Extension Program.

woman in a field wearing a black shirt and khaki shorts

What do you do in your current role with the University of Missouri?

Mandy in the greenhouse.
Mandy helps with research on pesticide volatility.

As an extension specialist, I assist with research and education efforts on weed management issues that affect Missouri row crop producers. In this role, no two days are the same. Monday may consist of filming an educational video on pesticide drift. Tuesday could be analyzing data. Wednesday might be spent drafting a grant proposal. Thursday I might be researching and writing out a script for the War Against the Weeds podcast I record with fellow Extension experts.

In my new role as the integrated pest management coordinator (IPM), I will promote collaborations, research and communication efforts that lead to effective and environmentally-sound pest management solutions. The IPM program is extensive and provides information for agriculture producers, horticulture, producers, the home gardener and more.

Each portion of my job builds on MU Extension’s effort of serving Missourians with up-to-date, unbiased information so they can in turn make informed decisions in their everyday lives.

How long have you worked in this position?

I have worked in extension for three years. I have been with the university since 2014. I am currently transitioning into the role of Integrated Pest Management Coordinator.

What is your favorite part about the work you do?

I enjoy the challenges of designing research to answer questions on weed management in Missouri’s row crops and delivering that information in a meaningful way to stakeholders.

Missouri State Extension Weed Scientist Dr. Kevin Bradley is recognized nationally among weed scientists for his ability to address real-world problems through his research and effectively communicate solutions. Working here has given me the opportunity to learn from him and grow as a weed scientist.

Mandy Bish and her oldest son.
Mandy and her oldest son love to visit her family’s farm in central Missouri

I look forward to building relationships with faculty and staff who study different areas of pest management in the role of IPM coordinator. This is something that our previous coordinator, Lee Miller, has been very good at and he has left big shoes to fill.

How are you helping MU A&E Extension reach our #2xAg2030 goal?

I work on issues related to improving weed control in Missouri row crops. Weeds significantly reduce crop yields as they compete with crops for nutrients. In addition, weeds are unfortunately becoming increasingly resistant to herbicides. Development of new weed management strategies is a must to help reach the #2xAg2030 goal.

What is something your CAFNR and MU Extension teammates may not know about you?

Growing up I always wanted to be an astronaut. My parents sent me to Space Camp in Cape Canaveral, Florida, when I was 9 years old. We were a family of seven living on a farm income in the 1980s. I’m still not sure how they found the money for camp!

Fast forward to adulthood. My dislike of physics and love of biology pulled me away from space and into plant biology. However, I never fell out of love with views of the Missouri evening sky. After living in the Washington, D.C., metro area for 12 years, I appreciate those nighttime views even more since returning to my home state of Missouri in 2013.

Agriculture and Environment Extension is a partnership between MU Extension and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.