Ag Proud – Idaho would like you to meet:

Jessica Windh
Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist – Rangeland and Natural Resource Economics
University of Idaho
Twin Falls, Idaho
Email Jessica Windh

What education are you bringing with you to this position?

I have a bachelor's of science in rangeland ecology and watershed management and an master's of science in agricultural economics from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Please describe your agricultural background

I grew up in the Central Valley of California, the “fruit basket of the world,” before moving to Wyoming in my early 20s where I learned everything I know about rangelands. Nebraska, with its tallgrass prairie and Sandhills, was very different from its Wyoming neighbor, but it still has a huge cattle industry. Of course, I was also exposed to the corn and soybean industries while there and did some work with cover crop systems.

What are your new responsibilities?

My appointment is 65% extension and 30% research, so I will be working with Idaho extension educators, land managers and producers to address issues associated with rangelands, natural resources and livestock/grazing systems.

What previous positions have you held?

I have worked for a University of California Agricultural Experiment Station, served as a research assistant with the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Services, and spent seven years as project manager for the Sustainable Rangelands Roundtable. I also worked several years as an EMT on an ambulance.


Who has made the biggest impact on your career?

I have had some pretty fantastic mentors throughout my education, but I think the biggest impact was made by Dr. Derek Scasta, the University of Wyoming rangeland extension specialist. He was the one who introduced me to both research and extension and showed me how to ask the questions the folks on the ground need the answers to.

How will you be of most help to producers in Idaho?

I am coming into this position without a research agenda; I want to hear from Idaho producers about their needs and build my research program around that. I think my willingness to first listen and then deliver economic answers to their questions will be how I can help Idaho producers.

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?

My biggest goal is to develop myself as a trustworthy resource for Idaho land managers. Beyond that, I also hope to be instrumental in expanding the scientific community’s understanding of economics in rangeland management.