At 3.8 million people, Maricopa County, Ariz. is the fourth largest county in the United States. Yet even with the high population, it is ranked 20th in the nation for agricultural production with over 627, 0000 acres in production on 2,110 farms.

Monica Pastor will take the reins as the new county extension director for the University of Arizona (UA) Cooperative Extension office in Maricopa County effective Sept. 24, 2007. She will provide leadership for UA faculty and staff who offer educational opportunities for people in this unique blend of urban and rural communities.

Pastor will also work with advisory boards and the county board of supervisors to assess evolving community needs. How cooperative extension’s mission, “bringing research-based information into communities to help people improve their lives” can be used to answer those needs will be a primary focus of Pastor’s work.

Since 1997 Pastor has been a University of Arizona faculty member in agriculture and natural resources with the agricultural literacy program. An Arizona native, she was born in Tucson and grew up in Tempe. Pastor and her family reside in Mesa.

Pastor has a bachelor of science in agricultural economics from UA and a master of science in education from Arizona State University.

She spent the first 18 years of her career with the Arizona Farm Bureau and the Maricopa County Farm Bureau.