Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

September 25, 2007

Nationís Agriculture Leaders Honor Robert Mungari

Dedicated Department Employee Recognized Nationally for Service to Industry

New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketsí Director of Plant Industry Robert Mungari was honored last week by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) for his outstanding service to agriculture.

Mungari, nominated by his peers at the Eastern Plant Board, was presented with NASDAís James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture during the organizationís annual meeting in Seattle, Washington. NASDA is a nonpartisan association comprised of the top agriculture officials of the 50 states.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, "Over the course of 30 years, Bob Mungari has demonstrated tremendous leadership, become a catalyst for change, and set a standard for interagency cooperation at all levels. His efforts to eradicate the Asian Longhorned Beetle and detect the Sirex woodwasp, highlights his modern day approach to pest regulation, maximizing efficiencies while minimizing expenditures. I thank Bob for his dedicated efforts to safeguard our industry and congratulate him on this greatly deserved award."

Mungari started at the Department in 1978 as a Horticulture Inspector. Since that time, he has also served as an Agricultural Entomologist, Assistant Director, Acting Director and now Director, all within the Departmentís Division of Plant Industry, which works to maintain plant health, promote integrated pest management practices, and preventing the spread of bee diseases. During that time, Mungari has strived to balance regulation with risk mitigation.

New York is a major point of entry for passengers and cargo entering the United States, and therefore the potential for invasive species introduction and establishment is high. Mungari is known as a nationwide leader in the detection, control and eradication of invasive species. In fact, he played a critical role in developing a comprehensive plan of outreach and survey for Sirex noctilio that was discovered in 2005, along with the eradication efforts in Brooklyn and Amityville for the Asian Longhorned Beetle that was first discovered in 1996.

Among many other professional accomplishments, Mungari was effective in bringing the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Program to the Department, adopting the programís early pest detection philosophy and targeted inspections. In doing so, he was also able to secure $400,000 in state funding for CAPS pest detection activities, which has helped in the detection of Southern Bacterial Wilt and the European Crane Fly in 2003, the Swede Midge in 2004, the European Woodwasp in 2005 and Plum Pox Virus in 2006.

Mungari received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He is an active member of the New York State Invasive Species Task Force, the Eastern Region CAPS Committee, the National Plant Board, as well as a Past President of the Eastern Plant Board.

Mungari resides in Guilderland with his wife, Karen.

2007 Press Releases