Rex Friesen was born in Bakersfield, California, and grew up in Shafter, a small farm town in the San Joaquin Valley. He graduated from California State University at Fresno in 1983 with a BA in biology and from the University of California at Riverside in 1991 with a PhD in population biology. His dissertation research was on the integration of agronomic and pest management practices to reduce pest impact in cotton. Friesen worked as a postdoctorate foreign exploration research entomologist for the USDA Department of Forestry from 1991 to 1995 and was assigned to the problem of biological control of a major weed species in Hawaii. From 1995 to 2000, he worked for the Texas A&M Extension Service as an integrated pest management agent in Fort Stockton and the surrounding area, primarily assisting growers in pest management in cotton and alfalfa. In 2000, he moved to Oxford, Kansas, to supervise the Southern Kansas Cotton Growers (SKCG) Cooperative field scouting program, which he did for several years. He continues to serve as the SKCG crop consultant and public relations representative, providing information for growers on “most things cotton,” including production, harvest, ginning, and other pertinent topics.