David D. Baltensperger has been named department head for soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M University.

Baltensperger previously was a professor and researcher at the University of Nebraska specializing in dryland crop breeding and supervised the High Plains Ag Lab for the past 15 years. He also provided Extension education in crop research. Baltensperger will begin his duties at Texas A&M Oct. 1.

“We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Baltensperger join our team,” said Elsa Murano, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M. “His extensive experience in research, extension, teaching and public service will allow for a smooth transition as the new leader for soil and crop sciences, helping us continue our trademark of cutting-edge research and teaching excellence.”

Baltensperger earned his doctorate in agronomy from New Mexico State University, a master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to take on the leadership of one of the great soil and crop science departments in the world,” Baltensperger said. “I look forward to working with the clientele of the state, the outstanding students, faculty, staff and administrators of Texas A&M to improve the potential for Texas agriculture, and its contribution to the economy and environment.”

A national search was conducted to fill the head position after Mark Hussey was appointed associate director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. Hussey formerly split duties as department head and associate director.

C. Wayne Smith served as the department’s interim head. Smith is a professor of plant breeding, specializing in cotton genetic improvement, and serves as teacher and graduate advisor.