Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has announced the hiring of Clark Neely as the new state small grains and oilseeds specialist, according to Dr. Travis Miller.

“This position is vital to our vast small grains industry, as it transfers and demonstrates emerging technologies on Texas farms and ranches,” said Miller, AgriLife Extension program leader and associate department head for soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Neely, who will begin the position in April after completing his doctoral work at Texas A&M, will also be an assistant professor in the department of soil and crop sciences, Miller said. He will fill the position formerly held by Dr. Rob Duncan.

“Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides a powerful leadership role in educating Texas farmers and is an organization I will be proud to represent,” Neely said. “The state has many traditions and values that should be considered when developing innovative farming methods that improve food security and environmental integrity.”

Neely said he will use his diverse agricultural background to bring a unique perspective to the job and to connect producers with applied research that is directly related to their production systems.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural Extension and education from The Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in plant science from the University of Idaho. Most recently, he has worked as a graduate research assistant within the Texas A&M University System.

His research projects have focused on legume-based cropping systems for sustainable agriculture production in East Texas, with a goal to maintain yields while enhancing soil organic matter and limiting nitrogen fertilizer rates, essential for economic and environmental viability.

“With increasing concerns of water shortages, soil health and production costs, diversity is an essential component of any sustainable cropping system, including small grains,” Neely said. “Oilseeds can be an attractive rotation crop for small grains producers because of similarities in equipment and cultural practices.”