Following an extensive national search, long-standing OSU graduate, faculty member and professor of 28 years, Dr. Tom Chastain, has been named the new Department Head for Crop and Soil Science.

Dr. Chastain earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences from California State University, Chico, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Crop Science at OSU. He served as Assistant Professor of Seed Physiology for two years at Washington State University, for three years as Assistant Professor at OSU’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center in Pendleton, and for 28 years as Professor of Seed Crop Physiology and Ecology at OSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Science in Corvallis. During his time at the Corvallis campus, he has served in several leadership roles including Associate Department Head for three years, and for nine months as Interim Department Head

“It is exciting to name such a well-respected strong leader with deep ties to Beaver Nation as the head of our incredibly diverse and broad-reaching Crop and Soil Science Department,” said Dean Alan Sams. “Dr. Chastain truly embodies our land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach and is admired by students, peers, and industry.”

Dr. Chastain is a four-time winner of the Outstanding Teacher award in the Department of Crop and Soil Science and has been recognized with numerous other awards for his teaching. He conducts research on physiology, ecology, and management of seed crops with a focus on the development of science-based management practices for seed crops and on increasing our understanding of the underlying biological processes limiting greater economic and environmental efficiency of seed production. The author or coauthor of nearly 250 scientific and extension publications, he has been a frequent guest speaker at extension and grower meetings, as well as field days.

In addition, he has served in elected office in professional societies and organizations, and on the editorial boards of two journals including a five-year stint as associate editor of Agronomy Journal.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a department with such a deep bench of talented, innovative researchers and teachers,” Chastain said. “We are becoming an emergent player in the field of soil health and the interdisciplinary work being done in this department with a host of new technologies is providing a deeper understanding of crop productivity and conservation that connects the entire supply chain – from farmer to consumer.”

Dr. Chastain succeeds Jay Noller, who previously held the position of Department Head prior to being appointed the Director of OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. Chastain will transition from his interim role to permanent department head effective May 1, 2020.