A 15-year veteran of helping Iowa farmers improve their cropping practices has joined Iowa State University’s agronomy faculty.

On Aug. 1, Mark Licht began his new role as an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy, focused on integrated cropping systems extension. His work will aim to improve crop productivity, profitability and the stewardship of natural resources.

“Sometimes to get the best fit for a position, you have to grow your own,” said John Lawrence, associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director for Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach. “Mark excelled as an extension field agronomist in west central and central Iowa before starting his doctorate program. He understands Iowa fields and has worked closely with Iowa farmers and their crop advisers.”

Licht worked in ISU Extension and Outreach programs for nearly 15 years, serving as an extension program specialist, an extension field agronomist and most recently as an extension cropping systems agronomist.

As a faculty member, Licht’s extension and research responsibilities will address current and emerging issues of agronomic production systems in Iowa, enhancing cropping system performance by promoting practices such as integrating diverse cropping systems and precision agricultural technologies. He also will teach agronomy classes.

Licht earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and agricultural extension education in 2000; a master’s degree in soil science in 2003; and a doctorate in crop production and physiology in 2015; all from Iowa State.