* Purdue Department of Agronomy

June 29, 2009

Ohm appointed interim head of Department of Agronomy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Herbert Ohm, a Purdue distinguished professor of agronomy, has been appointed interim head of the university's Department of Agronomy.

Ohm succeeds Craig Beyrouty, who becomes dean of the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences in July.

"Dr. Ohm is a person who values and respects all mission areas of the agronomy department," said Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "He is a world-renowned expert in plant breeding and genetics, and is respected across the College and campus. I know he will help continue the positive momentum of the department until we can hire a permanent head."

Ohm has been a Purdue faculty member since 1972. His research into wheat diseases has been instrumental in identifying and developing resistance traits to Fusarium head blight and barley yellow dwarf virus.

Ohm will lead a department of about 50 faculty, 170 undergraduate students and 70 graduate students. The agronomy department celebrated its centennial in 2007 and opened the Beck Agricultural Center at the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education that same year. The department also boasts the largest collection of soil monoliths in the United States.

"The Purdue University Department of Agronomy is one of the leading departments in the country in crop, soil and environmental sciences research, education and Extension," Ohm said. "The department is of great importance to the state of Indiana and beyond. The faculty and staff are excellent and very dedicated. It is a privilege for me to play a role in the continuing development of this very dynamic and important department."

Ohm grew up on a crop and livestock farm near Albert Lea, Minn., where he was active in 4-H and FFA. He earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota in 1967, a master's degree in plant breeding from North Dakota State University in 1969 and a doctoral degree in plant genetics and breeding from Purdue in 1971.

At Purdue, Ohm teaches courses in plant genetics and plant breeding. He has authored or been a contributing writer on more than 155 refereed publications.

His wheat disease resistance research has taken Ohm as far away as Australia. Ohm also is team leader for Purdue's Interdisciplinary Wheat and Oat Genetics and Breeding Program.

Ohm has received numerous honors, including the Purdue Agronomy Outstanding Graduate Educator Award, the Agronomic Achievement Award-Crops from the American Society of Agronomy, the Crops and Soils Merit Award from the Indiana Crop Improvement Association, Purdue's School of Agriculture Team Award, and the Meritorious Service Award from the Organization of African Unity.

For more information about Ohm, visit his departmental Web page at

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415,

Sources: Herbert Ohm, 765-494-8072,

Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer,
Agriculture News Page

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