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Tom Fenton

Tom Fenton
POSITION/TITLE: Professor Emeritus
ORGANIZATION: Iowa State University
PHONE: 515-357-4367
Topic Area(s):Geology

Thomas Fenton is a Professor Emeritus in Agronomy. He has a BS and MS in Soil Science from the University of Illinois and a PhD from Iowa State University. In the Agronomy Department he was a major professor for 45 graduate students in Soil Morphology and Genesis. He was the Experiment Station Leader in the NCSS (National Cooperative Soil Survey Program) from 1970 to 2004. A state-wide system of soil productivity (Corn Suitability Ratings) was developed by him. It is used by county assessors, Department of Revenue, relators, farmers, bankers, farm managers and others interested in valuation of agriculture land. The first projects in Iowa to computerize soil maps and data were led by Fenton. Presently, he does consulting work in soils and geology and until COVID-19 volunteered at the local food pantry and meal program (Food At First) for 30-35 hours per week. In the early 1960’s Tom was a member of a soil landscape research team led by Dr. Robert Ruhe. Their research area was in northeast Iowa. By extensive mapping, soil coring, and subsurface drilling they were able to prove the Iowan drift did not exist but rather the landscape was formed by multicycles of erosion into other older glacial deposits.