Rick Cruse

Rick Cruse is a professor in the Department of Agronomy and director of the Iowa Water Center.  As director, Rick addresses administrative needs of the Center and is responsible for successful Center operations; he has been Director of the Iowa Water Center since 2006.  He served as president of the National Institutes for Water Resources from 2015 – 2016, the professional organization representing the 54 Water Resources Research Institutes across the US and US territories.  Rick co-leads the Daily Erosion Project with his primary research focus of soil erosion and water runoff.  His passion is the out-of-doors and thrives on getting his five grand daughters involved with hunting and fishing.

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Daryl Herzmann

Daryl Herzmann is a Systems Analyst within the Department of Agronomy.  His responsibilities include the development of the Iowa Environmental Mesonet(https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu) website, which is a data warehouse of Iowa and beyond environmental information supporting numerous research activities within the Iowa Water Center and beyond.  Daryl got his start on the project after graduating with a Meteorology BS degree back in 2001.  He has expertise in dealing with disparate real-time flows of data and providing web scale services and products.  He lives in Ankeny and enjoys the wide variety of weather Iowa’s strong seasonality provides.

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Tom Fenton

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.

Mahdi Al-Kaisi

Mahdi M. Al-Kaisi is a professor of soil physics (soil management/environment), Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. He received his MS and PhD in soil Physics from North Dakota State University. Professor Al-Kaisi has been on the faculty at Iowa State University since 2000, where his research focuses on the effects of cropping and tillage systems, crop residue management, cover crops, and nitrogen application on soil carbon dynamics and sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, and other ecosystem services. In addition, he studies the interaction effects of agricultural practices and environmental factors such as, weather variability and landscape spatial variability on soil organic carbon sequestration and systems sustainability and productivity. The focus of his research is to develop sustainable management practices that improve soil health, productivity, and environmental services. As a result of his research, he has developed field calculators to assess soil management practices impacts, such as, tillage systems, crop residue, and crop rotation effects on soil sustainability. Also, he developed soil carbon index for soils in Iowa. Dr. Al-Kaisi is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of American, and Soil and Water Conservation Society.

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