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Department of Agronomy

Michel D. Ransom

Dr. Michel D. Ransom

Professor | Interim Department Head

Soil Classification and Mineralogy
Email Dr. Ransom

Kansas State University
1022 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-6101
Ph: +1-785-532-7203
Fx: +1-785-532-6094

Biography & Education


Originally from a small farm in Arkansas, Dr. Mickey Ransom was fond of math and science courses as a student. It was his experiences throughout his education that would eventually lead him back to a career in education.

Dr. Ransom graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from the University of Arkansas in 1974. He continued his education when he completed a Masters of Agronomy in Soil Science from the University of Arkansas in 1976. Dr. Ransom began his professional experience in the USDA by conducting soil surveys in southern Arkansas. In 1984 Dr. Ransom completed his Ph.D. work in Soil Genesis, Classification and Mineralogy from Ohio State University. After gaining his PhD, Dr. Ransom joined the Agronomy faculty at K-State.

In his career at K-State Dr. Ransom has been involved in nearly every aspect of the college experience. In addition to teaching and serving as Assistant Department Head for Teaching, Dr. Ransom has also invested in students through experiential learning as the Soil Judging Team coach. The team has experienced success under his guidance. Dr. Ransom said it is an opportunity for students to travel and see soils and landscapes in different locations.

“I think it is fun for students and a good environment for them to learn in,” Dr. Ransom said. From the beginning Dr. Ransom did not envision his career path to end up where it has taken him. From his years as an educator, he offers this piece of advice: “Be open minded,” Dr. Ransom said. “Realize that college is an educational opportunity that certainly leads to a career path – but don’t become too narrowly focused on what you believe that path will be.”

Dr. Ransom is now full of purple pride. He is found sporting his loyalty at football and both men’s and women’s basketball games. He shares this passion with his wife, who is also an instructor of English at K-State. Dr. Ransom is also proud to be involved in the lives of their two children. During the summer and fall he spends some of his time enjoying a competitive game of softball through the Men’s and Co-Ed recreational league.

  • Ph.D. Soil Genesis and Mineralogy, The Ohio State University, 1984
  • M.S. Soil Classification, University of Arkansas, 1976
  • B.S. Agronomy (Soil Science), University of Arkansas, 1974


  • Presley, D.R., P.E. Hartley, and M.D. Ransom. 2010. Mineralogy and morphological properties of buried polygenetic paleosols formed in Late Quaternary sediments on upland landscapes of the Central Plains, USA. Geoderma 154:508-517.
  • E.T. Karlstrom, C.G. Oviatt, and M.D. Ransom. 2007. Paleoenvironmental interpretation of multiple soil-loess sequence at Milford Reservoir, northeastern Kansas. Catena 72:113-128.
  • Gunal, H., and M.D. Ransom. 2006. Clay illuviation and calcium carbonate accumulation along a precipitation gradient in Kansas. Catena 68:59-69.
  • Gunal, H., and M.D. Ransom. 2006. Genesis and micromorphology of loess-derived soils from central Kansas. Catena 65:222-236.


My research involves pedology and soil mineralogy. Pedology is the scientific study of soils as a natural body. It includes the study of soil genesis and classification, and applies this knowledge to making soil surveys that are used for land use management and soil conservation. I study soils from the microscopic to the landscape scale. Soil mineralogy studies the different kinds of minerals that make up soils. Soil minerals are important because they control most of the chemical reactions and nutrient exchanges that occur in soils. Soil minerals also exert great influence on soil physical properties, such as surface area.

Current Research Areas
  • Processes of soil genesis
  • Soil micromorphology
  • Soil characterization
  • Paleosols, and the use of paleosols to interpret the past climate record
  • Soil mineralogy and clay mineral weathering sequences
  • Use of satellite imagery and geographic information systems for soil surveys
  • Application of soil survey databases for making land use decisions and crop production modeling
Additional Links for Dr. Ransom's Research

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