Where We Started

The University of Arizona Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics was established over 80 years ago with only two faculty members. In the early days of the department, research and extension activities focused primarily on Arizona agriculture. Within the first two decades, however, the department began to increase its regional, national, and international presence through a variety of research projects, including one longstanding project in Brazil. By the early 1970s, the department had doubled in size and water issues had become a focal point of agricultural and resource economics research. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the department continued to grow and focus on the research it had gained recognition for in earlier years. The advent of the 1990s and 2000s brought about significant changes with declining resources from the state appropriations, resulting in a decline in international research and the overall size of the department.

Where We Are Today

Today, our department is home to 13 teaching and research faculty (three of whom who hold extension/research appointments), two extension economic impacts analysts, and several support staff skilled in student advising, technical editing and graphic design, and administration and financial services. Four newer faculty members are now reinvigorating research and teaching to the Department:

Awards & Recognition

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics continues to be recognized for high quality faculty, policy-relevant research, and impressive undergraduate and graduate programs.

  • Award Winning Faculty and Staff. Four emeritus faculty—Maurice Kelso, Jimmye Hillman, William Martin, and Bruce Beattie—and two former faculty members—Jeffrey LaFrance and Robert Innes— were honored as Fellows of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) in recognition of their lifetime of achievement in the field.  Professor Bonnie Colby has been recognized for her innovative research on water issues with the Warren Hall Medal awarded by the University Council on Water Resources. Professor Anna Josephson was awarded the Uma Lele Prize for her work on gender and international development. Professor Jeffrey Michler received the award for best article published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics in 2019. Danielle Buhrow has won the University of Arizona Excellence in Academic Advising Award for 2019-20 and Trent Teegerstrom won Administrator of the Year, 2019-20, for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension. Three faculty—Roger Fox (emeritus), Eric Monke (deceased), and Gary Thompson—were granted Fulbright Distinguished Research/Lecturer Awards.
  • Excellent Undergraduate Programs. The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economic's two undergraduate programs (Agribusiness Economics and Management and Environmental and Water Resource Economics) have been identified to be among the best undergraduate programs in the country owing to the faculty’s commitment to investing in the classes, continually updating material, and teaching their students skills for the job market.
  • Highly ranked M.S. Program. In its 2020 rankings of master's programs in Economics, The Financial Engineer ranks the department's master's program as 11th in the nation among private and public institutions, and 7th among only public institutions.

About Us

Our department is nationally recognized for its teaching, research, and extension activities, and we're committed to the land-grant heritage and tradition of discovery, education, and service. We offer undergraduate degrees in agricultural economics and management, and environmental and water resource economics, preparing students to assume responsible positions in the management of the world’s natural and human resources. At the graduate level, the we offer an M.S. in Agricultural & Resource Economics, with specializations in applied econometrics, and environmental and natural resource economics. Faculty welcome graduate students as essential to the maintenance of an invigorating intellectual climate and a successful research program. In addition to teaching, faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics conduct applied research in four broad areas:

  • Agricultural Economics — Agricultural production, agricultural markets and risk management, agribusiness organization and management, and agricultural biotechnology
  • Agricultural Economics Policy — Crop insurance, farm income support, disaster aid, nutrition, conservation, energy, international trade, risk management policies, federal programs, state and local economic performance
  • Natural Resource and Environmental Economics — Natural resource economics, land economics and law, water resource economics, environmental economics and law, environmental policy, and non-market valuation
  • Development Economics — International development economics, and regional and community development economics
  • Applied Econometrics — Applications of econometrics

Finally, our department is committed to the outreach component of a land grant university, providing workshops, conferences, trainings, and releasing publications, tools, and resources for communities across the state.

  • Cooperative Extension — Arizona crop and livestock budgets, environmental and natural resource policy, marketing and management, regional and community development economics, and risk management