AUBURN, Ala.—Deacue Fields, an agricultural economist who has served on the Auburn University faculty for 11 years, has been named to a three-year term as chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, effective Aug. 16.
Fields was hired at Auburn as an Extension economist and assistant professor in 2002, was promoted to associate professor in 2007 and recently attained professor status. A Louisiana native, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1993 and his master’s from the University of Missouri in 1995 and then worked for almost three years at Florida A&M University as an assistant professor and director of A&M’s small-farm outreach program. He returned to his home state in 1998 to complete his Ph.D. in ag economics at Louisiana State University.
At Auburn, Fields’ research has focused on consumer food preferences and on the economic impact of Alabama’s horticulture industry, and earlier this year, he completed a comprehensive analysis that showed agriculture and forestry dominate the state’s economy.
His classroom responsibilities include teaching senior- and graduate-level courses in agribusiness management and coordinating an internship program, which he was instrumental in establishing, for undergraduates majoring in agricultural economics. In his Extension role, he coordinates the Alabama farm economics and agribusiness management team and works directly with the commercial horticulture team.
Fields said that, as department chair, his priorities will be to encourage multidisciplinary collaborations, to develop a plan to justify refilling faculty positions left vacant due to retirements, to build an identity for the department that will attract students to the program and to fortify relationships with departmental alumni.
His lifelong passion for agriculture and rural America was one reason Fields applied for the department chair position.
“My parents and their ancestors were all involved in some aspect of agriculture, and I was reared on a farm in a rural community where I was involved in and surrounded by agriculture,” Fields said. “My interest has always been to learn and share educational information to support agriculture and rural life. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead our faculty as we work to strengthen production agriculture and rural Alabama.”
He succeeds ag economics professor Curtis Jolly, who has served as department chair since 2005 and will return to his faculty position in the department in August. Department chairs can serve up to three three-year terms.
Fields and wife Dana are the parents of Caleb, 11; Cade, 9; and Collin, 6.