Deacue Fields, an agricultural economist who joined the Auburn University faculty in 2002, was named chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology effective August 16.
Fields, who came to Auburn as an Extension economist and assistant professor, 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, his master’s from the University of Missouri in 1995 and then worked for almost 3 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 consumers’ food preferences and on the economic impact of Alabama’s horticulture industry, and, earlier this year, he completed a comprehensive analysis showing 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 he was instrumental in establishing for undergraduates majoring in agricultural economics, and, in his Extension role, he coordinates the Alabama Farm Economics and Agribusiness Management Team and works directly with the Commercial Horticulture Team.
Fields said, as department chair, his priorities will be to encourage multidisciplinary collaborations, to develop a plan to justify refilling faculty positions vacant due to retirements, and to develop an identity for the department that will attract students to the program and fortify relationships with departmental alumni.
A lifelong passion for agriculture and rural America led Fields to apply 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 explained. "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.
Fields and wife Dana are the parents of Caleb, 11; Cade, 9; and Collin, 6.
Jamie Creamer is a communications specialist at Auburn University.