Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
Cathy Roheim, Dept. Head (39A Iddings Wing, Ag. Sc. Bldg. 83844-2334; phone 208/885-6264). Faculty: Stephen Devadoss, Levan G. Elbakidze, John C. Foltz, C. Wilson Gray, Joseph F. Guenthner, Lorie L. Higgins, Aaron J. Johnson, Larry D. Makus, Christopher S. McIntosh, Kate Painter, Paul E. Patterson, Neil R. Rimbey, Abelardo Rodriguez, Priscilla Salant, R. Garth Taylor, Philip S. Watson, J. D. Wulfhorst.
Agricultural economics is an applied branch of economics. It is a social science that deals with economic problems in agriculture, the food industry, rural communities, and the use and conservation of our natural resources. Economic principles and theories are used to determine maximum economic efficiency in the production and marketing of agricultural commodities and in the use of natural resources.
The agricultural economics program prepares students to address problems faced by farmers and ranchers, agricultural marketing and supply companies, natural resource agencies, and rural communities. The department offers the degree of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics with majors in agribusiness and agricultural economics. Areas of study within the majors include agricultural finance, agricultural policy, marketing, farm and ranch management, rural community development, international trade and development, economic use of natural resources, and management of agribusiness firms. The department also offers two minors: agribusiness and natural resource economics.
The agribusiness major prepares students in the management functions of farms, ranches, and businesses involved with the production and marketing of farm commodities and farm production inputs. The agricultural economics major prepares students to become professional economists for commercial agricultural firms and governmental agencies or to pursue advanced degrees in this field before entering the profession. The agricultural economics major prepares students for graduate work while the agribusiness major does not.
Graduate training in applied economics encompasses agribusiness, natural resources, and rural development economics. Agricultural development and international trade are also emphasized.
Agribusiness includes the economics of production and distribution, agribusiness management, and agricultural policy. Natural resource economics involves the evaluation of alternative uses of such resources as land (including resources obtained from land), air, and water. Rural development is reflected in the applied economics of agribusiness and resource bases. All areas incorporate developing technology and systems in agribusiness and the global market.
Students initiating graduate work in applied economics should have a background in economics and quantitative methods. The following specific course areas are recommended: economic principles, six credits; intermediate microeconomics, three credits; statistics, three credits; mathematics, through introductory calculus; applied economics and/or agricultural economics, nine credits. Individual graduate programs are tailored to allow students to take courses and develop thesis proposals in line with their professional interests.
The department welcomes inquiries about its program and suggests that anyone interested in possible pursuit of a degree in agricultural economics should contact the department (telephone 208/885-6264) or visit the website at www.cals.uidaho.edu/aers/.
See course description section for courses in Agricultural Economics (AgEc).