Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has named Steven C. Blank of Davis, Calif., the new head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

“We are elated to have Steven leading the department,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “His experience will be invaluable as the department continues to develop and meet the agriculture and applied economic teaching, research and Extension needs of students, the industry, and our communities.”

Blank brings more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Extension and agricultural economics to Virginia Tech.

“I am delighted to have the chance to join the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech.  The department has a long history of both service to agriculture in Virginia and the country, and excellent scholarship as teachers and researchers,” Blank said.  “I look forward to being part of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ outstanding commitment to maintaining that record of service to the state and the nation. My goal for the department is to create and present the most modern and forward-looking program on agricultural, environmental, and applied economics in the country.”

Since 1990, Blank was an Extension economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis, where he led a state-wide education and applied research program in financial and risk management. He also developed a Cooperative Extension program throughout California. Blank taught classes as well as conducted research involving risk analysis, financial management, future and options markets, agriculture profitability, and business management. He was a visiting associate professor at UC, Davis from 1988 to 1990. 

From 1996 to 2002, he was the assistant vice provost for academic personnel at the university and handled all aspects of academic recruitment and advancement; was an advisor for the vice provost; analyzed administrative policies and drafted new ones; developed and conducted special research projects, conferences and workshops involving personnel and planning issues; and executed special projects including personnel restructuring and faculty enhancement.

Prior to his work in California, Blank was an Extension economist at the associate professor level in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Arizona; associate professor in the Economics Department at South Dakota State University; a section head at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in Canberra, Australia; and an assistant professor in the Agricultural Management Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Blank received his Ph.D. and master of science in agricultural economics from the University of Hawaii, his M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, and his bachelor of arts in business administration from California State University, Stanislaus.

Blank has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Western Agricultural Economics Association. He authored more than 300 publications, including four books. His most recent is titled, “The Economics of American Agriculture: Evolution and Global Development.”




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