Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Cathy Roheim, Dept. Head (39A Iddings Wing, Ag. Sc. Bldg. 83844-2334; phone 208/885-6264). Faculty: Stephen Devadoss, Ben Eborn, John C. Foltz, Lorie L. Higgins, Aaron J. Johnson, Katie Lee, Paul Lewin, Larry D. Makus, Christopher S. McIntosh,  Neil R. Rimbey, Norman Ruhoff,  R. Garth Taylor, Hernan Tejeda,  Ekaterina Vorotnikova, Philip S. Watson, Jason Winfree, 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 Bachelor of Science program in Agricultural Economics 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 B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics with two emphasis areas:  Agribusiness and Applied Economics. Areas of study within the emphases 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 emphasis 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 Applied Economics emphasis 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 M.S. in Applied Economics encompasses agribusiness, natural resources, and rural development economics. Agricultural development and international trade are also emphasized.

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


See course description section for courses in Agricultural Economics (AGEC).