AGNelson2014Gene Nelson
Dr. A. Gene Nelson has been an agricultural economist for 45 years and is currently Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. He is former department head at Texas A&M University and Oregon State University. His professional interests have spanned farm and agribusiness management, risk analysis in decision making, agricultural finance, higher education leadership, and more recently personal finance and financial planning.

Dr. Nelson received a B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Western Illinois University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University. In 1969, he joined the faculty at Oregon State University as Assistant Professor and Extension Farm Management Specialist. He undertook a national project in partnership with colleagues at Oklahoma State University to develop educational materials to teach the concepts for managing the increased risk facing agricultural producers, which was recognized with the USDA Superior Service Award in 1979. He wrote widely co-authoring a textbook on farm business management and three books on understanding financial statements. In 1981, he was named Head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, leading that department for nine years.

In 1990, Dr. Nelson joined the faculty of Texas A&M University as Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. He led the department through 15 years hiring many faculty members, originating joint programs with the Business School, and generally bolstering the department’s reputation and effectiveness. In recognition of his leadership, he received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Administration.

Dr. Nelson’s has provided professional service to the agricultural economics associations, the Southern Department Heads Council, and the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE). He served as chair of the C-FARE Board in 2000-2004. He was appointed to the USDA Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics and chaired the Panel to review the Census of Agriculture, which was coordinated by the C-FARE. He was President, Vice President and member of WAEA and designated a Distinguished Scholar of the WAEA in 2004. Currently he is chair of the AAEA Senior Section.

At the college-level beginning in 1993, Dr. Nelson led development of the Texas Agricultural and Natural Resources Summit Initiative, which continued for over a decade bringing together stakeholders to identify, prioritize, and initiate work toward resolution of several critical public issues facing Texas agriculture. In 2005, Dr. Nelson was called to serve as Executive Associate Dean of the College where he led restructuring the College’s undergraduate office and formalizing the promotion and tenure process.

Dr. Nelson returned to the Department in 2008 and resumed teaching and research with new emphasis on financial planning. He developed courses and a program designed to train students as financial advisors. Today, the program has grown to a six-course curriculum for both on- and off-campus students.

Dr. Nelson is a teacher who motivates students with his interest in the subject matter. As an extension educator, he relies on innovative presentation methods and applied research. As an administrator, he exemplified the servant leader. He and his wife Audrey have three children and six grandchildren.

Award Recipient Remarks