Extension, Enterprise, and Education: The Legacy of Co-operatives and Cooperation in Utah: USU Department of Agricultural Economics
USU Deparment of Agricultural Economics
The USU Department of Agricultural Economics taught students to become articulate and effective in uniting and achieving objectives necessary for implementing successful co-operative farm enterprises.
In 1921, USU began offering courses in a newly-created program called Agricultural Economics, jointly administered by the School of Agriculture and the School of Commerce (predecessors to the College of Agriculture and the Huntsman School of Business). By the early 1930s, the College taught courses on the co-operative marketing of agricultural products. Co-operative marketing increasingly became a focus for graduate work; five Masters of Science degrees on this subject were awarded in 1948.
Faculty understood that for farmer cooperatives to be as successful as they could be students, future farmers, needed to understand both the economics and agriculture of farming. George Blanch discussed this uniting of economy and agriculture in his broadcast on USU radio.
The same year that Utah State Agricultural College became Utah State University (1957), Agricultural Economics moved wholly under Agriculture's administration. The program remained there until 1976 when it once again became jointly administered by Agriculture and Business. The curriculum expanded in the 1980s to include courses on consumer and worker co-operatives. These were taught by two former Aggies who returned to Logan as Economics professors: DeeVon Bailey, an extension specialist in agricultural markets and rural industry and Gary B. Hansen, who specialized in worker co-operatives. In May 2008, Agricultural Economics moved back to the College of Agriculture where it now functions as part of the Department of Applied Economics.