LITTLE ROCK (April 20, 2022) — University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt announced today that he will recommend Deacue Fields, Ph.D., currently dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, as the next vice president for agriculture for the UA System.
Pending formal approval from the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas in May, Fields is expected to take over the position July 1.
“Throughout our search process, Dr. Fields clearly demonstrated the background, temperament and leadership skills that we were looking for in the next vice president for agriculture,” Bobbitt said. “He understands the importance of the land grant mission of the university, and I am looking forward to working with him to advance the education, research and extension efforts of the Division of Agriculture to benefit the citizens and communities across Arkansas that rely so heavily on agriculture for economic and cultural advancement. While this was a difficult choice because of the high quality of both finalists, I am confident Dr. Fields is ready to unite faculty and staff around the goal of advancing the Division to new heights in the years ahead.”
Bobbitt led a national search for the successor to Dr. Mark J. Cochran, who retired in September 2021. Chuck Culver, the division’s assistant vice president and director for external relations, has been serving as interim vice president.
“I am grateful to Chuck Culver for his outstanding service as interim vice president, and I appreciate the dedicated efforts of each member of our search committee during this search,” Bobbitt said. “I especially want to single out Christina Miller, the Division chief of staff, for her hard work in shepherding this process to a successful result.”
Fields was appointed Bumpers College dean in 2017. He came to Arkansas after serving as professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn University since August 2013. He joined the faculty at Auburn in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor in 2007, an appointment that also included extension duties. He has also worked as an assistant professor and director of small farm outreach at Florida A&M University, and as a graduate research fellow in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at Louisiana State University.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1993, his master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1995 and his doctorate from LSU in 2002, all in agricultural economics.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to continue strengthening the impact of the Division of Agriculture as we embrace the land-grant mission of serving our state,” Fields said. “Going through this process has reinvigorated my passion for agriculture and shed light on numerous opportunities for the division to cultivate partnerships and collaborate during this next chapter. I want to thank Dr. Bobbitt and everyone else involved for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading the Division and continuing to shape its imprint on the people of Arkansas. I can’t wait to continue working with the talented professionals that make up the UADA team to craft a vision for the future.”