UA System recommends Deacue Fields to head agri division
University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt announced Wednesday (April 20) that he would recommend Deacue Fields as the next vice president for agriculture for the UA System.
Fields was one of two finalists to replace Mark Cochran, who retired last fall. Fields was appointed dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2017.
Pending UA System board approval, Fields should begin the job 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 in a statement. “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.”
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 in a UA System news release. “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.”
Before coming to the UA, Fields was a professor and department head at Auburn University. Before that, he was associate professor and coordinator of the Alabama Farm Analysis Program with Auburn’s agriculture department and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Fields earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., 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 in a statement. “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.”