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Vernon R. Eidman

  • Prof, 1975-present; Head of Dept 1998-present, U of Minnesota
  • Prof, 1971-75; Assoc Prof, 1968-71; Asst Prof, 1964-68, Oklahoma State U
  • Visiting Prof, 1989-90, U of Maryland
  • Visiting Prof, 1973, Swedish Agricultural U
  • Ph.D. 1965, Agricultural Economics, U of California, Berkeley
  • MS 1961
  • BS 1958, Agricultural Economics, U of Illinois
  • NAAEA President, 1999-00
  • AAEA President 1995-96
  • AAEA Executive Board 1989-92
  • AAEA Foundation Governing Board 1990-92
  • American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Editorial Board, 1984-87 and 1972-74
  • Vice -President, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, 1975-76
  • Editorial Board, Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, 1969-72
  • AAEA, Outstanding Journal Article Award, 1968
  • Western Agricultural Economics Association, Outstanding Published Research Award, 1969
  • AAEA, Chair, National Task Force for Commodity Cost and Return Estimation Methods, 1991-98
  • USDA, Vice-Chair, Cost of Production Review Board, 1992-95.

Vernon Eidman made outstanding contributions to the advancement of agricultural economics through research, teaching and administration. He has published more than 50 journal articles, 8 books and chapters, and many other papers. He has developed pioneering courses, won teaching awards, and co-authored a renowned text. Vernon has also established himself as an efficient and effective administrator at both the national and local level.

A native of Illinois, Vernon Eidman received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University in 1964. Since 1975, he has been a Professor at the University of Minnesota and, since 1998, Head of the Department.

Vernon has devoted much of his professional career to studying the effect that changes in technology, policy, and institutional arrangements have on the risk and returns at the firm level. He applied Bayesian decision analysis to the choice between independent and contract production, research that won the AAEA award for Best Journal Article. Other studies contributed to the literature on estimating risk by level of variable input, and on estimating the value of information in making decisions on input level. This group of studies contributed to our understanding of the choices farmers make, how these choices vary with risk preferences, and how these choices may impact farm structure.

A second research area considered the impact of policy on the agricultural sector. Vernon and his students were among the first to model the inter-temporal allocation of ground water in the Ogallala aquifer. He has also made significant contributions to the discussion on alternative energy production, and the farm level impacts of federal policy. His recent work has focused on the economic issues related to farmland drainage, and the potential for tradable permits to serve as an efficient, locally controlled method of limiting nitrate pollution of groundwater supplies.

In addition to his research, Vernon developed pioneering courses, and was recognized for outstanding teaching at both Oklahoma State University and the University of Minnesota. His undergraduate teaching focus has been primarily in farm and agribusiness management. He and his colleagues were among the first to develop and utilize gaming and simulations to teach farm planning, to increase the emphasis on business management concepts, and to begin integrating strategic management in teaching farm management courses. He co-authored a text, Farm Management, with Michael Boehlje in 1984 that became a highly regarded, definitive text.

His primary focus in graduate teaching has been in production economics, particularly research procedures to deal with time and uncertainty. An outstanding teacher and mentor, two of his former advisees were recognized by AAEA with Outstanding Dissertation Awards. Many of his former students are members of the profession today.
Vernon also made major contributions to administration at both the national and local levels. He has served as a member of the Executive Board and as President of AAEA. His 1995 Presidential Address proposed expanding the set of services for members to include: increased programming related to undergraduate teaching; expansion of professional services for a broader range of agricultural economists working in the private and public sectors; modification of the annual meeting format to provide broader access to groups within the profession; and the addition of a second peer-reviewed journal for more applied research and teaching materials. He initiated the process to make the Review of Agricultural Economics an AAEA publication, and began implementing the other proposals in the 1996 annual meeting. He also served as Chair of the AAEA Task Force on Commodity Cost and Return Estimation Methods, and as Vice Chair of USDA's Cost of Production Review Board.

In his current role as head of the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, Vernon has strengthened the department with strong faculty hires, encouragement to increase refereed journal output per faculty, and incentives to increase the amount of outside grant support. At the same time he instituted programs and hired personnel to improve recruiting and advising of undergraduate majors, thus increasing the size of the undergraduate program.