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Andrew “Andy” Vanvig

Andrew Vanvig, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Economics and Applied Economics, University of Wyoming, age 93, formerly of Beach, North Dakota, passed away on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at his home in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The son of immigrant parents from Norway who homesteaded in North Dakota, Andrew was raised on a farm in Golden Valley County. He attended public schools in the area and graduated from Golva High School in 1938. He received his BS degree from NDSU in 1942, his MS in agricultural economics from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and earned his PhD degree from the University of Minnesota in 1951. Andrew greatly enjoyed farming and spent as much time as possible farming near Beach with his two brothers as he continued his education.

He began his academic career as assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arizona in 1952. In 1957, at the age of 35, he was appointed head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Wyoming. He served as department head for 25 years and during his tenure the department grew several fold both in size of the faculty and the number of student majors. In 1972, he was listed in Outstanding Educators of America. He thoroughly enjoyed his contacts with students and was always interested in watching their career development after graduation. 

Andrew’s major research interests were in agricultural finance, international trade and the farm and ranch real estate market. His annual publication on the real estate market was widely used by banks and other lenders as well as farmers and ranchers. He helped organize and establish the Western Agricultural Lenders Institute, which sponsored an annual conference for bankers and other lenders.

Andrew was also active in professional associations and served a term as president of the Western Agricultural Economics Association (WAEA) and, for several years, as chairman of the Western Agricultural Economics Research Council. In the course of his career he had opportunities for professional contacts in other countries. In 1958 he was one of ten young professionals to receive a travel fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to participate in the International Conference of Agricultural Economists held in Mysore City, India. 

In the summer of 1965 he served as a consultant to the Minister of Agriculture in Afghanistan regarding irrigation and other agricultural developments. During this time he also helped establish the agricultural economics department at Kabul University. He also facilitated the ability of Afghan students to pursue graduate study at universities in the United States.

Following his retirement from the University of Wyoming in 1991, Andrew and his wife, Connie, became more actively involved in his farming operation near Beach, producing durum, winter and spring wheat, lentils, peas, and alfalfa under a no-till farming practice. They enjoyed alternating their time between summers farming in Beach, and winters in Arizona. “Retirement” was not really a word in his vocabulary. He loved farming as much as he enjoyed his academic career and he continued to manage his farming operation up until the time of his death.

He was an avid outdoorsman and in earlier years hunted big horn sheep, moose, elk, deer, and antelope in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. He also enjoyed golf, fishing, and hunting pheasants with his yellow labrador, King, and riding his quarter horse, Bar.

Andrew and Connie have contributed generously to support scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming. Recently, Andrew provided the funding to recognize faculty via the Andrew Vanvig Lifetime Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.