James Larson Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Agricultural Economics
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — James A. Larson, professor at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA).
The award is given in recognition of his significant and enduring contributions to the agricultural economics profession. Larson accepted the award at the 2022 SAEA annual meeting, which was held February 12-15 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Much of Larson’s research has been used to improve farmer profitability and ensure long-term economic stability for farming operations while simultaneously protecting the environment. He has developed farmer-oriented decision aids and published extensively on issues such as soil conservation practices, precision farming, irrigation, risk management strategies, soil fertility and crop and livestock production practices. A conservative count of his highly cited research indicates that at least 25 journal articles have directly dealt with conservation and environmental issues.
A long-time member of UTIA’s Biobased Energy Analysis Group (BEAG), he has been instrumental in its efforts to develop bioenergy feedstock supply chains in the Southeast using biomass crops, crop residues and winter oilseed crops as feedstocks. The mission of BEAG is to provide decision makers in government and industry with up-to-date economic and environmental analyses of the biobased industry at the firm, state, regional and national levels. The BEAG team attracted roughly $16 million in grant funding during his career, and roughly 30 journal articles have been generated as a result of the BEAG teamwork.
Larson also excels at interdisciplinary research, fostering teams of plant scientists, soil scientists, agricultural engineers and dairy scientists to address challenging issues that are most effectively addressed by combining knowledge from a variety of perspectives.
“Jim is an accomplished researcher, a caring mentor, a collegial collaborator and a dedicated servant to the department, the Institute and his profession,” said Hongwei Xin, dean of UT AgResearch. “His programmatic impacts have been felt both within and outside UTIA. This Lifetime Achievement Award is very fitting to recognize Dr. Larson’s outstanding accomplishments.”
In addition, Larson also serves as the director of graduate studies and instituted the Five-Year BS/MS Program and cultivated the Dual MBA-MS Program, a collaboration between the UT Haslam College of Business and Herbert College of Agriculture. This passion for assisting students also led him to establish and chair the SAEA Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for master’s students.
His work has been recognized through several awards such as Gamma Sigma Delta’s Faculty Team Award (BEAG), the Dutch and Marilee Cavender Award for the Best Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station Research Publication, and first- and second-place prizes for poster presentations at SAEA’s annual meetings.
He has contributed to 115 journal articles, five book chapters, 100 abstracts or proceedings and 46 refereed experiment station publications. He led or co-led completed projects totaling $3.4 million and is currently involved in projects bringing $2.4 million to the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, where he has been a faculty member for nearly 30 years.
Larson earned his doctorate in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University, a master’s in agricultural economics at North Dakota State University and bachelor degrees in both animal science and agricultural economics from North Dakota State University.
Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.