Brooks selected as Agricultural Economics Department Head

Kate Brooks
Kate Brooks has been selected as the next head of the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her appointment will be effective May 1.
April 3, 2024

Lincoln, Neb. —Kate Brooks has been selected as the next head of the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her appointment will be effective May 1.

Brooks joined the department in 2013, as an assistant professor, working first as an Extension Specialist, then moving into a teaching and research role in 2016. She has served as the interim associate department head since April 2023.

As she steps into the permanent department head role, Brooks is passionate about growing opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as fostering collaboration within the department and with other UNL departments, alumni and other potential partners.

The department has strong partnerships with the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, the Nebraska Water Center, and the Clayton Yeutter Institute for International Trade and Finance, all of which foster opportunities for student experiential learning, graduate and undergraduate research and collaborative faculty research. Additionally, the department has a strong statewide Extension platform, including the Center for Agricultural Profitability, which offers online tools, webinars, and more geared at helping producers make sound financial decisions.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity to help lead a department I have been a part of for the last decade,” Brooks said. “The department has amazing faculty and staff, and I look forward to working together in developing our shared vision for the future as we build upon our already excellent programs.”

During her time with the department, Brooks has taught the agribusiness management sequence as well as a sophomore level class on the food marketing system. She has received multiple teaching excellence awards.  Her research interests span throughout the livestock industry as well as research on impacts of agribusinesses in the United States.

Brooks has served on various committees at UNL both at the department and college level, holding various leadership roles within these committees.  She has also served in leadership roles on committees within agricultural economics professional organizations.  Brooks has contributed to the institutional culture of inclusive excellence by integrating inclusive practices in her research, teaching, and leadership. She was a co-founder of the CASNR Inclusive Classrooms Community of Practice.

“Dr. Brooks brings positive energy, a collaborative spirit, a strong student focus and a track record of excellence across research, teaching and Extension to this important position,” said Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “I am thrilled she will serve as the next department head, and I look forward to seeing the department’s strong momentum in the coming months and years.”

Brooks received her undergraduate degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University, her master’s degree in agribusiness from Illinois State University, and her doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining UNL, she was a faculty member at West Texas A&M University.

Larry Van Tassell served as the department head from 2010-2023, with Agricultural Economics Professor Wes Peterson serving as the interim department head during the time Brooks served in the interim associate role.

For more information about the Agricultural Economics Department, visit

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