Professor Emeritus of Economics, South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota
Dr. Thomas L. Dobbs, of Brookings, South Dakota, is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Dr. Dobbs retired from SDSU in 2007, after 29 years of service in research, teaching, extension, and international programs roles. His teaching included courses in agricultural policy, resource and environmental economics, and farming and food systems economics. During 2007 and 2008, Dr. Dobbs was a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow. His primary writing and speaking focus during that appointment concerned issues related to development and passage of the 2008 Federal farm bill. He also wrote about policy issues related to world food shortages and the near collapse of the American economy. Dr. Dobbs’ research during the last 20 years of his career at SDSU focused primarily on the economic and policy conditions necessary to foster sustainable farming and food systems. He has devoted a great deal of attention to agri-environmental policies in the U.S. and the European Union. Dobbs was a Visiting Scholar at the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture in 1993, where he conducted research on policy options for the 1996 U.S. farm bill. In 2000, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Essex, in England, conducting research on agri-environmental policies in the United Kingdom. Since then, he has also studied agri-environmental policies in France, where he has twice been a short-term Visiting Professor at the Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Toulouse. His work has focused on how the multifunctionality agri-environmental policy approaches being used in the European Union might be applied in the U.S. One of the U.S. agri-environmental programs Dobbs conducted research on at SDSU was the Conservation Security Program, which was changed to the Conservation Stewardship Program in the 2008 farm bill. Dr. Dobbs grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in eastern South Dakota. His Ph.D. in agricultural economics is from the University of Maryland. His dissertation was based on 1967-68 field research in India on the Green Revolution. Dobbs began his professional career as an Assistant Professor of agricultural economics at the University of Wyoming, and then he joined the Foreign Service as a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) economist in Islamabad, Pakistan and Washington, D.C. After four years with USAID, Dobbs joined the economics faculty at SDSU in 1978. Dobbs has authored public policy columns for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Grist, Treehugger, and The Dakota Day (the latter in a series titled 'Economic Policy Perspective').