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University of Minnesota Extension

Kent Olson


Associate Dean


Phone: 612-625-7723

458 Coffey Hall
1420 Eckles Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108-6070


Communities where I work



  • B.S., Farm Operation, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • M.S., Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • Ph.D., Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Work Experience

Kent has been the Associate Dean for Community Vitality since 2015 and a professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota since 1985. As a professor his responsibilities included Extension, teaching and research. He was the program leader for Agricultural Business Management in the Extension Center for Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. He has taught farm management, world food problems, and agribusiness management on campus, across Minnesota, and internationally. Prior to joining the Applied Economics faculty at the University of Minnesota, Kent was an Extension economist at the University of California, Davis.

Affiliations, Honors and Community Service

  • Affiliations: National Association of Community Development Professionals; Agricultural and Applied Economics Association; International Association of Agricultural Economists; Minnesota Association of Community and Leadership Education Professionals
  • Awards (selected): Dean's Award for Distinguished Extension Team (2015 & 2007), University of Minnesota Extension; Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota; John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, University of Minnesota
  • Community Service: Kent is vice-president of the board of a Minnesota nonprofit organization that is developing microfinance organizations in southern Tanzania as well as local managerial capacity in those communities.

Selected Publications

  • Olson, K. 2013. Trends, issues, threats, and opportunities affecting farmers. Agrekon, DOI: 10.1080/03031853.2013.847040.
  • Olson, K. 2011. Economics of Farm Management in a Global Setting. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Olson, K., and M. Boehlje. 2010. "Fundamental Forces Affecting Agribusiness Industries," available at http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=150.
  • Olson, K., M. Rahm, and M. Swanson. 2010. "Market Forces and Changes in the Plant Input Supply Industry," available at http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=151.
  • Hachfeld, G.A., D.B. Bau, C.R. Holcomb, J.N. Kurtz, J.W. Craig, and K.D. Olson. 2009. Farm transition and estate planning: Farmers' evaluations and behavioral changes due to attending workshops. Journal of Extension, available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2009april/a8.php
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