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Steve Blank

Department Head and Professor



Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, University of Hawaii

M.S., Agricultural Economics, University of Hawaii

M.B.A., University of Massachusetts

B.A., Business Administration, California State-Stanislaus

My research focuses on agricultural markets and price analysis, financial and risk management, and profitability in agriculture.

A sample of my work is available in my book, "The Economics of American Agriculture: Evolution and Global Development."

Courses Taught at VT:

Agricultural Futures and Options Markets

Courses Taught Elsewhere:

  • Commodity Futures and Options Markets
  • Research Methods
  • Financial Management (intro)
  • Financial Management (advanced)
  • Investments
  • Personal Finance
  • Business Marketing Principles
  • Marketing Management
  • Agricultural Marketing
  • Introduction to Agricultural Economics
  • Undergraduate Seminar
  • Undergraduate Thesis
  • Graduate Seminar


  • Department Head and Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics Department, Virginia Tech, 2012 – present
  • Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, 1988-2012
  • Assistant Vice Provost - Academic Personnel, University of California, Davis, 1996-2002
  • Extension Economist, Agricultural Economics Department, University of Arizona, 1985-1987
  • Associate Professor, Economics Department, South Dakota State University, 1984-1985
  • Section Head, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Canberra, Australia, 1981-1983
  • Assistant Professor, Agricultural Management Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 1979-1984


Fellow Award, Western Agricultural Economics Association, 2007

Distinguished Extension Program Award: More Than 10 Years’ Experience, American Agricultural Economics Association, 2007

Outstanding Electronic Newsletter Award, Extension Section of the American Agricultural Economics Association, 2007

Outstanding Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics Article Award, Western Agricultural Economics Association, 2006

Outstanding Extension Program Award, Western Agricultural Economics Association, for Career, 2005

Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society for Agriculture, 2005

Outstanding Article in Choices Award, American Agricultural Economics Association, 2003

Outstanding Service Award, Western Agricultural Economics Association, 2002

President of the Western Agricultural Economics Association, 2000-2003

Selected Books

Blank, Steven C., The Economics of American Agriculture: Evolution and Global Development, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Inc., 2008.

Blank, Steven C., The End of Agriculture in the American Portfolio, Greenwood Publishing Group, Quorum Books: Westport, Connecticut, 1998.

Blank, S., C. Carter and B. Schmiesing, Futures and Options Markets: Trading Financials and Commodities, Prentice-Hall, Inc.: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1991.

Blank, Steven C., Practical Business Research Methods, AVI Publishing Company, Inc.: Westport, Connecticut, 1984.

Selected Journal Articles, Monographs, and Book Chapters

Blank, S., T. Saitone, and R. Sexton, “Calf and Yearling Prices in the Western United States: Spatial, Quality, and Temporal Factors in Satellite Video Auctions,” Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 41, 3 (2016): 458-480. 

Boys, K. and S. Blank, “The Evolution of Local Foods: A Retrospective and Prospective Consideration,” chapter 2 in J. Stanton (ed.) The Meaning of Local Foods: A Food Marketing Management Perspective: Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, 2016.

Forero, L., J. Oltjen, S. Blank, and N. Taylor, “Performance Advantage of Wintering Cattle on California’s Sacramento Valley,” Rangelands, 36, 5 (2014): 1-6.

Blank, Steven C., “Economic Sustainability in Animal Agriculture,” chapter 12 in E. Kebreab (ed.), Sustainable Animal Agriculture, CABI International: Boston, pp 172-192, 2013.

Blank, S., K. Erickson, and C. Hallahan. “Farmland Values: Indicator of Regional Economic Performance or a Speculative Bubble?” Journal of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (2012): 57-67.

Blank, S. and D. Klinefelter. “Keeping ARMS Relevant: Increasing its Usability,” Agricultural Finance Review 72, 2 (2012): 222-232.

Blank, S.C. "Economic Sustainability in the Evolving World: Implications for American Agriculture and Economists." Western Economic Forum: A Journal of the Western Agricultural Economics Association 9(1)(2010):11-18.

Blank, S.C., K.W. Erickson, R. Nehring, and C. Hallahan. "Agricultural Profits and Farm Household Wealth: A Farm-level Analysis Using Repeated Cross-Sections." Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 41(1)(2009): 207-225.

Blank, S.C., K. Klonsky, K. Fuller, S. Orloff, and D.H. Putnam. "Hay Harvesting Services Respond to Market Trends." California Agriculture 63(3)(2009): 143-148.

Blank, S.C. "Insiders Views on Business Models Used by Small Agricultural Biotechnology Firms: Economic Implications for the Emerging Global Industry." AgBioForum 11(2)(2008): 71-81.

Blank, S.C. and K.W. Erickson. "Agricultural Household Hedging With Off-Farm Income." Western Economics Forum 6(1)(2007): 1-13.

Blank, S.C., H. Boriss, L. Forero, and G. Nader. "Western Cattle Prices Vary Across Video Markets and Value-adding Programs." California Agriculture 60(3)(2006): 160-165.

Blank, S.C., K.W. Erickson, and C.B. Moss. "Profit Patterns Across American Agriculture." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 30(2)(2005): 205-230.

Blank, S.C. "The Business of an Agricultural 'Way of Life'." Choices 20(2)(2005): 161-166.

Blank, S.C., K.W. Erickson, C.B. Moss, and R. Nehring. "Agricultural Profits and Farm Household Wealth." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 86(5)(2004): 1299-1307

Blank, S.C. and G.D. Thompson. "Can/Should/Will a Niche Become the Norm? Organic Agriculture's Short Past and Long Future." Contemporary Economic Policy 22(4)(2004):483-503.

Blank, S.C. "Where is American Agriculture in Its "Life Cycle"?" Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 28(3)(2003): 396-418.

Tadesse, D. and S.C. Blank. "Cultivar Diversity: A Neglected Risk Management Strategy." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 28(2)(2003): 217-232.

Blank, S.C. "Is Agriculture a Way of Life or a Business?" Choices 17(3)(2002): 26-30.

Blank, S.C. "A Portfolio of Threats to American Agriculture." Contemporary Economic Policy 20(4)(2002):381-393.

Blank, S.C. "The Challenge to Think Big as American Agriculture Shrinks." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 26(2)(2001): 309-325.

Blank, S.C. "Producers Get Squeezed Up the Farming Food Chain: A Theory of Crop Portfolio Composition and Land Use." Review of Agricultural Economics 23(2)(2001): 404-422.

Blank, S.C. "Globalization, Cropping Choices, and Profitability in American Agriculture." Journal of Agricultural & Applied Economics 33(2)(2001):315-326.

Blank, S.C., S.B. Orloff, and D.H. Putnam. "Sequential Stochastic Production Decisions for a Perennial Crop: The Yield/Quality Tradeoff for Alfalfa Hay." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 26(1)(2001): 195-211.

Blank, S.C. "Is This California Agriculture's Last Century?" California Agriculture 54(4)(2000): 23-25.

Blank, S.C. "The End of the American Farm?" The Futurist 33(4)(1999): 22-27.

Blank, S.C. "A Decade of Decline and Evolution in Agricultural Economics Enrollments and Programs: 1985-96." Review of Agricultural Economics 20(1)(1998): 155-167.

Blank, S.C., C.A. Carter, and J. McDonald. "Is the Market Failing Agricultural Producers Who Wish to Manage Risks?" Contemporary Economic Policy 15(1997): 103-112.

Blank, S.C. and J. McDonald. "Preferences for Crop Insurance When Farmers are Diversified." Agribusiness: An International Journal 12(6)(1996): 583-592.

Blank, S.C. and R. Venner. "Evaluating the Cost Effectiveness of Risk-Reducing Inputs: Wind Machines for Citrus." Hort Technology 5(2)(1995): 165-170.

Blank, S.C. "The New Risk Environment in California Agriculture." Agribusiness: An International Journal 11(2)(1995): 155-168.

Thompson, R. and S.C. Blank. "Criteria Used in Agricultural Loan Analysis in California." Journal of Agricultural Lending 7(2)(1994): 12-14, 16-17.

Blank, S.C. and R. Thompson. California Agricultural Cooperatives: Managers' Strategies and Attitudes Toward Finance and Risk. University of California, Center for Cooperatives, 1994.

Thompson, R. and S.C. Blank. "Finance and Risk Characteristics of California Agricultural Cooperatives." The Cooperative Accountant 47(2)(1994): 65-70.

Blank, S.C. "Effects of Farmland Cash Leasing Rates on Crop Selections of Owners and Tenants: A Portfolio Analysis." Agricultural Finance Review 53(1993): 1-14.

Dahlgran, R. and S.C. Blank. Evaluating the Integration of Contiguous, Discontinuous Markets. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 74(1992): 469-479.

Blank, S.C. "The Significance of Hedging Capital Requirements." The Journal of Futures Markets 12(1)(1992): 11-18.

Blank, S.C. "The Robustness of Single Index Models in Crop Markets: A Multiple Index Model Test." Western Journal of Agricultural Economics 16(2)(1991): 259-267.

Blank, S.C. "Chaos in Futures Markets? A Nonlinear Dynamical Analysis." The Journal of Futures Markets 11(6)(1991): 711-728.

Gum, R.L. and S.C. Blank. "Designing Expert Systems for Effective Delivery of Extension Programming." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 72(3)(1990): 539-547.

Blank, S.C. "Returns to Limited Crop Diversification." Western Journal of Agricultural Economics 15(1990): 204-212.

Blank, S.C.  “Research on futures markets: Issues, approaches, and empirical findings.” Western Journal of Agricultural Economics 14, 1 (1989): 126-139.

Blank, S. and B. Schmiesing.  “Modeling agricultural markets and prices using causality and path analysis.” North Central Journal of Agricultural Economics 10, 1 (1988): 35-48.

Blank, S.C.  “Evaluating international price relationships using causal models.” European Review of Agricultural Economics 14, 3 (1987): 305-323

Blank, S.C.  “World dairy market structure.” Agribusiness: An International Journal 2, 2 (1986): 183-198.

Blank, S.C.  “Price dependence and futures price theory.” Northeastern Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 14, 2 (1985): 375-381.

Blank, S.C.  “Effectiveness of role playing, case studies, and simulation games in teaching agricultural economics.” Western Journal of Agricultural Economics 10, 1 (1985): 55-62.

Blank, S.C.  “Cross hedging Australian cattle.” Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics 28, 2 (1984): 153-162.

Blank, S.C.  “Undergraduate research projects as a teaching and learning device.” Western Journal of Agricultural Economics 7, 2 (1982): 221-226.