Lusk named vice president, dean of OSU Agriculture

Oklahoma State University named Jayson L. Lusk as vice president and dean of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Lusk was selected following a national search and will provide leadership for the Ferguson College of Agriculture, OSU Extension and OSU Ag Research. The OSU/A&M Board of Regents has granted interim approval for the appointment.

OSU Provost Jeanette Mendez said the extensive search process returned a strong pool of candidates.

“I am delighted that Dr. Lusk, a member of the Cowboy family, has chosen to return and lead the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,” Mendez said. “Oklahoma State University is a national leader in agriculture, and I believe Dr. Lusk will continue to build on the strong foundation of retiring vice president and dean Dr. Tom Coon.

“As part of the systemwide strategy OSU unveiled in October 2022, the university has a focus on fighting food insecurity with the concept of using research to help ‘nourish the world.’ Dr. Lusk’s background in partnering technology and agriculture dovetails perfectly with OSU’s commitment to leveraging research and innovation to improve the world’s food shortage issues.”

Lusk worked at OSU from 2005 to 2017, first as an agricultural economics professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair and then as a regents professor. Since 2017, he has served Purdue University as a distinguished professor and head of the Agricultural Economics Department.

During his career, he’s been a prominent advocate for agricultural research and innovation, publishing more than 270 articles in peer-reviewed journals and five books. Lusk’s latest book, titled “Unnaturally Delicious,” is a look at how science and technology can work with agriculture to improve worldwide food insecurity.

Lusk will begin his duties leading OSU Agriculture in August. This includes overseeing academic programs as well as Extension and agricultural research efforts on campus and statewide.

He also will lead the move-in and transition to the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, a $115 million state-of-the-art teaching, research and Extension facility for OSU Agriculture. Construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come home to a place where I worked for 13 years and help build on the foundation in place to move the college and our state forward,” Lusk said. “It’s an opportunity to make an impact and to make a difference. It’s also a place where the students, faculty and staff are doing good things, and OSU Agriculture is well positioned with support of alumni and stakeholders to have an even bigger impact in Oklahoma and beyond.”

Agricultural production, which includes crops, livestock and forestry, totals about $7.7 billion per year in Oklahoma.

“I’m excited to welcome Dr. Lusk back to OSU as the new vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture,” said Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture and member of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. “Dr. Lusk is well-known across the country and will bring a unique perspective and passion to this position. The work of OSU Agriculture faculty and staff, along with the leadership team, is essential to the success of the Oklahoma agriculture industry. I am looking forward to his return to Stillwater and seeing how Dr. Lusk’s vision helps further Oklahoma agriculture.”

Lusk earned a bachelor’s in food technology from Texas Tech University and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Kansas State University. He held previous appointments at Mississippi State University and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.

Lusk has received numerous awards including the Borlaug Communication Award from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and the Lou Ann Aday Award—Purdue University’s most prestigious research award in the humanities and social sciences. He has served on the executive committee of the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board and has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions. He also is a fellow and past president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.