The University of Arizona Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) was established over 75 years ago with only two faculty members. In the early days of the department, research and extension activities focused primarily on Arizona agriculture. Within the first two decades, however, the department began to increase its regional, national, and even international presence through a variety of research projects, including one in Brazil. By the early 1970s, the department had doubled in size and water issues had become a focal point of AREC research. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the department continued to grow and focus on the research it had gained recognition for in earlier years. The advent of the 1990s and early 2000s brought about significant changes with declining resources from the state appropriations, resulting in a decline in international research and the overall size of the department.
Today, despite declining resources, the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics continues to be recognized for high quality faculty, policy-relevant research , and impressive undergraduate and graduate programs.
- The AREC department is home to 12 teaching and research faculty (3 of whom who hold extension/research appointments), 2 extension economic impacts analysts, and 3 support staff skilled in student advising, technical editing and graphic design, and administration and financial services.
- Three emeritus faculty, one former faculty member, and one current faculty member have been selected as Fellows of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA), a recognition of career accomplishments in agricultural and resource economics. Similarly, two faculty members have won career recognition through the Western AEA.
- AREC's two undergraduate programs (Agribusiness Economics and Management and Environmental and Water Resource Economics) have been identified to be among the best undergraduate programs in the country due to the faculty’s commitment to investing in the classes, continually updating material, and teaching their students skills for the job market.
- In its 2015 rankings of master's programs in Economics, The Financial Engineer ranked the Department's master's program as 11th in the nation among private and public institutions, and 7th among only public institutions.