Keith Coble to lead MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine

Contact: Sid Salter

Studio portrait of Keith Coble
Keith Coble (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Keith Coble, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State, has been named vice president for the university’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM).

MSU President Mark E. Keenum made the announcement Tuesday, Feb. 9, placing Coble at the helm of MSU’s nationally recognized agriculture and natural resource teaching, research and service efforts. The National Science Foundation ranks MSU in the Top 5 percent nationally for agricultural research.

An MSU faculty member for more than 20 years, Coble has also served since last July as a special assistant to the vice president for DAFVM.

“Dr. Keith Coble brings such a wealth of relevant experience to the leadership of DAFVM and he has the confidence of the state and nation’s agricultural community,” Keenum said. “His reputation as a very talented agricultural economist, his direct experience on Capitol Hill in advising the leadership there on the formulation of the national Farm Bill, and his extensive administrative experience at MSU will enable him to immediately exercise impactful leadership.”

Coble succeeds Reuben Moore, who has served as interim vice president for the division for nearly two years and has announced his impending retirement after decades of service to MSU. Moore will remain on the DAFVM leadership staff during the transition.

Keenum said: “How fortunate this university has been to be able to rely on the outstanding leadership and wisdom of Dr. Moore to lead DAFVM during this interim period. His career at MSU is legendary and a testament to his deep dedication to his alma mater, to the thousands of Mississippians at work in agriculture, forestry and natural resources in communities across our state, and all of us who benefit from them.”

Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw chaired the search committee for the position, presenting two finalists to the university after a nationwide search.

“I want to thank the search committee members for their dedication to this process,” Shaw said. “The Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine is vital to our university’s land-grant mission and strong leadership for the division is paramount to its success. Dr. Coble is a leading expert in his field and his professional experiences throughout his career make him a terrific fit to lead this division forward, furthering our impact on Mississippi’s largest industries and enhancing our reputation as a national and international leader in agriculture.”

DAFVM units include the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Forest Resources, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, and the MSU Extension Service.  These six units function on the university’s main campus and through four research and extension centers, 16 branch stations and locations, in addition to MSU Extension offices in all 82 counties of Mississippi.

Among many professional accolades, Coble has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and is the past-president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He also has worked for the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. An active member of the Starkville community, Coble spent nine years on the Starkville Oktibbeha School District Board of Trustees from 2008-2017.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to lead this vital MSU division forward, building on the great successes of our past and focusing on our shared future,” Coble said. “I am grateful for the confidence shown in me by Mississippi State’s leadership to lead my colleagues forward.”

Coble completed his doctoral work at Texas A&M University in agricultural economics and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Missouri.

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