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UNL Announce

Tom Field new director of Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program

Tom Field
Tom Field

Tom Field is the new director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and the Paul Engler Chair of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“I am really excited about this opportunity to be a steward of Paul Engler’s gift. I have a high regard for Paul Engler and for his business and the career he built. I also feel fortunate to work with Mark Gustafson,” said Field, who started his position Jan. 3, but will work with Gustafson, who is continuing as the program’s founding director, until the end of June. Before coming to Nebraska, Field was the executive director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Centennial, Colo.

The Engler program began in 2010 with a gift from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation to the University of Nebraska to establish a permanently endowed fund to support agribusiness entrepreneurship in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The gift provides student scholarships and program support for student courses, a lectureship series, entrepreneurship training camps, internship placement assistance, student travel and more.

Ronnie Green, Harlan vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, appointed Field to the position.

“We could not have found a more perfect fit for a leader for the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program than Tom Field,” Green said. “He is widely recognized internationally as one of the very top university teachers in agriculture and brings a wealth of experience in creativity and entrepreneurship from his professional experience, including the development of ‘out of the box’ programs, such as the Beef Industry Leadership graduate program at Colorado State University and more recently new approaches to producer education at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.”

Green said UNL will quickly become known globally as the “destination location” for the very best student experience in development of entrepreneurial skills and problem solving.

The program will continue to prosper and grow under Field's energy, enthusiasm and leadership, honoring the vision and commitment of Paul Engler to make a difference through empowering student entrepreneurship, said Steve Waller, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

"Field’s desire to assume the leadership of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program speaks volumes to the quality and importance of this innovative program and the wonderful foundation created in the first two years by the founding director, our first two student cohorts and the faculty that support the curriculum,” Waller said.

Field said he is looking forward to working with the young people in this program, providing them experiences that help them become employers and community builders.

Within his first six months he plans build partnerships within UNL, Nebraska and in public and private entities to make the program successful.

“A chance to build catalytic partnerships is hopefully what I bring to the table,” he said. “We face a unique business environment. There is lots of uncertainty, but this just requires unconventional thinking.”

At the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Field led professional staff in coordinating and delivering educational services to the 30,000 members of the NCBA via Cattlemen’s Colleges, “Cattlemen to Cattlemen” on RFD-TV, and diverse populations.

While administering a budget of $1.1 million, Field increased attendance at national education events nearly 20 percent in 2010 and increased profitability from educational material sales by 21 percent from 2008 to 2009.

Field earned his doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in animal sciences from Colorado State University. Before joining the NCBA, he was a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, where he had worked since 1984.

Field is the co-owner of Field Land and Cattle Company in Gunnison, Colo.

He and his wife, Laura, have three sons in college -- Justin, Sean and Trae.