College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Office of the Provost

Matthew Holt named dean of Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences


Clemson University has named Matthew T. “Matt” Holt dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS). Currently head and professor of Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Holt begins his new position on September 1, 2024.

Matt brings considerable experience as an agriculturist and academic administrator to this role. His leadership, expertise and commitment to our land-grant legacy will serve the University well as we continue to improve the lives of South Carolinians through education, discovery and outreach in the agricultural and life sciences.”


Holt is a highly regarded agricultural economist and a leading expert in applied econometric methods. Throughout his career, he has worked to develop and apply modern econometric tools to problems related to agricultural market and price analysis and production and price risk management. His recent work explores the linkages between climate anomalies and the markets for agricultural and natural resource products. Twice a visiting faculty member at the Stockholm School of Economics and once at Aarhus University, Holt’s former Ph.D. students occupy prominent positions in industry and academia. 

In 2009, Holt was named a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the highest honor this professional association can bestow on its members. Earlier this year, he received the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award from Purdue’s College of Agriculture, where he earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in agricultural economics. He also holds a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri.

My enthusiasm for this role is sky-high,” said Holt. “The ability to provide students with meaningful learning experiences, conduct and report on pathbreaking research and be of service to communities and stakeholders in South Carolina as dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences is one of the most exciting and unique opportunities in the nation.”

Holt joined Virginia Tech as a professor and department head in 2017. As head, and in partnership with the Farm Credit Administration, he led his department to create and launch its online Master of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics with an emphasis on applied economic analytics in 2020. Through his leadership, the department reoriented its Kohl Centre to include a prominent agribusiness analytics focus in its experiential learning and outreach efforts. He also facilitated the creation of the department’s Data Science for the Public Good program, which merges experiential student learning in data science with public policy problems elevated by Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty and staff. In 2019, Holt was asked to serve as an inaugural member of Virginia Tech’s enrollment management advisory committee because of his econometrics expertise. 

Since 2022, he has been co-leader for the Virginia Tech Advantage, a key campus initiative on access and affordability. Before that, Holt held positions as professor and Dwight Harrigan Endowed Faculty Fellow in Natural Resource Economics and head of the Department of Economics, Finance, and Legal Studies at the University of Alabama. Earlier, he was a professor and Wickersham Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Research at Purdue University. Additionally, Holt has held faculty positions at the University of Arizona, North Carolina State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As someone who grew up on a family farm and still has farming interests in Indiana, I am extremely honored to serve in this role,” Holt continued. “The Clemson Elevate strategic plan is designed to ensure that the University continues to expand its reach and reputation as a leading public, land-grant institution. It’s an exciting time to be at Clemson University!”

Provost Jones also thanked Greg Yarrow, interim dean for CAFLS, for providing steady transitional leadership during the search for a permanent dean.

“Greg’s steadfast commitment to support CAFLS’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach are invaluable as we aim to achieve even greater heights of excellence for the University.”

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