Glenn L. Johnson

Glenn L. Johnson

Ph.D., 1949. University of Chicago
M.S., 1942. Michigan State University
B.S., 1940. University of Illinois

Professor Emeritus, and Distinguished Professor

Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
Michigan State University

AEC/AFRE Faculty, 1952-1988

Deceased 2003

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Biographical Information

Professor Emeritus, Glenn L. Johnson, was born in 1918 in Redwood Falls, Minnesota and grew up on farms in Minnesota and Northwestern Illinois. Following Navy Service in World War II, and employment as an agricultural economist statistician in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of the USDA, he earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago where his advisors were D. Gale Johnson and T. W. Schultz.

Following service on the faculty of the University of Kentucky from 1949 to 1952, Glenn joined the faculty at Michigan State University where he retired in 1988 having mentored more than 100 M.S. and PhD students.  He continued to actively mentor and support many of these former students after they completed their academic programs.  Glenn was an excellent teacher and researcher who devoted his creative and intensive efforts to farm management, production economics, managerial theory, research methodology and agricultural development.

In 1959, he was on sabbatical leave for study of philosophic value theory at Cambridge University, England, and served as Simon visiting professor at the University of Manchester. In 1956, he was on leave as a visiting professor at the University of California. In 1955, he was on leave as a consultant in Norway for the Norwegian Institute of Agricultural Economics.

Professor Johnson followed a multidisciplinary approach in evaluating practical problems and policies while questioning and modifying existing theories when appropriate.  He drew on the philosophy of science and value theory to challenge the form of extreme empirical positivism which had become the methodology advocated by a number of economists. The literature on sector analysis, investment/disinvestment theory, human and institutional development and managerial theory are only some of the subject matter areas impacted by Glenn’s creative work.  A consultant to many national and international institutions, Glenn provided major professional leadership to the Economic Development Institute at the University of Nigeria. His roles as Director of Nigeria’s Rural Development and Korean Agricultural Sector Studies highlighted his numerous involvements in agricultural development.  In recent years, Glenn was active in assembling scholars under the title “Science, Religion and Society” nourishing dialogue between scientists, theologians and the public on ethical issues raised by new technologies and their interactions with institutions and power structures.

In summary, Professor Johnson stands a giant in the agricultural economics profession.

Honors: American Farm Economics Association outstanding research in 1952 and 1959; M.S.U. Distinguished Professor Award, 1966; Vice-President American Farm Economic Association, 1962.

Publications: Co-author with L. A. Bradfield of Farm Management Analysis, John Wiley and Sons, 1953. Co-editor of nine books. Contributor of chapters in twenty-four books. Author of numerous bulletins and journal articles.