Spiro E. Stefanou is Professor and Chair of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida. He received a B.A. in anthropology from George Washington University in 1977, an M.S. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland in 1979, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California, Davis in 1983. His research interests focus on production analysis, innovation and efficiency. Prior to arriving in Gainesville in January 2015, he was Professor of Agricultural Economics at Penn State University since 1983 and currently holds a part-time appointment as Professor in the Business Economics Group at Wageningen University (Netherlands). Dr. Stefanou is a Distinguished Fellow of the AAEA and was a Marie Curie Senior Fellow at the University of Crete (Greece), Mansholt Senior Fellow at Wageningen University (Netherlands), and Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute (Italy). Dr. Stefanou has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, European Review of Agricultural Economics and Journal of Productivity Analysis. He has served as Managing Editor of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy and Editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.
Stephan Goetz, The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Goetz is the Director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development and Professor of Agricultural and Regional Economics at The Pennsylvania State University. He holds Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and an undergraduate degree in Agriculture/Agricultural Economics from the University of Guelph in Canada. As Director of the Northeast Center, Dr. Goetz provides leadership for rural and community development research and extension activities across 13 states. An underlying theme of his research program is the role of markets and human capital in stimulating economic growth and development, and in reducing poverty. Current research focuses on the determinants and effects on economic growth of clusters, social capital and social networks, as well as interactions among the environment (including land use), wages and job growth. Dr. Goetz has published or presented over 200 professional papers and he is the senior co-editor of four books, including Targeting Regional Economic Development (Routledge, 2009). He is the principal investigator on external grants valued at over $10 million. Among other service roles, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania (a legislative agency of the PA General Assembly) and past chair of the Rural and Urban Community Vitality priority areas (appointed by the Northeast Associations of Research and Extension Directors) and the Social Sciences Sub-Committee of the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP).
Dan Lass, University of Massachusetts
Dan Lass is Head of the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts. Dan's research and teaching interests can be broadly classified as micro-econometrics. Much of his research focuses on firm/farm decisions from production to off-farm employment. Previous research focused on the farm family labor decisions, productive and allocative efficiency for dairy and cranberries in Massachusetts, costs and returns for dairy, cranberries and CSA farms, marketing alternatives, consumer food choices, and retail price models. Recently he has analyzed the landscape tree growth, costs, and returns for different nursery production methods. With support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, his team established field trials in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to determine whether alternative soil saving technologies can compete with the traditional field grown (balled and burlap) production method. Dan also contributes analysis of dairy costs and returns to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources tax credit program. New research projects are being developed that consider how stormwater runoff affects home values.
Dan is active in the Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association where he served as President, a member of the Board of Directors and several other committees. He has provided research that has been used to determine agricultural land values in Massachusetts for taxation purposes and am currently a designee to the Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission.
Chairman Roger Coupal, University of Wyoming
Dr. Roger Coupal is a regional economist and full professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming. His area of focus is community development and natural resource policy. Most of his work has been in the nexus of issues in local economic development and natural resource use. He works on energy development impacts, electricity markets, ecosystem services valuation, tourism/recreation studies, and more as it interacts with communities at the local level. He has worked in several regions of cultural significance, both outside and inside the United States. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, worked on Indian Reservation economic development projects in Arizona and has currently developing projects both with Tribes in Wyoming and Mayan Communities in Guatemala. Roger Coupal received his PhD from Washington State University in 1997 and a Masters Degree from the University of Arizona in 1985. He received tenure in 2003 and was promoted to full professor in 2016.
Cynthia Z. F. Clark
Cynthia Z. F. Clark retired in 2014 as administrator of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), overseeing the agency’s efforts to collect and disseminate data on every facet of U.S. agriculture and leading a transformation of how and where the agency conducted its business. For this effort she received the 2011 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award. Since retiring she has been active in pro-bono professional activities – co-chair of the ASA/AAPOR Task Force on Survey Climate, a member of the Boards of the Council of Professional Associations for Federal Statistics (COPAFS) and the Council on Food and Agriculture Economics (C-FARE), a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on National Statistics Panel on Re-engineering the annual Census Bureau Economic Surveys, a member of the Statistics Canada Methodology Advisory Committee, and Vice-President of the International Association of Survey Statisticians. Before joining NASS, she directed research and survey methodology for the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, and prior to that, at the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Clark is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. She has a Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University where she was honored in 2014 with its Distinguished Alumni Award.
Deacue Fields, Auburn University and Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Deacue Fields is Professor and Chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Auburn University and an Extension Economist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He received his B.S. degree (1993) from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, his M.S. degree (1995) from University Missouri – Columbia, and a Ph.D. (2002) from Louisiana State University all in Agricultural Economics. Fields has been employed at Auburn since 2002. He teaches a senior and graduate level Agribusiness management course and serves as internship coordinator in the department. Dr. Fields also serves as liaison between the department and the Agribusiness community. His research activities focus on identifying the impact of agribusinesses and various sectors of agriculture on the state, regional, and national economies. He also conducts consumer product research to determine consumer preferences and willingness to pay for various agricultural commodities and assists agribusinesses with marketing and management strategies. He has been actively involved in food marketing and logistics efforts throughout the Caribbean including Jamaica, US Virgin Islands, and Trinidad. In his spare time he enjoys traveling with family, youth sports, fishing, and showing Quarter horses. He is married to Dana Fields and they have 3 sons Caleb (15), Cade (13), and Collin (10).
John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation
Dr. Newton’s work in the agricultural sector spans over the last decade. From 2004 to 2014 he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture as an agricultural economist working on issues related to commodity risk management and marketing. While serving in this role Dr. Newton worked as a fellow on the United States Senate Agriculture Committee and with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist on the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. Then John was on the faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign working in agricultural commodity markets. Dr. Newton now serves as Director of Market Intelligence for American Farm Bureau Federation. In 2016 he was appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to the agricultural trade advisory committee and advisory committee on agricultural statistics. John holds a Ph.D. and two Master’s degrees from The Ohio State University in applied and agricultural economics.
Gal Hochman, Rutgers University
Gal Hochman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. He received his Ph.D. in Economics at Columbia University in 2004. Gal is a resource economist whose work focuses on energy and the environment. His work is published in numerous journals, presented in various regional, national, and international conferences, and he is currently a board member of both the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association.
Andrew Muhammad, The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Andrew Muhammad is the Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural, Food, and Natural Resource Policy at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. In his position, Dr. Muhammad assists the state and nation’s agricultural decision makers in the evaluation of potential policies and programs dealing with agricultural commodities, food and nutrition, natural resources and international trade, as well as advocating for state and regional agricultural opportunities.
Before joining the University of Tennessee, Dr. Muhammad previously served as the associate director of the Market and Trade Economics Division and the chief of the International Demand and Trade Branch at the USDA Economic Research Service. There, Muhammad developed a large network of trade policy experts and forged solid working relationships with decision makers in the public and private sectors. His research on global food demand has been widely cited and used in economic and global models such as USDA’s baseline model, the GTAP model and IFPRI’s IMPACT model. Muhammad's current research focuses on agricultural trade and trade policy, effects of trade on developing countries and global food demand. He has written 49 refereed journal articles and approximately 30 reports and other publications and has served as the principal investigator or co-PI on funded research and outreach activities totaling $2.7 million. His accolades include the professional contribution award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
Earning his doctorate in food and resource economics from the University of Florida, Muhammad's dissertation on the derived demand for imported dairy products in selected international markets garnered two outstanding Ph.D. dissertation awards—one from the Food and Resource Economics Department and one from the Food Distribution Research Society. He also holds a Master of Science in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s in agribusiness from Southern University. He has traveled the globe as an invited speaker, as well as presenting to regional and national audiences.
Luis A. Ribera, Texas A&M University
Dr. Ribera received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Arkansas and his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, all in Agricultural Economics with emphases in Risk Analysis, Simulation and Econometric Modeling. Dr. Ribera is an Assistant Professor and Extension Economist for the Department of Agricultural Economics of the Texas A&M University System. He also serves as the International Programs Coordinator for the Agricultural and Food Policy Center. His research expertise includes applying risk analysis and econometric tools on business management and economic analysis. His current work focuses on economic feasibility studies of biofuels using different feedstock, and international market integration.
In the international arena, Dr. Ribera has been to Brazil several times to gather data and meet with industry experts on cotton, sugarcane and ethanol production. He is also working on a competitiveness analyses for crop production between the U.S. and Latin America. Since 2004, Dr. Ribera is a faculty member of the Master’s Program in Applied Economics and Business Administration, a partnership program between Texas A&M University and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Countries visited recently for different projects and/or teaching classes include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, and Peru.
Sean B. Cash, Tufts University
Sean B. Cash is an economist with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. His research focuses on how food, nutrition, and environmental interventions and policies affect both producers and consumers. Ongoing and recent projects in this area include the efficacy of food label and price interventions as public health and environmental tools, including linkages to disease incidence; children’s food choices in commercial and school environments; consumer interest in food labeling of ethical attributes of food production; economics aspects of obesity; economic barriers to adherence to diabetes treatments; the role of agricultural policies on nutrition; and how point-of-sale health messaging impacts consumers’ demand for food. He also conducts research in the areas of environmental regulation and resource conservation, including projects on climate change and tea production; household valuation of water system improvements in Mexico; and invasive species management.
Dr. Cash has been the Principal or Co-Investigator on over $5 million of research funding. His work has been funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, and Newman’s Own Foundation, among other sources.
Dr. Cash currently serves as Editor of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics and on the editorial board of Agribusiness. He is also co-Chair of the C-FARE Blue Ribbon Panel on Consumer Concerns about Food, Health and Safety, and has previously served the Chair of the Food Safety and Nutrition section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He has been involved extensively in policy and public-facing work, including testimony to the Canadian Parliament and service on a National Academy of Sciences panel on invasive species impacts of food trade. He was previously on faculty at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the University of Alberta, and has worked at Resources for the Future and Arnold & Porter.