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Office of Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp

Today Governor Brian P. Kemp is proud to announce the appointment of long-time University of Georgia professor Jeffrey H. Dorfman as State Fiscal Economist. The State Fiscal Economist develops forecasts based on Georgia's tax revenue, works closely with bond rating agencies on revenue and economic trends, and manages the development of fiscal impact estimates on tax-related legislative proposals.

Jeffrey Dorfman, University of Georgia

President's Message

David Zilberman
AAEA President

July 2019

This is my last Presidential Column and it was an honor and a pleasure to serve as the AAEA President. When I took this position, I expected to emphasize enhancing mentoring, improve services to members, and expand membership. But this year we had to face some challenges that occupied most of our time. First, the threat to the viability of the Economic Research Service (ERS). The members of the board and I were alarmed by the combination of significant reduction the ERS’s funds in the president’s budget, the proposal to move the ERS from the research arm of the USDA (REE) to the Office of the Chief Economist, and to relocate ERS outside of Washington, D.C. I always celebrated the freedom that the ERS had to study a broad range of issues and analyze rich databases associated with U.S. agriculture and the environment. The research by economists in the USDA has not only provided administrations with insight regarding immediate policy needs, but also provided a better understanding of the agrifood system overall. The risk facing support for agricultural research forced us to hire a government relations representative and to become actively involved in advocating for the profession of agricultural economics. This was not an easy decision to make, but I feel that we need to be involved and provide our membership an outlet to pursue continuous support and obtain adequate resources for agricultural economic research. Of course, we limit our lobbying efforts to represent the shared interest in a strong and well supported discipline. Thus far, we learned that the ERS will continue to remain part of the REE, but is planned to move to Kansas City around September. The lion’s share of the economists at the ERS will not move, which will compromise the ability of the agency to conduct applied research in times that are difficult for agriculture. We will work with department heads and others to prevent the move. But more importantly, if the move occurs we will work hard to make sure the departing employees are replaced and the capacity of the ERS to maintain top-quality research for the nation and the world is not compromised.

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