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President's Column

January 2016

The AAEA Executive Board engaged in a productive meeting at the recent Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  The Board made several important decisions that will impact the future of the association, including assessing the implementation of our strategic vision and how we can improve.  Frank Wolak of Stanford University gave the T.W. Schultz Lecture on solving the west’s water problem.  AAEA invited paper sessions were excellent. 

As we embark on a new year, I want to review a few highlights for AAEA in 2015.  First, our membership is growing.  At the end of 2015, we had 2,686 members, which is an increase of more than 200 members from the same time last year. 

I am also excited that the number and diversity of Sections is growing, which helps our members engage with colleagues who share their specific interests.  For example, the new Brewing and Enology Economic Research (BEER) Section was established in 2015 and will host a pre-conference workshop in the form of a beer industry tour at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Boston, MA.  This private tour will examine the craft brewing industry in Boston with discussions on the economics of beer and brewing at each stop along the way.  

Another highlight for the AAEA is that the back issues of American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE) and Review of Agricultural Economics (RAE) are now archived on Research Papers in Economics (RePEc).  This is important because it impacts the rankings of many academic departments and provides increased recognition to some of our top researchers. 

We have many accomplishments and challenges to reflect on in the implementation of our strategic vision, which has been a major focus for the Executive Board in 2015 and for the future.  As part of our “communicating out” strategy, we are striving to raise the profile of AAEA’s publications: AJAE, AEPP, and Choices Magazine.  We have asked the editors to identify articles that may be of interest to a broader audience outside of the profession.  Our AAEA Communications Manager, Jay Saunders, will work with willing authors to promote their articles via traditional and new media distribution channels prior to journal print publication.  The potential audiences include bloggers, social media, mass media, peer organizations, trade associations, commodity groups, consumer groups, and NGOs.  Jay will also provide C-FARE with summaries and links to AAEA articles for inclusion in their bimonthly newsletter about policy-relevant research for congressional staff and federal agencies.

At the ASSA meeting AAEA’s contract with C-FARE was approved for 2016. The Board approved additional funds as part of a coalition to complete a “Priorities and Solutions” project. This project will provide the profession with the opportunity to shape its own future.  It identifies and communicates research opportunities to our stakeholders so that they get excited about what we are doing and what we can do. AAEA aims to spur greater understanding of the important applied economics research in intramural (USDA ERS) and extramural (USDA NIFA and NSF’s SBE/INFEWS) programs. However, to be successful, the project requires input from you, AAEA members. We will be reaching out to you for your input; I encourage you to respond when asked or surveyed.

I wish all of our valued AAEA members a productive and rewarding new year. 

Jill McCluskey
AAEA President