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President's Column

August 2019

AAEA, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your President this year. If you attended my Presidential Address, you heard me speak to the relevance of the profession. Thank you to the many individuals who came forward and offered to work on making us a more relevant organization going forward. We will continue to have more discussions about how to achieve this goal. I encourage members to consider how to better train our students to engage with non-economists and policy makers. Lastly, I challenge us to consider how to expand engagement with our graduates working in industry.

I also want to apologize for some errors in the awards program. We are working to do better next year. When members earn awards, we want to insure they receive proper recognition. Congratulations to all the 2019 award winners. I do want to mention the great opportunity we had to engage with the Center for Disease Control while in Atlanta. Health economics is a growing and exciting part of our profession, and I understand that a proposal to form a health economics section is in development to be submitted to the AAEA Board. Finally, I participated in a tremendous post-conference mentoring workshop led by Madhu Khanna. It was fun for me and greatly beneficial for our younger members. Watch for details of another workshop coming in the next year.

The AAEA Board has begun a revision of the AAEA strategic plan for 2020 and beyond. We have decided to add a fourth focus area – financial viability - to our three current foci:

  • Culture of Engagement
  • Mentoring Programs
  • Communicating through Media Relations & Government Relations

Expect to hear more from the Board soon regarding developing details under these four areas. Also, expect to receive an email soon regarding a new CWAE/COSBAE survey entered around the diversity and inclusivity climate within our profession. This is an important endeavor. Please participate so that we can gain accurate information that can guide us moving forward. I also want to note that CWAE is looking at teaching evaluations and best practices for evaluating teaching in a way that avoids biases.

AAEA continues to monitor and engage on the funding and support for agricultural and applied economics within the USDA Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

  • A number of members of our profession are profoundly personally and professionally affected by these changes.
  • We’ve received assurances that no information, research opportunities, or data products will be lost in this shuffle. But it will take significant effort to ensure this does not happen.
  • We are ready to assist anyway that we can as these agencies transition.  Please watch for job announcements and help find a way to restaff as possible. This will include both entry and positions that are more senior.  Caron Gala and the government relations committee continue to collect information and represent us on these issues. 

The 2020 AAEA Annual Meeting will be in Kansas City next year. We are already at work putting together a strong program with some new activities and events. You can also make AAEA 2020 better by proposing great track sessions and pre and post conference workshops.

                        Keith Coble
                        AAEA President