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President's Column

December 2020

As we wrap up 2020, I know many folks are anxious to move on, but I want to take this one last chance to recognize how much our members have contributed to the education, engagement and thoughtful dialogue that was needed this year to heighten the public’s understanding and broaden their perspectives on so many emerging issues related to the agriculture, food, natural resource and the economy.

Please plan to join us for the 2021 virtual ASSA meetings starting January 3rd with a total of 5 sessions and highlighting Dr. William (Sandy) Darity Jr. presenting the T.W. Schultz lecture on “Reconsidering the Economics of Identity: Position, Power, and Property” at 6 pm Eastern on Sunday, January 3rd. All our AAEA events, including Dr. Darity’s talk, are open to all attending the ASSA meetings, so please promote this with your colleagues you know are attending. The full list of AAEA events on the ASSA program can be found at:

If there is one thing that 2020 made clear to me, it was that we have amazing professionals among our membership. In addition to recognizing a 2021 class of Fellows (that have been selected and will be announced shortly after the New Year), our Awards program is intended to recognize the best and brightest among our teachers, extension professionals, researchers, graduate students, communicators and mentors.  Please thoughtfully consider if there are members of your department, agency, sections, multi-state collaborations and peers that are worthy of nomination. The Awards Committee, led by Josh Duke, Alessandro Bonanno and Andrew Muhammad, updated the nomination information and criteria with their Committee and those nominations will be due February 8, 2021.

Although we always get a great set of nominations, we want to make sure everyone who is deserving is considered, so please consider nominating someone…and to help inspire you, CWAE has organized a January 8, 2020 webinar at 12 noon (Eastern) “How and Why to Pursue Professional Awards: Insights From Past Award Winners” (giving you one month to still prepare a good nomination packet). To register, visit:

We have received a great set of track session and invited paper sessions for the 2021 AAEA Annual Meeting in Austin in August, but we need you to help us round out the program. Please spend the next month to develop your organized symposia and selected presentation proposals to submit by January 20, 2021. We look forward to seeing what our members are working on.

We plan to meet with the Section leaders again in mid-January, and will begin forming some plans for how to allow for virtual offerings, even with the expectation that we will be able to have in-person meetings in Austin (since we got so much positive feedback that it allowed a wider set of membership to participate in Annual Meeting activities). Stay tuned for more news.

Finally, there has been an active set of innovations from our publications committee, Editors and other engaged members. There are continued discussion about adding another publication to our portfolio (in discussions with Wiley) and you will continue to see calls for special issues as we see emerging issues of relevance to our profession.

If you have not already, visit the sites of our publications to see their timely articles and special issues on:

Dawn Thilmany
AAEA President