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President's Column

October 2020

It is so amazing to me that we are well into the Fall and the AAEA community continues to be active. There have been dozens of organized symposia, track sessions, undergraduate and graduate competitions and webinars extending the timeframe of our Annual Meeting, showcasing the scope and engagement of our membership. I have been excited to get to participate in over 25 since August, and continue to learn how broad the talents of our members, sections and partners across the ag, food, natural resource and community spectrum are being engaged to help our teaching, research, outreach and service missions.

1) AAEA will have an exciting and active program embedded in the broader 2021 Virtual ASSA meetings this January. We will be naming our T.W. Schultz Memorial Lecturer in the near future, but the list of AAEA Sessions is available at the link below. Sessions include some timely topics such as; Highlights from the AEPP COVID special issue and a look at how COVID is affecting Rural America, how Big Data is being used to monitor food emergencies, ag contracting and food quality and certifications. For more information and to stay informed on session times, bookmark this link:

We also hope to be active with other Associations who are holding virtual meetings in early 2021, including Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in early February. I know many of us cannot usually budget the time or money to attend, but this year will mark a great opportunity to connect with these (and other) international colleagues.

2) Planning for the Austin Annual Meeting in August 2021 is already underway and Sections have been allocated their Tracks, so you have likely received (or will soon hear from) your leadership on ways to get involved with the 2021 program. We do hope many Sections consider adding virtual sessions to their plans as well given the popularity of online sessions this fall but know each Section will consider what is best for their membership.

Look for announcements on the timeline to submit Selected Presentations, Organized Symposia, Invited Papers, and Awards in the near future with deadlines on December 3, 2020, January 20, 2021, and in February of 2021. Please start thinking about how you want to contribute to our program, and worthy colleagues to recognize with an Award nomination.

3) The AAEA Board will be posting our updated Strategic Plan with a significant revision after considering how we can add a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) lens to our programming. In the meantime, there are a number of committees and sections planning and coordinating to develop new professional development, mentoring, publication and membership opportunities to learn, engage and participate in strengthening our support of DEI efforts for the benefit of our members. I am particularly excited about a new and diverse framing of our mentoring events (under the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Liang and a very active committee) that have already happened in 2020, with more to come in 2021.

Finally, thanks to all of you who have kept AAEA as a vibrant professional community during a year with so many changes and unexpected dynamics. You are all integral to helping us all feel a bit more connected in an era of mostly virtual interactions.

Dawn Thilmany
AAEA President