Richard Glenn Heifner
Richard Glenn Heifner was born on his grandfather's farm five miles east of Greenfield, Iowa on January 9, 1934. He grew up on his father's farm three and one-half miles north and two miles east of Greenfield. Richard and his sister, Ramona, attended the one-room school, Grove No. 8 at the southeast corner of their dad's farm. Based on their eighth-grade examination scores, Richard and two other Adair County eighth-grade students competed in and won the Iowa State Fair Quiz Derby in 1948. Richard was valedictorian of his Greenfield High School class in 1952. He studied agricultural education at Iowa State College graduating in 1956 as high scholarship student in the Division of Agriculture.
During the summer of 1956 he worked as county youth assistant in Maquoketa County, Iowa. He served for two years, mostly in Germany, as a forward observer and survey officer in the Army artillery upon completing his active military service he entered graduate school in agricultural economics at Iowa State. He and Marjorie Martin were married in 1960. The union produced three children, Steven, Catherine, and John.
Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 1963, Richard joined the agricultural economics faculty at Michigan State University. His research dealt primarily with agricultural price behavior, farmer hedging, and the organization and performance of agricultural markets. While at Michigan State he published path-breaking research on how optimal levels of hedging in commodity futures could be determined by statistical analysis of commodity prices and developed and demonstrated a simulated computerized egg exchange.
In 1969, Richard moved to the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. USDA was responsible for regulating futures trading at that time. Richard conducted and led studies of the behavior of agricultural prices, optimal hedging levels for selected commodities at different locations, information systems for regulating futures markets, milk marketing and other topics. He served as chief economist for the Agricultural Marketing Service in 1980 and 1981, during which time he led a study of fruit and vegetable marketing orders. Returning to ERS, he continued to conduct and lead studies related to futures and options trading and crop insurance and to advise the secretary's office on policies relating to commodity futures and options and other topics.
Richard valued reason, compassion, justice, and the dignity of all individuals. In Virginia, he served as a Boy Scout leader for 14 years and as a church elder. He was a longtime member of the American Agricultural Economics Association and served on their Board of Directors and as Senior Section secretary. In Louisville, he belonged to the All Peoples (formerly Thomas Jefferson) Unitarian Church, the Louisville Humanists, the Louisville Committee for Foreign Relations and a social cycling group. He helped lead an investment group and served on the church's endowment board twice. He delivered meals to the elderly for over a decade.
Richard was an enthusiastic traveler and amateur photographer. (He visited each state more than once, traveled to Europe a dozen times and Asia once, and enjoyed six cruises with his wife, Marjorie.) He was a long-term survivor of bladder cancer and prostate cancer. He bicycled regularly for exercise and frequently with groups until late in life. Richard died on July 24, 2022, at the age of 88.
Richard is survived by his wife, his three children, nine grandchildren, seven great grandchildren.