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President's Message

August, 2023

Thank you to all those who were able to attend the AAEA meetings in Washington DC. We had a little over 1600 attendees. The Executive Board met before the start of the meetings and approved several new initiatives, including the creation of the following new task forces:

  1. Access Task Force to work on how AAEA can foster a more inclusive environment and make it easier for members to attend the meetings.
  2. Expanding the charge of the Membership Committee to include “engagement” to further support engagement of new members and former members in the work of the AAEA.
  3. Well-Being Task Force to explore and assess how AAEA can further support the health and well-being of members.
  4. Publications Task Force to develop a strategic plan for our publications and figure out ways to increase the pipeline and diversity of editors for our journals. Journal revenues are important, and journals are critical for the success of our members. We need a clear strategy on how to support our portfolio of publications to ensure the success of the journals.
  5. We have a new initiative with ERS to build a program to increase the pipeline of diverse members, consistent with our strategic plan. A working committee has been formed to work on this.

I’ll discuss the makeup of these task forces and provide updates in the next newsletters.

The Board has approved a proposal from Jason Bergtold (AETR editor) and Na Zuo to hold a “AAEA Teaching Academy” targeted to graduate students, new faculty, and faculty that wanted to increase their teaching effectiveness or learn new skills. The teaching academy would be attached to the AAEA meetings (as a pre- or post- conference). Additional activities would include online teaching videos and a web page hosted by AETR, a graduate teaching certificate and mentoring program, amongst others.

The Board, with help from our government relations representative Lowell Randel and the department chairs/heads, is also working on changing the classification of agricultural economics and agribusiness to a STEM field. We have submitted a letter to DHS requesting the addition of CIPs representing agricultural business and management (which includes agricultural economics) and environmental/natural resource economics as STEM-designated degrees. We do not know how long this will take but we will keep you posted as we progress with the approval process.

We also discussed potential locations for our annual meetings in 2028 and beyond that can lower the costs and make it cheaper for members to attend. Our AAEA staff, led by executive director Kristen McGuire, will be working on this and recommend potential sites to the board.

Congratulations to all 2023 AAEA award winners and new Fellows (Marc Bellemare, Keith Fuglie, Elena Irwin, David Pannell, Dawn Thilmany, and Holly Wang) and to our new Appreciation Clubs for Carlos Arnade, Julie Caswell, Scott Rozelle, James Wilen, and David Zilberman. Appreciation Clubs give donors and AAEA members the opportunity to contribute to the AAEA Trust in the name of prominent agricultural and applied economists.

I would like to extend my wholehearted appreciation and deep gratitude to Norbert Wilson for his leadership as our President over the past year. His unwavering dedication and commitment have been invaluable in guiding our association.  I would also like to express sincere thanks to the three departing board members, Titus Awokuse, Carola Grebitus, and Madhu Khanna for their selfless service and contributions. A special thank you also goes to our AAEA staff (Kristen McGuire, Allison Ware, Mary Annen, Austin Sparbel, Jessica Weister, and Michael Storey) for their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to AAEA.

Lastly, we will greatly miss the service and wisdom of David Baumann, the retiring COO of Executive Director, Inc. (EDI), the association management company that manages AAEA. Dave has worked with us since 2007. He received the AAEA Presidential Recognition Award in 2009. The AAEA board will be working with Kay Whalen, President of EDI, as our EDI consulting partner upon Dave’s retirement this fall.

Rudy Nayga
AAEA President