AFRE People news - Fall 2013

Faculty and staff news from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics

December 18, 2013

On Sept. 8, Nango Dembele was named Mali’s new vice minister of rural development, in charge of livestock, fisheries and food security. In his previous role as an AFRE faculty member, Dembele has coordinated MSU’s food security research and outreach program in West Africa from a base in Bamako, Mali.

On Sept. 8, Cheick Oumar Diarrah, former visiting scholar in AFRE, was named Mali’s new minister of national reconciliation and development of the Northern Regions.

Taylor Logan began work Sep. 9 as administrative assistant to the department chair of AFRE. She currently manages schedules for Steve Hanson and Lindon Robison. She came from the Office of the Dean of the College of Engineering. Her office is 202 Morrill Hall of Agriculture.

Former AFRE department secretary Patricia (Pat) Neumann, 68, passed away on Oct. 18 in Pace, Fla. Pat started work in the MSU Agricultural Economics department in 1978 and retired in 2008 after 30 years of service. View her obituary at

Brenda Reau moved June 1 into a new role as associate director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio. As assistant director of the Product Center during the previous two years, she supervised the innovation counselor network. Her office is in Farrall Hall.


Faculty Awards

Thom Jayne was honored as a fellow of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) at the Fourth AAAE Meetings in Hammamet, Tunisia, in September.

David Ortega was named 2013 Applebaum Outstanding Dissertation Award Winner by the Food Distribution Research Society in Chicago, Oct. 8. In addition, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has selected him as a member of the 2014 Academy for Global Engagement.

Tom Pierson, professor emeritus, was initiated into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in Chicago on Nov. 4.

At a ceremony at the presidential palace on Nov. 23, John Staatz, professor emeritus, was named an “Officier de l’ordre national du Mali” (Officer of the National Order of Mali), one the highest honors that the Malian government can bestow. The award honors the contributions of Dr. Staatz and his collaborators at enhancing food security over more than two decades. 

Student Awards and Honors

Doctoral student Ramziath Adjao received the Most Promising Young Scientist award at the Africa Rice Congress, which took place Oct. 21–24 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Uchook Duangbootsee has been awarded a Ph.D. Dissertation Completion Fellowship by the MSU Graduate School for spring semester 2014.

On Nov. 22, Leah Harris won second place prize for her graduate research presentation at the inaugural Environmental Science and Policy Program’s Research Symposium on the theme of sustainability, policy and governance.

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