From the Chairperson

Since the 1960s, the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) has worked in many of the world’s poorest countries in an effort to increase incomes and improve nutrition.

August 27, 2013

Steve Hanson

Since the 1960s, the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) has worked in many of the world’s poorest countries in an effort to increase incomes and improve nutrition.   The work of our faculty members, students and alumni has played a key role in establishing MSU as the world leader in international agricultural development.  Because of the importance of international programming to both the AFRE and Michigan State University), I have agreed to serve as the interim dean of International Studies and Programs beginning Sept.12.  We expect to have a new permanent dean in place by spring.  Until then, Lindy Robison has agreed to serve as a second associate chair along with Scott Swinton, who currently serves as both associate chair and director of graduate programs.  They are a seasoned team that will help ensure that the many efforts under way in the department continue to move forward.

Sadly, we say good-by to Jim Bonnen, who passed away July 28.  Jim was one of the giants – a colleague whose impact on the department, the university, the profession and policy makers continues to be felt today.  I’ll always remember the hallway talks with Jim when I was a young faculty member.  Getting a small glimpse into the way he saw our world no doubt helped broaden my thinking and influenced me both professionally and personally.  You can find more details on Jim’s life and career under AFRE Passages.

In our first feature story, Dave Schweikhardt examines the current Farm Bill debate, showing, interestingly, how earlier work by Jim Bonnen remains relevant today.  Our second story covers how graduate students evaluated alternatives for MSU’s next generation power plant strategy in Satish Joshi’s graduate course, “Business, the Environment and Sustainability.” Our third feature recounts the pivotal role of an internship with the International Fund for Agricultural Development for doctoral candidate Ramziath Adjao.

Please check out the newly redesigned website for the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (now at  www.afre.msu.edu). And thanks to Scott Loveridge for his grit and leadership in managing the makeover.

Steve Hanson

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