John N. Ferris
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
Professor EmeritusAFRE Faculty, 1957-1997
East Lansing, MI
Ph.D., 1957. Michigan State University
M.S., 1952. Cornell University
B.S., 1951. Purdue University
- John N. (Jake) Ferris recognized by MSU Faculty Emeriti Association for Outstanding Contributions by an Individual. July 2009.
- John (Jake) Ferris Vita - 2014
Overview - In keeping with the true Land Grant tradition, Dr. Ferris’s career has blended extension, on-campus teaching and research with emphasis on agricultural price analysis, outlook and marketing strategies. For many years, he headed the outlook education program in Michigan, leading numerous marketing workshops for farmers and making extensive use of the mass media. He provided leadership for four college-wide projects on the long range prospects for rural Michigan. Ferris developed an undergraduate and a graduate course on commodity market analysis, the latter leading to the publication of a text book. His research centered on applied econometrics and the formulation of forecasting models. In retirement, after 40 years in the department, he has continued his professional activities mostly as a consultant on the economics of ethanol and biodiesel.
Extension/Outreach - Ferris considered the joint appointment in extension, teaching and research an advantage because of the complementarities among the three areas, each contributing to the other two sectors. For example, the feedback from his stakeholders of farmers, agribusinesses, extension agents, farm organizations, legislators, etc. provided guidance for Ferris’s research activity and also furnished ideas for the classroom. In producing over 1000 outlook articles, he wrote a monthly market page for a national livestock magazine for 10 years as well as a similar state-wide farm publication.
While the forecast period was mostly for the next year ahead, his interest in the longer run outlook was enhanced in the early 1960s when asked to provide leadership for a 10 year look ahead for Michigan agriculture and natural resources. This project, which brought together college faculty with rural leaders for a mutually beneficial exchange, was repeated three times in slightly different forms in the ensuing 30 years. His marketing education program featured three day workshops in which more that 8,000 farmers participated.
Teaching - Ferris developed an undergraduate course entitled “Commodity and Futures Marketing.” His graduate course, “Commodity Market Analysis,” was designed to help students develop analytical skills in applied econometrics. A majority of the students were either foreign or were interested in international development and were encouraged to select a commodity in their country to analyze. Class notes led to a textbook, Agricultural Prices and Commodity Market Analysis, published by WCB/McGraw-Hill in 1997. The book is in the second edition and has received a very favorable review in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. One of the chapters was selected by the World Bank for a web course on commodity price risk management in developing countries.
Research - Involved in his extension activities in short run forecasting of agricultural prices and long term projections, his research has been toward developing improved econometric/simulation models. Among his contributions to this area of economic analysis has been the rationale for agricultural enterprise gross margins in supply analysis and stochastic forecasting, particularly for crop yields. After several years working with colleagues in the department on developing and marketing an econometric model of U.S. agriculture on a large computer mainframe, he generated a desktop model called AGMOD which he has continued to maintain as a research tool. In the past four years, the model has been the base for two refereed papers, destined for publication in book form, on the impact of the expansion in renewable fuels over a 10 year forecast period. An invitation for a chapter on the same subject has been issued.
International - International experience involved overseas leadership conducting a USDA/MSU project on the impact of enlarging the European Economic Community in 1969-70. Also, Ferris was an active participant in a USAID/MSU project on agricultural development in South Korea in 1971-72.
Consulting - While on the faculty, Ferris consulted with a number of firms and organizations including President Nixon’s Cost of Living Council, the Tractor Division of Ford Motor Co., Dominos, and the Michigan sugarbeet and soybean industries. Since retiring in 1997, he has undertaken projects dealing with the economic impact of TB in the Michigan deer herd and projections of land use by agriculture in the state. Since early 2005, he has been writing monthly articles on biodiesel for Jacobsen Publishing, a private market new firm specializing in prices of by-products of agribusiness.
- “Distinguished Extension Program Award” presented by the American Agricultural Economics Association, 1975.
- “Outstanding Extension Specialist Awards” presented by the Michigan Extension Specialists’ Association (1980) and the Michigan Association of Extension Agents (1991).
- “Premiere Forecaster Awards,” several presented by the Extension Outlook Committee of the American Agricultural Economics Association, 1989 to 2008.
- “Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award” presented by the Michigan Farm Bureau, 1996.
- “Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Service to Agriculture” presented by the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association, 2007.
- “Out Standing Contributions by an Individual” presented by the MSU Faculty Emeriti Association 2009
- View list of advisees and respective theses/dissertations topics
- Professor Ferris developed an undergraduate course entitled “Commodity and Futures Marketing.”
- His graduate course, “Commodity Market Analysis,” was designed to help students develop analytical skills in applied econometrics. A majority of the students were either foreign or were interested in international development and were encouraged to select a commodity in their country to analyze.
- Class notes led to a textbook, Agricultural Prices and Commodity Market Analysis, published by WCB/McGraw-Hill in 1997. The book is in the second edition and has received a very favorable review in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. One of the chapters was selected by the World Bank for a web course on commodity price risk management in developing countries.
- View Ferris Publications at Ideas/RePEc
- John (Jake) Ferris Vita - 2014
- Selected publication listings from:
- Impacts of the Federal Energy Acts and Other Influences on Prices of Agricultural Commodities and Food. 2013. by John N. (Jake) Ferris. AEC/AFRE Staff Paper 2013-02
- The USDA/Land Grant Extension Outlook Program—A History and Assessment. 2010. by John N. Ferris
- Agricultural Prices and Commodity Market Analysis. 1998 and 2005. by John N. Ferris. WCB/McGraw Hill
- An Analysis of the Importance of Agriculture and the Food Sector to the Michigan Economy. 2000. by John N. Ferris.
- Contribution of the the Sugarbeet Industry to the Michigan Economy. 1990. by John N. Ferris. MSU Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station Research Report RR501
- Status and Potential of Michigan Natural Resources: Demographic, Social and Economics Trends. 1995. by John N. Ferris and Paul McVeigh. MSU Extension Service and Ag. Experiment Station Special Report SR69.
- The Impact on U.S. Agricultural Trade of the Accession of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Norway to the European Economic Community. 1971. by John N. Ferris, et al.
- Project ‘80 - Rural Michigan - Now and in 1980. 1966. by John N. Ferris, Project Director. MSU Research Report 37
- Michigan Agriculture - Present Position and Trends. 1961. by John N. Ferris. AgEcon Bulletin 832.
- Korean Agricultural Sector Simulation Model. [1971 – 1973]
- Korean Agricultural Sector Study (KASS) - Adapting and Testing of Agricultural Simulation Models to Sector Analysis. [1971 – 1976]
- Agriculture Sector Analysis and Simulation Projects – An Overview. [1966 – 1979]
- Assessment of Changes in the Grain-Livestock and Trade of the European Economic Community. [1965 – 1983]