University Distinguished Professor Scott Swinton Named an AAEA Fellow

AFRE's Scott Swinton Receives AAEA's Highest Professional Honor

The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional organization in its field.  This January the AAEA named five Fellows, including Scott Swinton, a Professor in MSU’s Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE). For Swinton, this is his third professional honor in the last year, following his designation in July as a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University and his receipt in October of the Outstanding Ph.D. Alumni award in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota.

Reflecting on this latest honor, Professor Swinton says, “To be an AAEA Fellow means that members of our profession think I’ve done something worthwhile.  Since I work a lot with researchers from other disciplines, it is nice to have this seal of approval from peers in my own discipline.”

The AAEA is the leading professional organization in the field of agricultural and applied economics and annually recognizes up to one fellow for every 800 members.  Fellows are chosen based on their contributions to research, teaching, extension, administration, and or contributions to public or private sector decision making. The Fellow title is the organizations highest honor for professional accomplishment.  

Professor and Chairperson of AFRE, Titus Awokuse, said, “This is a very special honor in our profession, and it highlights Scott Swinton’s place among the best and brightest scholars and educators in the field of agricultural and applied economics. In addition to his commendable achievements as a scholar and teacher, Scott Swinton is a well-rounded person with high emotional intelligence. He is a willing and selfless person who has made a positive impact on many lives as a servant-leader, mentor, and friend.”

Professor Swinton is an internationally recognized expert on how to improve agricultural systems.  Swinton’s research has helped farmers, enhanced environmental conservation, and informed policy decisions throughout the United States, Africa and Latin America.  Swinton has authored over 90 journal articles, edited three books, written 25 book chapters; his work has been cited over 10,000 times.  In addition to a successful research career, Swinton has advised over 30 graduate students, one-third of whom won outstanding thesis awards.  Swinton has taken on leadership roles in the profession, culminating in his service as president of the AAEA during 2017-2018.

When asked what he is most proud of in his career as an applied economist Swinton says, “Four things come to mind.  I am proud of what I’ve done to frame how we think about agriculture as a managed ecosystem.  I am proud of my students and the research and learning we’ve done together.  I am proud of having published articles that many others have found worth reading, including many outside of economics.  Finally, I am proud of and grateful for what the AAEA achieved while I served as its president.

AFRE colleague, and 2014 AAEA Fellow, Professor Tom Reardon led the nominating process for Dr. Swinton.  Reardon says he nominated Swinton because, “Scott has made extraordinary contributions to the profession for 30+ years through: (1) global leadership in research on the economics of ecosystem services and relationships between agricultural technology adoption and the environment; (2) passionate and innovative teaching; and (3) enormous service to the profession.” Reardon added that “Scott has been a light and guide to the whole profession; we are grateful to have him as a colleague.”  Swinton was nominated for the award by his peers but ultimately chosen by the AAEA Fellows Selection Committee.

Dr. Swinton is now the ninth AFRE faculty member in the department’s history to receive this honor and the fifth current member, joining Professors Tom Reardon, Bob Myers, Thom Jayne, and David Hennessy.

For Swinton, “This record of distinction says two things about AFRE.  First, we’re doing work that our profession finds important.  Second, we have built the kind of supportive community that strives for excellence and helps one another to thrive.  We owe that community culture in part to strong, inclusive leaders over the past two decades.”

As an AAEA Fellow Swinton is looking forward to continuing to give back to the profession that has meant so much to him.  Swinton says, “I am surrounded by some very exciting, younger scholars.  I look forward to collaborating with them in teaching and research, as well as to providing them the kind of support that I have been so fortunate to enjoy from my peers.”

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