Dan Clay

Dan Clay

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Department of Community Sustainability


Dan Clay is Professor and Director, Global Programs in Sustainable Agri-food Systems in the Department of Community Sustainability. He is a contributor to the CSUS International Development thematic area. His work in agricultural and rural development focuses on issues of sustainable food and agricultural value chain development (high value exports), food security, food aid impacts, household livelihood strategies, relief-development linkages, conservation investments, sustainable agricultural intensification, and household survey methodologies.

These interrelated programmatic interests and experiences are represented in Dan’s extensive record of professional publications, media interventions, grants administration, consultancies and other professional activities. The impacts of his international development programs have been featured in TIME Magazine, New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN/Money, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Detroit Free Press and many other newspapers, magazines and online journals. Dan is the recipient of the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award (2012), an award that gives national recognition for a career of outstanding contributions that advance international education. He is also the co-recipient of the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize in 2004 awarded for the best article published by the Journal of Development Studies in the economics category.

His current/recent research and international development activities include smallholder food security and coffee value chain development in Rwanda and Burundi; satellite-based methods for forecasting and famine early warning in Senegal; and horticulture value chains and food safety in Vietnam and Thailand (WTO sponsored) and Rwanda (EU sponsored). Dan’s domestic research program focuses on sports analytics, notably the ecological and organizational determinants of performance and success in college athletics.

Dan regularly serves as an advisor to the World Bank, World Trade Organization, the European Union and other international organizations and agencies as an expert in food security, export market development, data systems, and agricultural policy.

Dan lived and worked in Rwanda as the MSU In-country Director of Michigan State University’s Food Security research program there during the crisis years 1992-1994. He is the originator and six-year Director (2000-2006) of the Partnership to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) project. PEARL demonstrated phenomenal success at enabling rural communities to improve livelihoods through coffee and horticulture export value chain development.  He is also the lead developer/innovator of the Partnerships for Food Industry Development in Fruits and Vegetables (PFID-F&V) at Michigan State University (2000-2010). PFID-F&V was a high-profile program committed to strengthening horticulture and specialty coffee value chains around the world. Through this project over 35 local, regional and multinational private sector and NGO alliances were developed, helping to drive the program and directly link producers to markets.

Prior to joining Michigan State University Dan worked for eight years as an International Technical Advisor and Survey Statistician for the International Statistical Programs Center, implementing household surveys, censuses and analysis programs throughout Africa.  Countries in which he has maintained research, education, and outreach activities include: Burundi, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Selected Publications:

Clay, Daniel C., J. Turetsinze and Nathan J. Clay. Baseline Report on the Rwanda Horticulture Organisations Survey (RHOS). Final Report. Rwanda National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB). 2014.

Clay, Daniel C., Aniseh S. Bro and Nathan J. Clay. “How Does Travel Affect NCAA Basketball Outcomes?” Winthrop Intelligence. 2014.

Clay, Daniel C., et al. “Export Crops: Toward a Significant Contribution to Growth.” In Baghdadli, Harborne and Rajadel, Breaking the Cycle: A Strategy for Conflict-sensitive Rural Growth in Burundi. World Bank Working Paper No. 147. 2008.

Clay, Daniel C., E. Kamwenubusa and J. Hussein. “Coffee Value Chain Study.” Burundi Agribusiness Program. USAID. 59 pp. 2008.

Christopher Barrett and Daniel Clay. “How Accurate is Self-Targeting of Food-for-Work in the Presence of Imperfect Factor Markets? Evidence from Ethiopia.” Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 39, No. 5. 2003. Article awarded the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize (cash prize for best article in Volume) for Volume 39.

Clay, Daniel C., Daniel Molla, and Debebe Habtewold. "Food Aid Targeting in Ethiopia: A Study of Who Needs it and Who Gets it." Food Policy, Vol 24 (4). 1999.

Clay, Daniel C., Thomas Reardon, and Jaakko Kangasniemi. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Soil Conservation and Fertility." Economic Development and Cultural Change, Vol 46 (2): 351-377. 1998.