On February 10, 2016 USDA Economists Group President Steve Neff opened the organization’s 25th Annual Meeting in the South Building Cafeteria. He noted that the Group brings together economists from USDA, the private sector, and academia. John E. Lee, former ERS Administrator and Chairman of the Agricultural Economics Department at Mississippi State University, then spoke of the importance of the work of economists at USDA in presenting and analyzing the consequences of policy choices.
After the opening remarks, Mary Bohman, Administrator of ERS, presented the Economist of the Year Award to Andrea Carlson of the Food Markets Branch of the Food Economics Division of ERS for her analysis of the affordability of healthy diets.
The Fred Woods Award honors a current or past USDA economist for his or her work in developing, analyzing or interpreting public policy, or educating colleagues, peers or the public on policy issues and topics. Thomas Worth of RMA received the Woods Award for his work in assessment of the critical program indications for the Crop Insurance Program.
The Bruce Gardner Award is given annually to an economist who has provided outstanding analysis and service in improving programs and policy. Patrick Westhoff of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri received this award for his numerous policy analyses.
The John E. Lee Award for Sustained Excellence in Team Economic Analysis went to the Country of Origin Labeling Team (Bill Hahn (ERS), Keithly Jones (ERS), Warren Preston (OCE), and Sharon Sydow (OCE)) for their work in economic analysis for litigation of the rule