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From The President - Steve Neff

Last week, the USDA Economists Group had its annual meeting and awards presentations. This annual event is one of the highlights of the year for the Group. We were fortunate to be joined by ERS Administrator Mary Bohman, USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson, and FFAS Acting Deputy Under Secretary Jason Hafemeister. For the second consecutive year, it was a treat to have former ERS Administrator John Lee with us.

The award winners were as follows:

Economist of the Year: Barbara Fecso (FSA) for her work on sugar policy this year. Fred Woods Award: Skip Hyberg (FSA) for his leadership and analysis of the Conservation Reserve Program for over 30 years. Bruce Gardner Award: Wyatt Thompson (University of Missouri) for his analysis on the Renewable Fuels Standard and the effort to establish a USDA Under Secretary for Trade.

The John E. Lee Award for Sustained Excellence in Team Economic Analysis: Dan Cook (FAS), Fred Gale (ERS), and Sharon Sydow (OCE) for their economic analysis supporting the filing of a WTO case against China’s agricultural support policies.

Dues collection continues for 2017. If you have already paid your $15 for annual, calendar-year membership, thank you. If not, please renew or join via Paypal here,!__registration or click on the orange “Join US!” button on the home page: , or by check payable to USDA Economists Group to Bill Janis, Treasurer, whose contact information is at the end of the newsletter and at the link above.

Board meetings are the first Tuesday of the month at noon. For February, the meeting will be at 12:30 on February 7 in Room 4057 in the USDA South Building. Any member or prospective member is welcome to attend. Several positions on our Board are available, and those doing double duty would be happy to give a helping hand to an individual who is willing. Please call or email me or another Board member for a no-obligation inquiry.

We will be having seminars/webinars throughout the year and hope you will join us in person or on line. Please call or email me or another Board member for a no-obligation inquiry.

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