On January 24, USDA Economists Group President Steve Neff opened the organization’s 26th Annual Meeting in Whitten 107A. He noted that the Group brings together economists from USDA, the private sector, and academia and recalled the 18th Annual Meeting, when Sec. Vilsack praised the work of economists.
Barbara Fecso of FSA received the Economist of the Year Award for her work on the existing U.S.-Mexico suspension agreement governing sugar trade and her continued hard work and dedication to the successful management of the U.S. sugar market.
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. Bengt (Skip) Hyberg of FSA received the Woods Award for sustained excellence in policy leadership and the development of new scientific and economic methods of analyzing conservation actions.
The Bruce Gardner Award is given annually to an economist who has provided outstanding analysis and service in improving programs and policy. Chief Economist Robert Johansson and Deputy Chief Economist Warren Preston accepted the award for Wyatt Thompson of the University of Missouri. Prof. Thompson received the award for his analyses of the effects of biofuel standards in agricultural markets and for coordinating a report examining the potential benefits and costs of reorganizing USDA to focus on trade.
The John E. Lee Award for Sustained Excellence in Team Economic Analysis went to Dan Cook (FAS), Fred Gale (ERS), and Sharon Sydow (OCE) of the China Domestic Support Team for outstanding efforts in providing the foundation for the U.S. World Trade Organization legal challenge to China’s excess level of domestic support. Working under tight deadlines, the team collected and analyzed an extensive volume of data from primary Chinese statistical, regulatory, and legislative sources. Their exertions proved instrumental in an ongoing enforcement action in the WTO dispute settlement process. Additionally, the quality of their work set a high standard for economic analyses in future trade disputes.