Three goodbyes and one hello for OSU’s AEDE

In 1980 Doug Southgate, Cam Thraen and Carl Zulauf each started academic careers as Assistant Professors in OSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. Thirty-five years later, each is retiring from OSU’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE), leaving remarkable individual legacies in teaching, research and public engagement.

The co-author of six books, Southgate has influenced many students through his contributions to classroom favorites including the The World Food Economy and Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, while engaging more general audiences with titles such as Globalized Fruit: Transnational Firms, Tropical Entrepreneurs and Governments, and Independent Banana Development. Southgate’s extensive research portfolio occurs at the interface of development economics and environmental economics with a strong focus on Latin America. Southgate was a recipient of a Fullbright Fellowship to Ecuador and has served the University and Department in many important service roles ranging from the Department’s Undergraduate Director to Director of the University’s Center for International Studies. His engaging style and lively banter will be missed by students across the OSU campus.

Thraen has provided important insights into the dairy market dynamics and worked to help penetrate the policy implications of proposed and enacted dairy provisions in various farm bills. Thraen’s ability to collaborate and organize efforts with other dairy economists across the country to develop effective and highly demand educational programs in response to risk management and policy needs in the dairy sector has resulted in multiple awards from American Agricultural Economics Association. Work with his Ph.D. advisee John Newton was also influential in guiding dairy policy discussions in Washington, DC. Thraen has also regularly shared his abilities and enthusiasm for number crunching with OSU students during regular offerings of quantitatively demanding courses that prepare students for the next phase of their careers.

Zulauf has provided unique insights into U.S. farm policy and the program options available to U.S. farmers, which is not surprising given his role in influencing federal agricultural commodity policy and his role as policy advisor to Senator John Glenn during the 1985 Farm Bill cycle. In 2008, Zulauf developed a conceptual framework that became the basis for the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, which was crafted into legislation and introduced to the 2008 Farm Bill debate by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. The ACRE program was eventually secured as policy in the 2008 Farm Bill (Food, Energy and Conservation Act of 2008). OSU students will also miss Zulauf’s unique and demanding Socratic teaching style, which has garnered Zulauf numerous local and national teaching awards throughout his years at Ohio State.

With more than 100 years of experience engaging classroom and outreach audiences among them, these three scholars will be missed by their colleagues in the department though, luckily for the department and OSU students, each has indicated willingness to continue to engage with OSU students in the classroom at some point in the future.

While it is difficult to bid farewell to these colleagues the department is proud to welcome Ani Katchova to its faculty ranks as an associate professor. Katchova assumes the roles as the Farm Income Enhancement Chair and as the inaugural Director of OSU’s Center for Cooperatives. She received her Ph.D. from AEDE in 2001 and has gathered extensive experience at sister departments at the University of Illinois and the University of Kentucky where she conducted extensive research in agricultural finance, agribusiness management and cooperatives. With multiple visiting scholar appointment as USDA’s Economic Research Service in Washington, DC, including one spell as a AAAS Science and Technology Fellow, Katchova is intimately familiar with the economics of the U.S. farm sector and has received multiple awards for both research and teaching. Katchova has been actively meeting with leaders of agricultural cooperatives and looks forward to developing innovative educational opportunities related to cooperatives and farm income enhancement opportunities for stakeholders in Ohio and beyond.

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