The Department of Agricultural Economics is proud to announce four new faculty members for Fall 2018
Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Economics
Meilin Ma will join the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Economics as an Assistant Professor in August 2018. Meilin expects to earn her Ph.D. degree from UC Davis in June 2018. Before studying agricultural economics at UC Davis, she majored in Accounting and Finance in the University of Hong Kong. Being an exchange student at UC Davis for two quarters back in 2011 led her to the world of agriculture where she found true passion in agricultural economics. Since then, she has enjoyed learning and doing research on agriculture related economic issues.
Meilin’s research keeps a balanced focus on theory and econometric application. She pays special attention to biological characteristics of the agricultural sector and always tries to generate interesting and practical research questions based on field observations and communication with people from the industry. Her primary research interests include the resource allocation and producer organizations along supply chains, market structure, and agricultural/food policy.
Meilin’s Dissertation, Earthbound Labor and Transitory Land Arrangements in China, examines the distorted allocation of farmland and labor under imperfect land tenure and limited social benefits granted to Chinese agricultural households. It is the first to characterize and model the complex and transitory arrangements of fragmented farmland over multiple cropping seasons in China today. The Dissertation is an integrated piece with the first half estimating the efficiency loss labor allocation by smallholder households and the second half examining the inefficiency in land use by relatively large farms which rent in field plots from the smallholders. For labor alone, the loss of allocative efficiency in China amounts to tens billions of dollars per year. Meilin has strong interest and solid experience in conducting field surveys in rural China and collected the data for her Dissertation in Southwest China. Besides the Dissertation, she has been working closely with her Chair Advisor Richard Sexton on the US Women, Infants and Children program to study price effects of market power, especially regarding non-supermarket food retailers, and conducting several projects with her colleagues on the structure of agricultural markets in the United States and China.
At Purdue, She expects to focus more on the economics of supply chains, while continuing her research on issues in the interface between agricultural and development economics. With the growth of E-commerce and US-China agricultural trade, she sees exciting research topics to pursue regarding supply chain innovation and changing food consumption patterns in both countries. She was strongly encouraged by the passion in research when vising Purdue and is inspired to advance the department’s strength in supply chains and food consumption by having productive collaboration with her colleagues in and outside the department.
Meilin has a wide range of semi-academic and non-academic interests. In addition to serving as the Editor for an academic sharing platform (in Chinese) which she co-founded with her Ph.D. colleague, she has been an active volunteer since working for a NGO in Hong Kong. Beginning in 2017, the scholarship founded and managed by her provides financial assistance to teenagers in China’s Yunnan Province to accomplish their high school education. On vacations, she likes playing tennis, cooking, hiking/camping, practicing Tai Chi and Chinese calligraphy, reading, and visiting museums. She and her mom have adventured in Southeast Asia over the past several summers.
Assistant Professor of Food and Agricultural Business Management and Finance
Dr. Brady Brewer grew up on a family farm in Oklahoma that raised wheat, soybeans, alfalfa, and cattle. He received a B.S. in agricultural economics and Accounting from Oklahoma State University and later earned both his M.S. and Ph.D from Kansas State University in agricultural economics. Upon completion of his graduate studies, he has spent the last couple of years serving as an assistant professor at the University of Georgia in
the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
His research agenda includes the broader topics of agribusiness and profitability, agricultural finance, and production/supply chain issues at the farm level. His extension program includes educating farmers on credit concerns and lending as well as working with the agricultural banks across the state. Courses that he has previously taught include agribusiness management and agricultural finance courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
When asked what he hopes to bring to Purdue, Brady told us that growing up on a farm in Oklahoma allowed him to see the first-hand impact that a university’s extension program can play in enhancing the profitability of a farm. He’s excited for the opportunity to work with farmers, agribusinesses, and agricultural lenders to help them by providing timely and impactful insights into the agricultural economy.
Assistant Professor of Agricultural Analytics and Production
Nathan DeLay will join the Department of Agricultural Economics as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2018. Nathan earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Rocky Mountain College in 2009. While pursuing a career in online advertising, he earned a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Colorado Denver. Nathan will graduate with a Ph.D. in Economics from Washington State University in May of 2018. His research experience encompasses the impact of crop insurance subsidies on enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program; the role of insurance agents in farmers’ crop insurance choices; the potential for improved cattle productivity in Western Kenya; and barriers to agritourism in Washington State.
Nathan chose Purdue Agricultural Economics because of its excellence in the field and its commitment to the land grant mission. He looks forward to complimenting the Department of Agriculture’s focus on data analytics and precision agriculture. He is especially interested in discovering how digital agriculture can be leveraged to improve producer decision making, farm policy, and rural community development.
Nathan grew up in Denver, Colorado, but has lived all over the West. In his free time, Nathan enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and spending time with his wife Faith of Big Timber, Montana, and their 17-month old son Walter.
Assistant Professor of Environmental Economics
Carson Reeling will rejoin Purdue as an Assistant Professor, having earned his MS in Agricultural Economics from the department in 2011. Carson is an environmental economist whose research focuses on designing policies to manage nonpoint source pollution from agricultural lands, with an eye towards enhancing both the environmental and financial sustainability of production agriculture. He is currently working on a multi-year project, funded by the USDA, that uses theoretical and experimental methods to assess policy design choices that will improve agricultural producers' participation in voluntary water quality and carbon trading programs. Carson is also interested in nonmarket valuation - or placing dollar values on goods and services not usually traded in markets. His current work examines the value of access to bear hunting opportunities in Michigan. He is also on a team of researchers analyzing the economic risks from a potential oil spill in the Great Lakes. His work in this area is supported by the State of Michigan.
Carson comes to Purdue having worked for three years at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University and has a bachelors degree in Economics and Spanish from the University of San Diego. Carson grew up in Bishop, California, nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He loves fishing, kayaking, carpentry, and cooking - although he and his wife, Sheree, now mostly spend any free time playing with their two-year-old daughter, Charlotte (and new baby Stella, who should arrive any day now - or so Sheree hopes).
Carson is thrilled to return to Purdue. The applied nature of the department, along with the abundant research opportunities offered by Purdue's various environmental research centers, makes Purdue uniquely well-equipped for environmental economics research. He is also passionate about teaching and looks forward to working with Purdue's talented undergraduate and graduate students to advance the land grant mission of excellence in research and teaching.