Agricultural Economics Department Extension Specialists
Our Extension Specialists are experts in their field. Their specialty areas range from policy, agricultural business, farm management, to rural communities and development. Below is a listing of the Agricultural Economics Extension Specialists at Purdue University.
Extension Specialists (by last name):
Specialty areas: Agricultural Finance and Agribusiness Strategy
Brady Brewer offers extension education related to agricultural finance and agribusiness strategy. Specifically, he delivers programs to farmers related to farm profitability and finance, agricultural bankers on credit analysis, and agribusinesses on strategy and financial management.
Specialty areas: Agribusiness Sales and Marketing, Farmer Buying Decisions
Scott Downey provides annual programming through the Center for Food and Agricultural Business (CAB) on topics like sales strategy, sales management, marketing, and marketing strategy. He is a frequent contributor to agribusiness publications like Agrimarketing and SeedWorld. Program page.
Specialty areas: Production Economics and Marketing
Ken Foster specializes in contracting and other forms of market coordination including data and information alliances in the context of food and agricultural supply chains. Ken also hosts the Purdue Ag Econ Podcast that delves into things happening in the Department of Agricultural Economics and economic issuing impacting food and agriculture.
Specialty areas: Community development, economic development, digital inclusion
Roberto enjoys working with regions and communities around community and economic development issues. He has conducted a variety of workshops and presentations around industrial clusters, rural and socioeconomic trends, the digital age, digital literacy, broadband planning, and other topics. He has recently engaged communities and regions in comprehensive digital inclusion planning. Roberto also enjoys analyzing data and presenting it in ways that convey relevant information and result in meaningful conversations. He conducts research in topics relevant to 21st century community and economic development.
Roberto's programs can be found at the Digital Inclusion Website:
- Digital Ready Businesses: Curriculum helps employees, entrepreneurs, and small business owners understand the basic components of an online presence.
- Digital Ready Community: Builds capacity and empowers communities by identifying and mobilizing digital assets to increase communication, responsiveness, trust and civic engagement.
- iFront Door: program for communities, regions, or organizations interested in assessing and proactively managing their online reputation.
Specialty area: Agricultural Business
Allan Gray’s research interests are agribusiness management, strategic planning, decision making in uncertain environments and simulation. He also works on the Large Commercial Producer Survey, conducted every five years by the center, which explores the attitudes and buying behaviors of large commercial producers. In addition, Allan has researched the management implications of real-options thinking, the risks and returns to alternative vertical business relationships and the human capital constraints of agribusinesses.
Specialty area: International agriculture
Kajal Gulati offers extension programming on issues related to technology adoption; agricultural mechanization and diffusion; and gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive policy and program design.
Specialty areas: Farmland Economics, Finance, Policy
Todd Kuethe is the Schrader Chair in Farmland Economics. He offers extension education on farmland market conditions, agricultural lending, the farm policy safety net, risk management, and USDA forecasts of farm income, commodity prices, and production. His integrated research and extension program helps policymakers, farmers, and landowners make better decisions to ensure a safer, more flexible, and more stable agricultural economy.
Specialty areas: agricultural finance and farm management
Michael Langemeier offers extension education pertaining to financial management, crop budgets, leasing arrangements, custom rates, risk and uncertainty, strategic management, and transition planning. Michael also participates in a global, non-profit network of agricultural economists (agri benchmark) that provides revenue, production cost, and net return estimates for countries around the world. In addition to presenting at meetings and conducting webinars, Michael is a regular contributor to farmdoc daily (University of Illinois), the Indiana Prairie Farmer, and the web site for the Center for Commercial Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. His programs include: Financial Management series, Leasing Land series, and agri benchmark.
Specialty areas: Family Business, Small Business, Disaster Recovery, Rural Development
Maria Marshall is the Jim and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, Director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, and Director of the Purdue Institute for Family Business. Marshall has a nationally and internationally recognized integrated Extension, research, and teaching program focused on small and family business development. Her program thrust is to increase the viability and sustainability of small and family businesses as they develop and mature through their life cycles. Her research provides relevant information and publications to entrepreneurs, family business owners, and policy makers. Marshall’s scholarly leadership in small business research is sought out by policy centers and organizations nationwide.
Specialty areas: Crop pricing, Indiana farming economy
James Mintert is a professor and extension economist in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics and serves as director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. The Center is focused on developing and delivering programs to commercial farmers via web postings, conferences, workshops and webinars. Jim is also one of the principal investigators for the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, a monthly sentiment survey of U.S farmers.
Specialty areas: Aquaculture economics and markets
Kwamena Quagrainie holds a joint appointment in Agricultural Economics Dept (70%) and Forestry and Natural Resources Dept (30%). His extension area covers aquaculture markets, value-added opportunities for aquaculture products, and development of aquaculture farming enterprise budgets. He provides assistance to the aquaculture industries in Illinois and Indiana, aquaculture producers, and aquaculture associations to develop viable markets and realizing economic efficiencies. His programs include the Aquabusiness and Aquaculture.
Specialty area: Farm Management
Nathan Thompson offers extension education on a broad spectrum of farm management topics, including risk management, quantitative decision making, farm finance, and commodity marketing. Nathan also leads and manages the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture Crop Basis Tool website.
Specialty areas: Food and Agricultural Policy
Tor Tolhurst’s research interests include applied microeconomics and empirical policy analysis in food and agriculture. His research to date has focused on the measurement and consequences of infrequent, but impact, tail events.
Specialty area: Horticulture Business
Ariana Torres’ research focuses on the decision-making processes of specialty crop farmers along with customers’ perceptions and preferences. Her expertise includes the economic modeling of adoption of new technologies, the development of decision-making tools for specialty crop growers, and the economic impact of growers decision-making processes. Her research provides relevant research-based information to her extension program, Horticulture Business to provide trainings and publications to farmers, business owners, Extension personnel, and policymakers.
Specialty areas: Population, Rural Communities
In her research, Brigitte Waldorf combines a topical interest in population, urban and transportation issues with a methodological interest in spatial and quantitative analysis. Among her research topics are immigration, regional demographic change due to migration and fertility, the growth of a knowledge-based workforce, the urban-rural interface, and access to health care.
Specialty areas: Family business, farm succession planning, family business functionality, disaster recovery
Renee Wiatt is the family business management specialist for the Purdue Institute for Family Business where she serves as editor for the PIFB quarterly newsletter. She is the co-chair for the Purdue Extension Succession Planning Team and the Department representative for the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialist Association (PUCESA). Renee is also a member of the NC1030 Multi-State Research group that focuses on sustainable families, firms and communities in times of change. She focuses on Extension and research in farm and family businesses. Visit the PIFB website to subscribe to PIFB updates, read the latest PIFB Quarterly Newsletter and answer the PIFB Question of the Month.
Nicole Olynk Widmar
Specialty areas: Farm Business Management; Consumer Perceptions of Agriculture; Decision Making
Nicole Olynk Widmar offers Extension programming and outreach materials surrounding decision making in agricultural businesses, and in conjunction with her on campus teaching devoted to Farm Management and Farm Planning. Dr. Widmar, in collaboration with the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, has launched Consumer Corner, a website devoted to providing weekly outreach materials/articles devoted to interpreting and analyzing consumer behaviors to "derive insight you can take home to the farm". Dr. Widmar is active on Twitter (@ProfWidmar), and invites you to be a part of the ongoing conversation surrounding farm management with her AGEC 310 undergraduate classes by using the course hashtag #PurdueFarmMgt. Nicole is an active collaborator with colleagues in the College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Medicine, presenting livestock market outlook annually for the Purdue Veterinary Medicing Fall Conference and providing supporting materials for livestock-oriented programming throughout the year.
Specialty areas: Community Development and Regional Economics
Michael Wilcox is Purdue Extension’s Assistant Director and Program Leader for Community Development and Associate Director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD). Wilcox is also a Community and Regional Economics Specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics. As Assistant Director and Specialist, Michael furthers the mission of Purdue Extension by fostering innovative, high impact Extension programs. Specifically, Michael provides motivation, strategy, vision, and coordination for the development and delivery of Community Development Extension programs that address the diverse needs in Indiana communities and beyond.
Michael’s Extension and research work integrates the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability into addressing community and regional economic issues, with a focus on entrepreneurship, placemaking, and community capacity building. Michael’s Extension Signature Programs include Business Retention and Expansion, Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces, and Creating Healthy Communities. Michael has been involved in research and Extension projects centered on the marketing of tropical tree crops in western Africa and Latin America and conservation agriculture in southern Africa.