Economics of Agriculture

The reality of today’s economy is that farms are just the beginning of the role of agriculture in world markets. Agriculture is about business and management as much as it is about production.

In today’s agricultural economy, farmers are constantly looking for additional information about risk management, technology, input strategies and more. Our faculty are engaged in research that helps farmers, and the agriculture industry as a whole, understand trends and make informed choices. We also look at the impact on agriculture of labor markets, technology, population trends, climate change, and increasingly complex trade policies. Beyond the farm, research and outreach are focused on domestic and international food systems, biotechnology, and intellectual property. Through our work we are helping to ensure that the agricultural sector continues to thrive.

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AAE 215: Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics Introduction to economic ways of thinking about a wide range of problems and issues. Topics include consumption, production, prices, markets, finance, trade, pollution, growth, farms, taxes, and development.

AAE 319: The International Agricultural Economy The nature of trade in agricultural products, trade policies and practices of importing and exporting nations, agricultural policies of major trading blocks, market instability and other primary commodity problems, recent history and current developments in multilateral trade policy.

AAE 320: Farming Systems Management Methods of economic analysis, planning and management as applied to conventional and alternative farming systems.

AAE 322: Commodity Markets Principles and practices in marketing systems for U.S. agricultural commodities. Vertical organization; forward contracts, future markets, agricultural options and price formation. Alternate management at the farm, processor, wholesale and retail levels.

AAE 419: Agricultural Finance Introduction to basic finance concepts. Topics include financial statements, ratio analysis and interpretation, investment analysis, capital budgeting, credit concepts, and capital markets.

AAE 477: Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa Composition, organization, and techniques of agricultural production; economic change and development of agriculture, economic policies, special problems of developing African agriculture.

AAE 540: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Technology Uses economic concepts to illustrate the nature of technological innovation, competition, and economic growth. Topics: Economics of the intellectual property protection (IPP); market structure and innovation; interaction between public and private sectors; IPP and anticompetitive policies; globalization

AAE 706: Applied Risk Analysis Conceptual empirical analysis of economic behavior under risk and its implications for management and policy decisions. Emphasis on economic applications to the agricultural and food sector.

AAE 746: Frontiers in Agricultural Economics 1 Economics of agricultural technology innovation and adoption, properties and measurement of production and productivity, and impact evaluation. Empirical methods, including surveys, experiments, randomized trials, and instrumental variable methods of testing applied microeconomic models.

AAE 747: Frontiers in Agricultural and Applied Economics 2 Organization, design, and performance of food and agricultural markets. Industrial organization; firm boundaries, contracting, and collective action; spatial, temporal, and quality dimensions of market design.


Bradford Barham


(608) 265-3090

422 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706

Technological Change, international agricultural development, and Latin America

Jean-Paul Chavas

Emeritus Professor

(608) 261-1944

Economics of agriculture, price dynamics, technological change, applied econometrics, economics of trade, welfare and policy analysis

Thomas Cox

Emeritus Faculty


, WI 53706

Inter-regional Analysis of Domestic and International Dairy Policy; World Dairy Trade Issues; Marketing and Production Economics; Nonparametric and Econometric Methods; Analysis of Demand; Efficiency, and Technical Change

Sheldon (Xiaodong) Du

Renk Agribusiness Chair and Associate Professor

(608) 262-0699

331 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706

economics of agriculture, commodity markets, economics of energy, and applied econometrics

Jeremy Foltz


(608) 262-6871

421 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706

Technology adoption, technological change, biotechnology, economic development, political economy, climate change and Africa

Brian Gould


Agricultural policy analysis, analysis of the economics of food safety and nutrition, consumer behavior, and applied econometric modeling

Paul Mitchell


(608) 265-6514

418 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706

Production economics, pest management, crop biotechnology, crop insurance, commodity support programs, specialty crops, and sustainability

Guanming Shi


(608) 263-6250

329 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706

Applied microeconomics, intellectual property rights and industrial organization, and production economics

Andrew Stevens

Assistant Professor

330 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St
Madison, WI 53706

Agricultural and food policy, land use, applied econometrics

Kyle Stiegert

Emeritus Professor

Industrial organization of the food and agricultural sectors, antitrust policy, international trade, and international competition policy

Jordan van Rijn

VISP/MSPO Coordinator & Associate Lecturer

(608) 890-4122

318 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch St
Madison, WI 53706

Development economics, financial institutions, cooperatives, credit unions,