Farm Foundation® Announces 2024 Agricultural Scholars

Farm Foundation, an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture, has announced its 2024 Agricultural Scholars recipients. This annual program is sponsored in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS). Twenty applied or agricultural economics graduate students were selected to join the program for inspiration and training in agricultural policy, commodity market analysis, agricultural finance, and other applied fields. This is the 5th cohort since the program began in 2020.

The program includes events and projects conducted throughout the year, including a mentorship with an ERS senior analyst, a research project, and participation in ag-focused forums and meetings, such as the USDA Ag Outlook Forum, AAEA’s Annual Meeting, and Farm Foundation Round Table meetings.

“This is just an incredible group of students,” says Program Manager Jenna Wicks. “Thanks to ERS’ continued generous partnership we are able to create a year of landmark opportunities for these program participants which will set them on rare footing as they enter their careers.”

The 2024 Agricultural Scholars are:

Kristiina Ala-Kokko, Kansas State University
Kristiina is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. Her research focuses on issues related to agricultural production and policy, particularly seed technology adoption, conservation agriculture, and climate change. 

Ian  Bennett, University of Florida
Ian is a master’s student in the University of Florida’s Food and Resource Economics department. His research interests are sustainability, livestock, genetics, and the connections between agriculture and healthcare.

Courtney Cooper, University of Arkansas
Courtney is a second-year environmental dynamics Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas, specializing in local and regional food systems, primarily focusing on the Mississippi Delta region.

Elizabeth Crespi, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Elizabeth is a Ph.D. student and Center for a Livable Future Lerner Fellow at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School for Public Health. Her focus is on understanding how to support farmers in adopting sustainable agricultural practices.

Andre De Souza Coelho, University of the District of Columbia
Andre is a Ph.D. student in urban leadership and entrepreneurship, a researcher, and adjunct faculty at the University of the District of Columbia. He studies structural economics using input-output analysis to evaluate sustainable strategies, technologies, and policy implementation, now specifically investigating food systems. 

Suhina Deol, Washington State University
Suhina is an economics Ph.D. candidate at the Washington State University specializing in agricultural economics and econometrics. One of her papers examines psychological ownership effects and nonpecuniary returns to farming on water markets.

Aisling Hagan, University of Tennessee
Aisling is a first-year master’s student in agricultural and resource economics at the University of Tennessee. Her research focuses on food loss and waste reduction at the consumer-grocery retailer interface. 

Rachel Judd, Texas A&M University
Rachel is pursuing a doctorate in agricultural economics at Texas A&M University, where her research interests focus on water quality and availability in both agricultural and urban contexts.

Clare McGrady, Michigan State University
Clare is a second-year master’s student in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. Her thesis project explores the role of sanitary and phytosanitary measures on trade balances in East Africa and the implications on producer welfare.

William McWilliams, Virginia Tech University
William is a doctoral student in the department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech University. His current research is focused on evaluating and improving the performance of current methods for forecasting food price inflation.

Matthew Melchor, Kansas State University
Matthew is an M.S. student in agricultural economics at Kansas State University. His research focuses on production livestock and animal health economics, understanding how they can be influenced by policy decisions and government regulations. 

Logan Moss,  University of Arkansas
Logan is pursuing an M.S. in Agricultural Economics with a research focus on agribusiness marketing and policy. He is passionate about advocating for producers and creating a more innovative and inclusive agri-food industry.

Mya Price, University of the District of Columbia
Mya is director of the Food Security Equity Impact Fund at Feeding America. In addition, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship from the University of the District of Columbia with a focus on urban government and political leadership.

Nicholas Reynolds, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Nicholas is a graduate student and research assistant studying agribusiness at Florida A&M University.

Olivia Richard, San Diego State University
Olivia is in her first year of the M.A. in economics program at San Diego State University. Her future goals involve a career as an economist pursuing research and policy analysis for federal agencies, NGO’s, or policy-oriented non-profits.

John Robinson, North Carolina State University
John is a 4th-year Ph.D. student in agricultural economics and Koch Foundation Fellow at North Carolina State University. His areas of interest include grain marketing, risk management, and price analysis.

Lorin Rudin-Rush, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lorin is in his first year as a Ph.D. student in agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin. His master’s research focused on food security and the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

Tyler Treakle, Arizona State University
Tyler is a Ph.D. student in sustainability at Arizona State University. He is interested in studying tradeoffs and interactions between species conservation and agricultural productivity using econometric and bioeconomic modeling approaches.

Rebecca Weir, University of Minnesota
Rebecca is in her third year of the applied economics Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota. Her current research projects include analyzing county-level impacts from livestock consolidation in Minnesota and analyzing the impact of a collaborative on-farm advisory team on dairy farm profitability for Minnesota dairy farms.

Katherine Westerman, University of Rhode Island
Katherine is a master’s student in environmental and natural resource economics at the University of Rhode Island. Her research interests include regenerative agriculture and sustainable farm management to aid the diversification of farm products and the use of machine learning as a tool to assess agricultural policy effectiveness.

For more about each of the 2024 Agricultural Scholars and to learn more about the program at

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