Gregory Perry, an expert in agricultural finance and taxation who has extensively studied water-management issues, will join Colorado State University July 15 as new head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Perry, a professor at Oregon State University at Corvallis, served for about three years as an interim department head there. His additional leadership posts at OSU focused on programs for graduate and undergraduate students, and he also started an international studies program in Chile.
“Dr. Perry has outstanding leadership experience and a highly recognized reputation in teaching and research that fits very well within the mission of our college at CSU,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “He is an important addition to our leadership team as the College of Agricultural Sciences addresses complex, local and global issues in agriculture and resource economics. We are delighted that Dr. Perry will be part of our College and serve in this very important role.”
Beyrouty noted that Perry’s research into water issues – especially his study of the interface between water management and agricultural finance – fits well with a key focus area for the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Perry will replace Stephen Davies as leader of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, a department with about 20 faculty members and about 325 undergraduate and graduate students.
Davies, department chair for six years, will return to a full-time focus on teaching and research. Davies teaches classes including agricultural marketing and international agricultural trade.
His ongoing “Future of Colorado Agriculture” project gathers critical information from agricultural stakeholders and provides these insights along with economic analysis to statewide policymakers. Davies also leads water-modeling research in Colorado and internationally.
Perry, who was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach in Chile, said he hopes to continue advancing CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics to benefit students and the agricultural industry.
“Economics is the driving force in a lot of ways that agricultural activities occur in the state, determining what commodities are grown, when and how,” Perry said. “Economics becomes the prism through which all agribusiness production decisions are seen.”
He added: “Fundamentally, our job is to educate – to discover new knowledge and to disseminate that knowledge. So if we can do our jobs well, people involved in agriculture have the best economic science available to them to make the best decisions for their own well-being and for improved well-being in the state, nation and even the world.”
In Colorado alone, the agricultural industry annually generates $20 billion in economic activity, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
“This impact points to the importance of understanding agribusiness, finance and economics in food production,” Beyrouty said. “We also seek to understand and teach students about the intersection of agricultural economics with environmental issues, land and water management.”
Perry said he hopes to lead the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in efforts including recruitment and ultimate career placement for talented graduate students, a focus on improving the quality of undergraduate instruction and student learning, support for young faculty members, creation of an endowed chair to advance high-impact research and teaching, and creation of endowed scholarships to support undergraduate education.
Perry earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Utah State University and his doctorate in agricultural economics at Texas A&M University.