Agricultural economist Bruce Jones has been named director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Renk Agribusiness Institute.
The Renk Institute coordinates UW-Madison agribusiness teaching, research and outreach activities, provides financial assistance to students pursuing agribusiness degrees and offers professional development programs for agribusiness executives.
"Our goal is to increase the management capacity of people who are choosing agriculture as a career," Jones explains. "We want them to understand economics and management principals and how those might be applied to agribusiness.
Jones says he wants to connect with students who are interested in agriculture but haven't thought about the business component, as well as to get more students from non-agricultural backgrounds interested in agribusiness. That's a pretty easy case to make right now, he adds.
"Agriculture is one of the few sectors of the economy that's seeing some prosperity and profitability at present," he adds. "And some of the strongest growth in the ag economy is happening in the Midwest and Upper Midwest. That's certainly true in Wisconsin."
The Renk Agribusiness Institute originated with a gift from Renk family of Sun Prairie. It is based in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and draws on the expertise of faculty from across campus.
Jones has been on the faculty of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics since 1984, specializing in agricultural finance, farm management and agricultural policy. He holds a B.S. degree in accounting, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics —all from the University of Illinois-Urbana. He has served on the boards of Madison Farm Credit Services, Cooperative Services Incorporated and Ag Source Cooperative, as well as on the UW-Madison athletic board.
Source: UW-Madison CALS