Workshop Overview

Agricultural economics researchers have a long history of undertaking policy-relevant research. The objective of this workshop was to provide an opportunity to enhance the discussion between agricultural economics researchers and organizations that use their research for developing policy. The workshop featured Canadian and international speakers, providing insights on what makes agricultural economics research relevant for policy advice.

This workshop brought together over ninety (90) academics with industry leaders, policy organizations, consulting firms and government officials to explore ways in which agricultural economics research can continue to be a relevant source of information for policy development.

This 1.5 day workshop was held in Ottawa, Ontario on October 24th and 25th, 2008.

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Speaker Presentations

Click here to download a pdf of the full agenda (368 KB).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Session 1: Defining the Issue: Does agricultural economics research need to be more policy relevant?

Session Chair: Shelly Thompson, SJT Solutions

John Cranfield University of Guelph
Tom Shenstone Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Judy Watling Policy Research Initiative (PRI)

Session 2: Experience of governments and other policy institutions: What has been successful?

Session Chair: Margaret Zafiriou, AAFC

Joanna Hewitt Consultant
Alex McCalla University of California Davis
Gaetan Lussier Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute

Session 3: Experience of governments and other policy institutions: What has been successful? (Continued)

Session Chair: Verna Mitura, Statistics Canada

J.B. Penn Deere and Company
Dave Hope Ontario Min. of Agric, Food and Rural Affairs
Dave Pannell University of Western Australia

Session 4: Experience of interest groups

Session Chair: Pascal Ghazalian, University of Lethbridge

Gilbert Lavoie L'Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)
Bill Leask Canadian Seed Trade Association
Matt McCandless International Institute for Sustainable Development
Rick Bates Canadian Wildlife Federation
End of Day 1
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Session 5: Experience of researchers: What has been successful?

Session Chair: Lorraine Hope, AAFC

Bruno Larue Universite Laval
Richard Gray University of Saskatchewan
Kurt Klein University of Lethbridge
Cam Short Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Session 6: The broader context for policy advice

Session Chair: Michele Veeman, University of Alberta

Barry Wilson The Western Producer
Douglas Hedley Consultant

Session 7: Panel Discussion: What did we learn?

Session Chair: Michele Veeman, University of Alberta

Lorne Hepworth CropLife Canada
David Sparling University of Guelph
Tulay Yildirim Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Wayne Jones OECD
Click here to download a pdf of the full agenda (368 KB).

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Registration for this event is now closed.

Your registration includes:
Day 1 - Breakfast, lunch and morning and afternoon breaks
Day 2 - Breakfast, lunch and morning break

Online registration for this workshop was provided through


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The workshop was held at the Minto Suite Hotel in Ottawa.


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Speakers (listed in alphabetical order)

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Rick Bates

Exectuvie Director
Canadian Wildlife Federation

Rick Bates brings a broad perspective to the subject of the relevance of economic analysis to policy development, having lead the development, shaping, and communication of environmental policy from within a line department (as Executive Director of Policy and Planning), a Crown corporation (Director of Marketing and Communication), and a national non-government organization (Executive Director). Mr. Bates has worked with economists to help shape a wide range of policy instruments including broad government-wide policy statements and strategies, department (or organizational) policy, legislation, plans, and programs.


Lars Brink

President, CAES
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Lars Brink is the current President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society (CAES) and as such he is the Lead Organizer for this year's workshop.

Dr. Brink is the Senior Advisor, Global Policy Analysis, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa.


John Cranfield

Associate Professor
University of Guelph

John Cranfield is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph. He has a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Guelph and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. John's research interests include consumer behaviour and food demand analysis at the individual, household and market level; innovation in the agri-food and biotechnology sectors; and microeconomic analysis of agri-food and development issues. His research has been published in a number of leading agricultural and applied economics journals, as well as Food Quality and Preference and Appetite. Awards include a Presidential Distinguished Professor Award from the University of Guelph, Outstanding Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Science at the University of Manitoba and the AAEA Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation.


Richard Gray

University of Saskatchewan

Richard Gray is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of
Saskatchewan. His career began in 1981 working as market analyst with the provincial government while he also operated the family farm at Indian Head.

He joined the University in 1990 after receiving a Ph.D. from the
University of California Berkeley. Since then, he has supervised over two dozen graduate students and has studied a wide range of agricultural policy issues.

He recently completed a five year term as Department Head and is currently the leader of the Canadian Agricultural Innovation Research Network and is the Outgoing President for the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.


Douglas Hedley


Douglas Hedley is now a private consultant following many years in the Canadian Public Service in Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, retiring in 2004 as Assistant Deputy Minister. His areas of expertise include farm income issues in Canada and the USA, governance issues in developing nations, and farm marketing and processing approaches within Canada and North America. Through The Rockefeller Foundation and Winrock International, Mr. Hedley has work overseas on projects involving agricultural economic development and graduate-level university training in economics. He has served several terms with the International Association of Agricultural Economics and is now the current Executive Director for the Canadian Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.


Lorne Hepworth

CropLife Canada

Lorne Hepworth Ph.D. has been President of CropLife Canada (formerly Crop Protection Institute of Canada) since 1997, having previously (1992-93) served as Vice President. CropLife Canada is the trade association representing developers, manufacturers and distributors of plant science innovations – pest control products and plant biotechnology – for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings. As President, he is the chief spokesperson for the industry association and responsible for its overall strategic direction and management. He is a member of the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council, and has served on the federal government’s Pest Management Advisory Committee and National Biotechnology Advisory Committee.

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Joanna Hewitt

former Secretary, Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry

Joanna Hewitt works as a company director and policy consultant based in Washington, DC. She is the former Secretary of Australia's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (2004-2007) and former Deputy Secretary and Lead WTO Negotiator in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1996-2004). She served as Australia's Ambassador in Brussels (2000-2003) and APEC Ambassador (1998-2000). She was Division Head in the OECD's Agriculture Directorate (1993-1996) and held various senior positions in the Australian Government over the last three decades to 2007, including in the Prime Minister's Department and as an advisor to a former Minister of Trade.

Hope Dave Hope

Assistant Deputy Minister
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Dave Hope is currently an Assistant Deputy Minister with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. In September he completed a four-year term as Chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission which oversees the province's twenty-four marketing boards and associations. Prior to that, he spent a decade as Director of the Ministry's Policy Branch, involved in a variety of policy topics and program delivery. He spent six years as manager of the policy branch's economic analysis unit. Previously, Mr. Hope was a manager and lecturer at two agricultural colleges in Ontario, a market analyst in Alberta, an economist in Antigua and a partner on a farm in Ontario. Dave received his Master and BSc in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph.


Wayne Jones

Head, Agri-food Trade and Markets Division
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Wayne Jones is with the OECD in Paris as Head of Agri-food Trade and Markets Division within the Trade and Agriculture Directorate, responsible for the Secretariat's medium-term agricultural outlook as well as analysis of trade, bioenergy, and food economy issues. Wayne has been at the OECD for 15 years, previous work areas include agricultural policy reform and agricultural development.

Prior to joining the OECD, he spent 18 years with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in various capacities as an economist, senior policy advisor and finally as the Director of Strategic Planning within the Ministry's Policy Branch.


Kurt Klein

University of Lethbridge

Kurt Klein is Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Lethbridge. Previously, he farmed for ten years in northern Saskatchewan and worked as a Research Economist for Agriculture Canada for ten years. Dr. Klein has been involved in several projects that had immediate policy applications, including development of the Canadian Regional Agricultural Model (CRAM), a model that continues to be used extensively by policy economists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Recently, Dr. Klein led a Canada-wide research network on economics of bio-products. He is often regarded as an interdisciplinary economist, having worked closely with other agricultural scientists on numerous projects.


Kathy Lang

Knowledge Impact in Society
University of Saskatchewan

Kathy Lang is the Project Coordinator for the Knowledge Impact in Society project at the University of Saskatchewan. Kathy completed both her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Saskatchewan.

Kathy is assisting Lars Brink in the coordination of this year's workshop.


Bruno Larue

Universite Laval

Bruno Larue is the Canada Research Chair in International Agri-food Trade and Director of the Center for Research on the Economics of Agri-food (CREA) at Laval University. He obtained his undergraduate degree from McGill University in 1983 and his PhD from Iowa State University in 1988. He began his career at the University of Guelph (Canada), but he has been at Laval University since 1991. Over the years, he has worked on various theoretical and empirical issues in International Trade, Industrial Organization and Consumer Economics and published in a wide range of academic journals. His expertise has also been sought by various government agencies, ministries and private firms.


Gilbert Lavoie

L'Union des producteurs agricoles

Diplômé de l’Université McGill où il a obtenu son baccalauréat ainsi que sa maîtrise en agroéconomie, M. Lavoie a commencé sa carrière d’agronome en 1989 comme conseiller en gestion agricole. Il a par la suite occupé les fonctions d’agent de projet à la Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales, d’économiste principal à la Fédération des producteurs de volailles du Québec et de directeur des affaires économiques et du développement des marchés à la Fédération des producteurs de porcs du Québec.

En 1999, il s’est joint à l’Union des producteurs agricoles où il occupe actuellement le poste de directeur et économiste principal à la direction recherches et politiques agricoles. À titre de directeur, il gère une équipe de 15 permanents œuvrant dans les dossiers relatifs à l’environnement, l’aménagement du territoire agricole et forestier, le commerce international, la relève, l’agrotourisme et plusieurs autres.

À titre d’économiste principal, il a piloté, entre autres, la réforme des outils financiers et la mise en place de La Financière agricole du Québec. Outre le dossier de la sécurité du revenu, M. Lavoie est également responsable du dossier énergétique à l’UPA.


Bill Leask

Executive Vice-President,
Canadian Seed Trade Association

Bill Leask was born and raised on a family farm near Toronto, Ontario. He received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1971 from the University of Guelph, followed by both a Masters and Ph.D. in Crop Science and in 1974 he was employed as a Research Associate with responsibilities in plant breeding and production.

He began work in the private sector in 1976, as the Director of Crop Research for Maple Leaf Mills, with responsibility for operating plant breeding programs in corn, soybeans and alfalfa. Two years later, he was promoted to General Manager of the Corn and Soybean Division, and held that position for five years.

In 1983, he was appointed to his present position of Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA).

Bill currently resides near Ottawa, with his wife Pat and their two children.


Gaetan Lussier

Canadian Agriculture Policy Institute (CAPI)

Mr. Lussier has been the Chair of the Board for the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute since its 2004 inception. He is also a former Deputy Minister of the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture and Food (1970-1977); Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (1977-1982); and Employment and Immigration Canada. Besides serving as Deputy Minister in the Governments of both Quebec and Canada, Mr. Lussier is the former President of Weston Bakeries and former President and CEO of Culinar.

He chaired the Federal Government's External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation from July 2003 to November 2004, is a member of the Order of Canada (1981), and serves on numberous boards of directors.


Alex McCalla

Professor Emeritus
University of California

Alex McCalla retired from the University of California – Davis in 1994. During his academic career he served as Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Associate Director of the California Agricultural Experiment Station (1970-75) and Founding Dean, Graduate School of Management (1979-1981). From September 1994 until the end of 1999, he worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. where one of his major efforts was to revitalize the bank’s commitment to rural development. He has been awarded two honourary degrees and is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society. He served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of CIMMYT (2001-2005) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.


Matt McCandless

Project Manager , Sustainable Natural Resources Management program
International Institute for Sustainable Development

Matt McCandless is a Project Manager in the Sustainable Natural Resources Management program at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Matt is primarly active in the areas of sustainable agriculture, ecosystem goods and services, and water resources. He has worked on several projects in this area, often combining both policy and technical research. His current topics of interest are ecosystem goods and services valuation and optimization, life-cycle assessment of bioproducts, and climate change and water resources. Matt is also an observer of regional climate change negotiations for the Province of Manitoba.

Prior to joining IISD in 2006, Matt worked as a consulting engineer focusing on hydrology, water resources and environmental licensing. Matt has a Bachelor of Engineering (Biological/Environmental) from Dalhousie Uniersity and a Master of Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba. He resides in Winnipeg.



Dave Pannell

University of Western Australia

David Pannell is a Professor in the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia, and an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow. His research includes the economics of land and water conservation; farmer adoption of innovative practices; the economics of farming systems; and he has a particular interest in the research-policy connection. Much of his experience in applying economics research to policy development is in the area of natural resource management.

He was President of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in 2000, and a director on the Board of Land and Water Australia (2002-2005). He has authored 130 journal articles and book chapters winnning him awards in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. Through his website Pannell Discussions, he posts commentaries on ideas related to economics, the environment, natural resource management, politics and agriculture.


J.B. Penn

Chief Economist
Deere and Company

J. B. Penn has been the Chief Economist with Deere & Company since August 2006. Before then he served as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services in the United States Department of Agriculture for more than five years. A native of Arkansas, he holds an undergraduate degree from Arkansas State University, a Masters from Louisiana and a Ph.D. from Purdue. He began his career working with the federal government, various positions included Deputy Administrator for Economics in the Economics and Statistics Service and Senior Staff Economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisors. Following his time with the federal government, he worked in the private sector for more than two decades, first as founding principal and president of Economic Perspectives, Inc. and then as Senior Vice President and head of the Washington office for Sparks Companies, Inc. Penn is a member of the Farm Foundation Board of Trustees, the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council, Corporate Council for Africa Board, the United States Trade Representative's Africa Trade Advisory Committee and a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association.

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Tom Shenstone

Director General, Policy, Planning & Integration
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Tom Shenstone is a native of Ottawa and has held various foreign postings. He graduated with degrees in economics from the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. He joined the Department of Finance in 1975 working in the area of Trade Policy. He served in Finance and Industry Trade and Commerce on Trade Policy until 1988, with one year (1984) in Treasury Board Secretariat on regulatory reform. Subsequently, he has focussed on domestic policy: The Privy Council Office (1988-1992)(1994-1996); Indian Affairs & Northern Development (1996-2000); Director, Learning, Employment & Labour Policy; Department of Finance (2001); Chief, Agriculture & Fisheries Policy; and currently, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as Executive Director and now Director General, Policy, Planning & Integration.


David Sparling

University of Guelph

David Sparling is Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Management and Economics at the University of Guelph. In 2006 and 2007 he was the Executive Director of the Institute of Agri-Food Policy Innovation, examining issues related to agriculture and food policy. David has also been president of a farming company, an agri-business insurance company and a biotechnology start-up. David is a Senior Associate at the University of Melbourne and has taught at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney. His research interests are in supply chains, food policy and commercializing new technologies.

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Judy Watling

Director General, Sustainable Development Research
Policy Research Initiative

Judy Watling joined PRI in January 2008 to lead its research on sustainable development. Immediately prior to her assignment at PRI, Judy spent four years on Interchange as Assistant Director of Public Involvement at Canadian Policy Research Networks. With the federal government since 1982, she has been Senior Director, Results Management Strategies at the Treasury Board Secretariat, and senior policy advisor, working closely with Deputy Ministers and Minister's offices at a number of departments including Environment Canada, Privy Council Office, Citizenship and Immigration, Solicitor General , National Defence and Revenue Canada.


Barry Wilson

National Correspondent
The Western Producer

Barry Wilson has 38 years experience in journalism. He has been with The Western Producer for 28 of those years reporting on federal policy development and politics, federal-provincial agricultural relations, national farm lobbies, world trade talks, and world food issues. He holds a BA in Political Science, a BJ Honours in Journalism and an MA in Canadian Studies. Mr. Wilso is also a published author with his most recent book on Benedict Arnold. Barry still farms the small western Quebec farm that has been in his family for 115 years.


Tulay Yildirim

Director, Economic and Industry Analysis, Strategic Policy Branch
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Tulay Yildirim is the Director of the Economic and Industry Analysis Division of the Strategic Policy Branch of AAFC. Previously, she held various posts as the Director of Agricultural Economics Research Institute of Turkey (1997-98), and the Director of Canadian Agricultural Energy Use Center at the University of Saskatchewan. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Saskatchewan.

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Poster Display

Alison J. Eagle, G. Cornelis van Kooten and Robin Tunnicliffe University of Victoria
Brian Innes University of Saskatchewan
Brandon Schaufele, Zoya Komirenko and Jim Unterschultz University of Alberta
Danyi Yang, Jim Unterschultz and S Jeffrey University of Alberta
Anitha Paspaporn University of Manitoba
Tracy Stobbe, Alison J. Eagle, and G. Cornelis van Kooten Trinity Western University

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Sponsors (click on logos to go to sponsor websites)


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Conference Contact Information

University of Saskatchewan,
3D34, 51 Campus Drive,
Saskatoon, SK 
S7N 5A8
Fax: (306) 966-8413                 
Organizing Committee:

Lars Brink, AAFC
Dave Culver, AAFC
Valerie Johnson, CAES
Richard Gray, U of Saskatchewan
Murray Fulton, U of Saskatchewan
Kathy Lang, U of Saskatchewan

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© Knowledge Impact in Society 2008. All rights reserved.
Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS), CSALE, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon
Saskatoon S7N 5A8 Canada
Phone: (306) 966-8419, Fax: (306) 966-8413, Email us!