Professor Wendy Umberger became the AARES President in February 2016. Wendy’s priority for the next 12 months is to work closely with the AARES Executive Council and members on the AARES Strategic Planning project to ensure that we are able to begin implementation of a Strategic Plan and related initiatives in 2017. Wendy is keen to consult and work with current members to explore ways in which their needs can be met, and to explore opportunities for new strategic partnerships to grow AARES’s membership base.
Wendy is the Director of Global Food Studies, which focuses on economic issues affecting global food and agricultural value chains, and launched in 2013 at the University of Adelaide. She joined the Governance Board of ICRISAT and the editorial board of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy in 2015. Wendy is an agricultural economist and received her B.S. in Animal Science (1996) and M.S. in Economics (1998) from South Dakota State University and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (2001) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Wendy currently leads components of inter- and multi-disciplinary agricultural value chain research projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Wendy’s research uses innovative methods to understand drivers of consumer and producer behaviour and the implications of changing behaviour for food systems. Part of this work includes estimating consumer demand for specific credence (quality, safety and health) attributes in food and determining efficient governance systems to verify related attributes. She is also studying the impact of urbanisation, modern retail transformation and development programs on food consumption patterns, diet quality and longer-run health and livelihood implications in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Fiji.
Wendy has published extensively and has been invited to present her work internationally to a variety of audiences including industry, government and academic. Prior to joining the University of Adelaide in 2006, Wendy was an Assistant and Associate Professor from 2001-2007 in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University in the USA. Wendy was raised on a beef cattle and grain farm, which is still owned and operated by her parents in South Dakota USA. In her spare time, she enjoys “family time” outdoors with her husband and her 4-year-old daughter.