The Griffin Publishing Company has named Julie Caswell (resource economics) one of the Women of Influence in the Food Industry for 2014. Women of Influence honors are supported by individuals and firms from throughout the food industry.
Caswell, who is president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), has been involved in education, research and outreach in the food industry since she arrived at UMass in 1984. During her tenure in the Department of Resource Economics, she has taught courses in food marketing, industrial organization of the food sector, and global hunger issues. Her focus has been to teach students how to use economic analysis to understand the food industry and policy impacts. Caswell's Hunger in a Global Economy course explores the balance between a rapidly growing population and a potentially slower growing food supply. She also teaches the department's Integrative Experience seminar, Life is Full of Choices Integrated Experience Seminar for Resource Economics majors.
Caswell's research focuses on understanding the operation of domestic and international food systems, analyzing how well they work, and evaluating how government policy affects their operation and performance, with a particular interest in the economics of food quality, especially the quality attributes of safety and nutrition. She is also focused on the economics of certification, traceability, and labeling for quality attributes. Some examples include: how to prioritize the importance of different foodborne risks; whether regulatory programs such as preventative controls requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act will enhance food safety at a reasonable cost; how benefit and risk information can be balanced and effectively communicated to consumers; and how international trade agreements influence food quality. Caswell's research has had impacts on national and international policies. This fall she consulted with the FAO in Rome and this fall with both the Senate and House.
For more on Caswell's award click here and scroll to page 9.