Agricultural economist Bruce Jones has been named director of the UW-Madison’s Renk Agribusiness Institute, effective January 3.
The Renk Institute coordinates agribusiness teaching, research and outreach activity on the UW-Madison campus. It offers financial assistance to agribusiness students seeking a Master’s in Business Administration and students enrolled in CALS and the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. It also organizes agribusiness research studies and professional development programs for agribusiness executives.
Jones says one of his goals is to expand the pool of agribusiness students by attracting more from a non-agricultural background. This is a particular good time to make that case, he says.
“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. We obviously have a lot of things going for us as a dairy region, but we’re also seeing our cash grain and vegetable crops gain market share as well.”
The Renk Agribusiness Institute originated with a gift from Renk family of Sun Prairie. The program is a partnership between CALS and the School of Business and draws on expertise from UW Center for Cooperatives, the Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development, UW Center for Dairy Profitability and various agribusiness industry groups. It is based in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
Jones has been on the faculty of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics for 25 years, 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.