McFadden joins the Agriculture Division as the Tyson Professor in the Economics of Food Policy


U of A System Division of Ag photo by Fred Miller

Brandon McFadden began work in August as the new Tyson Endowed Professor in the Economics of Food Policy.

Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station gets a boost in consumer behavior research with Brandon McFadden as the new Tyson Professor of Food Policy Economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics and agro-industry.

The staffed position was created in 2006 to help attract nationally recognized scholars to their field. McFadden joined the Experiment Station, the research arm of the U of A System’s agriculture division, in August.

“Dr. McFadden is currently one of the nation’s most prolific agricultural economists working on consumer economics and food policy issues,” said John Anderson, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural and Agrifood Economics. “He has a well-deserved reputation for developing creative approaches to solving timely and relevant issues related to food markets, consumer attitudes towards food and agriculture, and policy developments affecting the food and agriculture sector.”

Anderson, who is also director of the Fryar Price Risk Management Center of Excellence within the U of A System, went on to say that McFadden is an “exceptional communicator and strives to ensure that the results of his work in are in the hands of the relevant stakeholders.”

McFadden, who previously conducted research and taught at the University of Delaware and the University of Florida, is involved in several ongoing studies funded by the US Department of Agriculture. One is funded by a half-million dollar grant to improve crop residue burning and management recommendations in the Arkansas Delta. This study includes partners from Arkansas State University, the U of A, the Division of Agriculture, and the University of Miami.

Another big project is a $10 million USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to investigate sustainable aquaculture production of high-omega-3 fish using hemp as a novel feed additive. This project includes partners at historically black colleges and universities in Ohio and Kentucky and a Native American tribal college in Wisconsin.

His work is not confined to the borders of the United States either. Working with a Tanzanian student, Pius Kilasy, he helped identify knowledge gaps about vitamin deficiencies among Tanzanian women of childbearing age. The study document is currently being reviewed for publication. The information obtained from the study, McFadden said, could help other countries with high prevalences of micronutrient deficiencies.

“An interesting thing we found was that 75% knew about vitamin A and iron deficiency, but only about half knew about zinc,” McFadden said. “Now you know that as a country there is a much bigger knowledge gap about zinc, and all three were mentioned as important nutrients in a publication from Tanzania regarding micronutrient deficiencies.”

He said they also found that people generally underestimated the risk of micronutrient deficiency and found a lack of knowledge about both the negative impacts associated with micronutrient deficiency and the foods that reduce risk. . They also used marketing research techniques in surveys to identify the “brand” value of biofortified crops.

“I basically do marketing research like you would for a business, but to increase consumer well-being instead of business profits,” McFadden said. “I look for societal problems that could use marketing techniques to identify possible solutions.”

Another grant-funded study McFadden will soon begin involves consumer behavior research on crops grown with electronic waves as a method of pesticide control. The experiment is being conducted at Oregon State University.

McFadden’s work as an agricultural economist focuses on consumer knowledge – and confusion – in emerging markets to estimate consumer demand and what consumers value in these emerging markets. His research provides information that can help farmers, processors and manufacturers.

McFadden will also teach an upper-level class next year through Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

“In addition to his expertise in research and outreach, Dr. McFadden is an exceptional teacher, not only because of his expertise in the field, but also because of his exceptional ability to help students see the practical application and the true value of complex economics concepts,” Anderson added. “We are delighted to have Dr. McFadden join the department, and we look forward to seeing him continue the tradition of world-class scholarship associated with the position of Tyson Chair. .”

Born in Arkansas and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, McFadden received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. He completed his Masters in Agricultural Economics at the University of Alberta and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Statistics at Oklahoma State University.

To learn more about Agriculture Division research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit

About the Agriculture Division: The mission of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture System is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research with the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the country’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities in the University of Arkansas system. It has offices in all 75 counties of Arkansas and faculty at five system campuses.

The Agricultural System Division of the University of Arkansas offers all of its extension and research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin , religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


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