_2023 Speaker Bios – 13th Annual CAES-SCAE Canadian Agri-food Policy Conference

13th Annual CAES-SCAE Canadian Agri-food Policy Conference

BIOs for Speakers

January 26, 2023


David Ubilava, Associate Professor School of Economics, University of Sydney:  Session 1  War in Ukraine and Disrupted Markets

Bio: David Ubilava is an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney. His primary research interests are in commodity markets and price analysis. Dr. Ubilava’s current research applies granular data to study societal issues that cause or are consequences of global commodity price movements. His research has been published in the leading field and interdisciplinary journals such as American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, World Development, and Global Environmental Change, among others.  Dr. Ubilava serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and as a co-editor of Food Policy.

Hugo Ramiro Melgar-Quiñonez, Margaret A. Gilliam Faculty Scholar in Food Security, McGill University;  Session 1  Importance of Water Security to Food Security

Bio: Dr Melgar-Quiñonez is the Margaret A. Gilliam Faculty Scholar in Food Security, with an appointment in the McGill School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. With a degree in Medicine (1992) and a doctoral degree in Science s (1996) from the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, he moved to McGill in September of 2012, after 9 years of work as a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Ohio State University (2003-2012). Previously he worked in public health nutrition and food security research at the University of California in Davis (1998-2003) and at the Mexican Institute of Public Health (1996-1998). Dr Melgar-Quiñonez has been a food security advisor on to several countries in Latin America. He has conducted food security research in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and maintains a strong collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a researcher in the project Voices of the Hungry which incorporates 150 countries.

Eva Sinha, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;  Session 1  Implication of imposing fertilizer limitations on energy, agriculture, and land systems

Bio: Eva Sinha, PhD is an Earth Scientist in the Earth and Biological Science Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Her research interests include improving crop model representation in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) Land Model (ELM), understanding the impact of fertilizer constraint on land and energy systems, and studying the impact of future socioeconomic path- ways and climate outcomes on riverine nitrogen loading.


Ibrahim Dincer, Mechanical Engineering, Ontario Technical University;  Session 2   A New Era with Hydrogen and Future Directions for Better Environment and Sustainable Development

Bio: Ibrahim Dincer is a full professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ontario Tech. University. Renowned for his pioneering works in the area of sustainable energy technologies he has authored/co-authored many books and book chapters, along with many refereed journal and conference papers. Dr. Dincer has chaired many national and international conferences, symposia, workshops and technical meetings. Dr. Dincer has delivered many keynotes and invited lectures. Dr. Dincer is an active member of various international scientific organizations and societies, and serves as editor-in-chief, associate editor, regional editor, and editorial board member on various prestigious international journals. Dr. Dincer currently serves as President for Hydrogen Technologies Association in Turkey and Chair for Energy Working Group in Turkish Academy of Sciences. Dr. Dincer is a recipient of several research, teaching and service awards, including the Premier’s research excellence award in Ontario, Canada. During the past nine years he has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as one of the Most Influential Scientific Minds in Engineering and one of the most highly cited researchers. During the past 25 years Dr. Dincer’s research and activities have been diverse and primarily focussed on sustainable energy solutions, sustainable communities and cities, district energy systems, green buildings, renewable energy technologies, energy storage technologies, hydrogen energy technologies, and waste to energy technologies. His group has developed various novel technologies for commercialization. He is known for his engineering education related talks as a committed educator.

Feng Qui,  Dept of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta; Session 2 The Resilience of Biofuel Supply: Feedstock Availability, Financial Viability, and Market Competition

Bio: Feng Qiu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta. She received her Ph.D. in Economics (minor in Statistics) from North Carolina State University in 2012. Feng’s research interests focus on land use, bioenergy, price and market, and food environments. As an applied economist, most of Feng’s work uses statistical and econometric analysis to solve practical problems that have significant impacts on policy and business decisions. Feng has been leading a research team at the University of Alberta dedicated to economic and policy analysis of biofuels. Completed and ongoing projects include assessing biomass availability and accessibility in Canada, investigating market integration between agricultural, forest, traditional fuel and bioenergy markets, financial evaluations of sustainable aviation fuels, and many more.


Trevor Tombe, Economics, University of Calgary; Session 3  The Rise and Fall of Inflation in Canada

Bio: Trevor Tombe is a Professor of Economics at the University of Calgary and a Research Fellow at The School of Public Policy. His research focuses on economic and fiscal integration, internal trade, and fiscal federalism and it has been published in top economics journals, such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Monetary Economics, and the Canadian Journal of Economics. He is also Co-Director of Finances of the Nation. In addition to his academic research and professional service, he is an active contributor to Canadian policy development, with publications through The School of Public Policy, active media engagement, and service on various expert panels.

J.P. Gervais, Farm Credit Canada: Session 3  Inflation Trends for Crops

Bio: J.P. Gervais is Vice-President and Chief Economist at Farm Credit Canada (FCC). His insights help FCC to set strategy, monitor risks and identify opportunities in the economic environment. In addition to acting as a FCC spokesperson on economic matters, J.P. provides commentary on the agriculture industry through videos and the FCC Economics blog. Prior to joining FCC in 2010, J.P. was a professor of agricultural economics at North Carolina State University and Laval University. J.P. is a Past-President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University in 1999.

Glynn Tonsor, Dept of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University;  Session 3  Insights on Meat-Livestock Inflation Trends, Extrapolation from the U.S.

Bio: Glynn Tonsor is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University (KSU). Glynn grew up on a farrow-to-finish swine farm in Monroe City, Missouri. He was a faculty member at Michigan State University from May 2006 to March 2010 when he joined the KSU faculty. Tonsor has broad interests and experiences which span many issues throughout the meat-livestock supply chain. Through active research, engaged outreach with industry, and first-hand knowledge with livestock production, Glynn has economic expertise in an array of topics of economic importance to Kansas, U.S. and global stakeholders. Tonsor has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, provided over 250 presentations to an in-person audience exceeding 30,000 attendees, conducted numerous educational webinars, and written a multitude of non-technical publications.

Karen Proud, Fertilizer Canada: Session 3  Fertilizer Challenges

Bio: Karen Proud joined Fertilizer Canada in April 2021, after more than two decades of senior management roles in both the public and private sectors.

After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Applied Science from Ryerson University in 1997, Karen began a nine-year career with Health Canada taking on increasingly senior-level roles in the areas of policy and legislative affairs. In 2006, Karen left the public service to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Her most recent roles, prior to joining Fertilizer Canada, were that of: Chief Operating Officer for Food, Health and Consumer Products Canada, President of Consumer Health Products Canada and Vice President of Federal Government Affairs for the Retail Council of Canada.

Karen is a past board member of the World Self-Medication Industry Association, Labour Watch, as well as the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education.



Jim Dyer, Ag-environmental Consultant;  Session 4   Protein as a common denominator and boundary condition in modelling the carbon footprints of livestock commodities

Bio: After his BSc(Agr) at McGill, Jim Dyer received an MSc in Agrometeorology from the University of Guelph in 1975. He moved to Ottawa to join AAFC in 1976. His career path took him from agro-climatology to a range of agro-environmental issues, including climate change, agro-biodiversiy and environmental impact assessment. He accepted early retirement in 1997, but continued working as a contract researcher, specialising in agricultural GHG emissions for AAFC. He has published 70 reviewed journal articles, 16 book chapters and dozens of technical reports and popular science articles. Jim currently lives in Cambridge, Ontario.


Vidiya Anderson, Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough:  Session 4 Nature-based Solutions and Multi-Functional Green Infrastructure

BIO: Dr. Vidya Anderson is a professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, teaching environmental science and planetary health (she is presenting in her academic capacity as a researcher at the University of Toronto). She holds a PhD in Environmental Science and her research is interdisciplinary, focused on nature-based solutions, urban climate, health equity, and sustainable development. Dr. Anderson is also a project manager with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks where she develops climate change mitigation and resilience programs.

January 27, 2023

SESSION 5: Big Picture

Todd Hirsch, Todd Hirsch Consulting:  Session 5   Bracing for Turbulence

BIO:  For more than 15 years, Todd served as the Vice President and Chief Economist at ATB Financial. Using story, metaphor and image, he’s delivered nearly 2,000 presentations, boiling down the complexities of today’s economy into simple language. He’s also worked as an economist at the Bank of Canada, the Canada West Foundation and Canadian Pacific Railway.

For nearly a decade he taught economics at the University of Calgary and for the Executive Education program at the University of Alberta. He is the author of four books. His latest, Spiders in COVID Space: Adapting During and After the Pandemic, was released in March 2021. And for three seasons, Todd hosted a podcast titled The Future Of, which won a national award in 2021.


Tyler McCann , Managing Director, Canadian Agri-food Policy Institute: Session 6  Food production and security: policies for an uncertain future

BIO:  Tyler McCann is the Managing Director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute. His career in agri-food policy includes working for federal ministers, farm groups, industry associations and agri-food businesses. Tyler operates a beef and goat farm with his wife and kids in Western Quebec.

Richard Gray, Canadian Grain Policy Chair, University of Saskatchewan: Session 6  Climate Policy, Public Research and Food Security

Bio:  Richard Gray is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan and serves on the Board of Directors Canadian Agricultural Policy Institute. He has published in the areas of agricultural trade, agricultural marketing, and environmental economics. Over time his research has increasingly focused on various aspects of agricultural research and innovation systems. To 2020, Richard has published 35 books chapter, 70 journal articles and directly supervised more then 45 graduate students while participating in many more graduate committees. In 2010 he was recognised as a Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.


Herman Barkema, Professor in Epidemiology, University of Calgary:  Session 7  Animal Disease and Antimicrobial Resistance

Bio: Dr. Herman Barkema completed his DVM degree at Utrecht Univ., The Netherlands, in 1988. He spent 2½ years as manager of a large dairy and beef herd in Costa Rica, then taught bovine herd health at Utrecht University and worked as an epidemiologist for the Dutch Animal Health Service while completing his PhD. In 2001, Dr. Barkema moved to the University of Prince Edward Island. He subsequently moved to the University of Calgary, where he founded the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s (UCVM) Dept. of Production Animal Health. He currently is Professor in Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at UCVM and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Infectious Diseases of Dairy Cattle, with a joint appointment in the Dept. of Community Health Sciences of the Cumming School of Medicine. He is also a Foreign Expert at the China Agricultural University in Beijing. Dr. Barkema’s research program focuses on prevention and control of diseases in cattle herds, including antimicrobial resistance. He has published > 400 scientific manuscripts and book chapters and has lectured all over the world. He leads the Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium, One Health at UCalgary, the Environment research theme in the Canadian Mastitis Network, the University of Calgary Biostatistics Centre, and the Alberta Johne’s Disease Initiative. Dr. Barkema is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He was recently awarded the Plowright Prize by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for his research on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

Claudia Wagner-Riddle, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph;   Session 7  Fertilizer-Related Emissions and Their Role in Reaching Net-Zero GHG Agriculture

Bio:  Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), University of Guelph, Canada.  Originally from Brazil, Claudia has degrees from the University of Sao Paulo and Guelph. Claudia leads an internationally-renowned research program utilizing the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions to determine the carbon footprint of food, feed, and fuel produced by agriculture.  Claudia is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Meteorological Society and of the Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology and leads a nation-wide training program on Climate-Smart Soils. Claudia is the Director of the North American regional chapter of the International Nitrogen Initiative and was awarded the 2020 IFA Borlaug Award of Excellence in Crop Nutrition.

Graduate Student Colloquium:  Friday Jan 27, 2023 

Organizer:  Amanda Norris, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Bio: Amanda Norris is a policy analyst with the Strategic Policy Branch at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. With a degree in Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics from the University of Guelph, Amanda started her career with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2020. She is on the CAES-SCAE Board of Directors and an active member of the Society since 2017.

Methods Session:  Agent-Based Modelling for Agricultural Policy Decision-Making .  Friday Jan 27, 2023  

James Nolan, Professor, Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of Saskatchewan;  ABM Applications in Canadian Agriculture and Food Systems

Shadi Atallah, Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Individual environmental preferences and aggregate outcomes: an empirical agent-based model of forest landowner invasive species control.

Bio: Shadi Atallah is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research program generates recommendations to growers, landowners, and resource managers to manage their crops and natural resources in a way that balances economic and ecological objectives and constraints. Examples include the economics of managing damaging organisms such as pests, diseases, and weeds and beneficial organisms such as pollinators and natural enemies, within and across farms and forestlands. He serves as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Xiaoli Fan, Professor Dept of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta; Cost-Effectiveness of Bovine Respiratory Disease Management Strategies in Beef Feedlots: An Agent-based Model

Bio: Xiaoli Fan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta. Xiaoli’s research focuses on understanding consumer and producer behaviour to inform better agricultural policies and decision-making. Her other research interests include food and agribusiness management, antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in the livestock industry, bioeconomic modelling, and pest and disease management.

Jan 28, 2022                         James Rude Memorial Workshop

Alan Ker, Professor and Elton R. Smith Chair in Food and Agricultural Policy, Michigan State University

Bio: After obtaining his joint PhD in Economics and Statistics at North Carolina State University (09-92 to 03-96), Alan worked as a professor (and subsequently Head from 2002-07 in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona. In April 2009, Alan moved to Canada where he joined the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics in his new position as Chair and Professor. In September 2014, Alan concluded his 5-year term and became Director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Food and Agricultural Policy. Alan served as 2016-17 President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society and sits on the editorial boards of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics and the European Review of Agricultural Economics.  In 2019, he became the OAC Research Chair in Agricultural Risk and Policy.  Also in 2019, he became Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics.  In 2021, Alan was named Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society. Alan joined the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University where he holds the Elton R. Smith Endowed Chair in Food and Agricultural Policy.

Scott Pellow, Executive Director, Business Risk Management (BRM) Programs,  Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Scott is currently an Executive Director in the BRM Programs Branch and is responsible for Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) BRM program development and coordination, including disaster responses. He has experience in leading national policy reviews of BRM programs to support the development of the agricultural policy frameworks and he previously managed the federal loan guarantee programs that includes the Advance Payments Program and Canadian Agricultural Loans Act.

Scott started his career with AAFC in 2002 in the Research & Analysis Directorate doing economic analysis of commodity markets and policy changes, including trade agreements, biofuels, animal diseases and exchange rate volatility. He has taken work interchanges with both of both the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to support world agricultural outlooks and AGLINK-COSIMO development. Scott has a MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba with emphasis on economic modelling and financial risk management.

Tristan Skolrud, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Saskatchewan

Tristan Skolrud is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. His research focuses on the intersection between farm-level decision making and agri-environmental policy. Tristan has published in the leading journals of agricultural and resource economics, including the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, and the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Born and raised in Washington State, Tristan received a PhD in economics from Washington State University in 2015 and an MA in economics from the University of Washington in 2011. At the University of Saskatchewan, Tristan teaches courses in agricultural finance and microeconomic theory.

Jim Vercammen,  Professor of Food and Resource Economics, University of British Columbia

James Vercammen is a professor of food and resource economics at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include commodity price analysis, risk and insurance, agri-food industrial organization and agri-environmental markets.  Dr. Vercammen served as co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics (CJAE) from 2001 to 2004, President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society (CAES) from 2010 to 2011 and co-editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE) from 2013 – 2017.  Dr. Vercammen was named Fellow of the CAES in 2017.

Bruno Larue, Laval University

BIO : Bruno Larue is a professor of agricultural economics at Laval University since 1991. He was for 14 years a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in International Agri-food Trade. He was the founding director of the Center for Research on the Economics of environment, Agri-food, Transport and Energy (CREATE) at Laval University, a multi-disciplinary research centre with members in the departments of agricultural economics, economics and political science. He was the coordinator of the Structure and Performance of Agribusiness and Agriculture research network funded by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. I served as councillor and president of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society and was editor of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics. He has published over 100 refereed articles in agricultural economics and economics journals, mainly on international trade, agricultural policy and production and consumer economics.

Derek Brewin, University of Manitoba

Bio: Derek Brewin is a Professor and Head of the Department of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba. He has a Ph.D. from Penn State University in Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics.  His recent research has focused on spatial grain and oilseed markets as well as innovation in crops.  He is a Past President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society and a current Director of Farm Management Canada. Derek is also the chair of the Sol Sinclair Institute for Farm Management at the University of Manitoba. He has served as a Senator at the University of Manitoba and as a director of the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council.  Prior to his academic career Derek was a Corporate Advisor for the CWB; a Policy Economist for AAFC and a farm lender with FCC. Derek was raised on a mixed irrigation farm in Purple Springs, Alberta.

Bruno Wichman, University of Alberta

Bruno Wichmann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta. He joined the University of Alberta in 2012, after obtaining his PhD in Economics from the University of Tennessee. His research interests are in the fields of environment economics, experimental economics, health economics, and social networks.

Aleks Schaefer, Oklahoma State University

Bio: Dr. K. Aleks Schaefer is an applied economist and legal scholar specializing in agricultural economics, law, and policy. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. He is also a Senior Fellow and member of the Board of Trustees for the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy (NCFAP). His research seeks to investigate the widespread effects of domestic and international regulations targeting the food system on economic returns to agriculture. Prior to his current position, Dr. Schaefer has held positions at Michigan State University, the University of London, and the World Bank Group.

Ryan Cardwell,  University of Manitoba

Ryan Cardwell is a professor in the Department of Agribusiness & Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba. He is the Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics.
Ryan’s research interests include the economics of food policy, international trade regulation, and foreign aid, with a focus on international food aid. Current research topics include understanding support for government policies, the effects of tariff barriers on international food assistance, and the effects of regulation on firm-level productivity. Ryan has a M.A. in economics from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Saskatchewan. He worked as a private-sector economist at Moody’s Analytics in Philadelphia before his PhD studies.

Curtis Boyd, Sr. Manager, Corporate Risk Oversight, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

As a fourth generation farmer, Curtis is passionate about Agriculture and continues to be involved in his family farm in Fairview. Curtis completed a BSc and an MSc in Agricultural Economics studying at the University of Alberta. Following his time in Edmonton, Curtis has worked at the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) in AgriStability, Policy and most recently overseeing the Corporate Risk Oversight department.

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