New University of Florida Economist in Immokalee

Tacy CalliesEconomics, Industry News Release

University of Florida
Kim Morgan

Morgan graduated from the University of Florida three times. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and then master’s and doctoral degrees in food and resource economics, all from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Mostly recently, she began her position as associate professor of food and resource economics for the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee. For now, due to stay-at-home guidelines, Morgan is working for UF/IFAS, albeit from her home in Virginia.

Morgan comes to the Immokalee center from Virginia Tech, where she was associate professor of agricultural and applied economics. Before that, she worked as an assistant professor at Mississippi State University.

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Kelly Morgan (no relation), director of the SWFREC, is pleased to have Kim Morgan as a new faculty member, saying, “She has years of experience in agribusiness and marketing at two respected universities in the Southeast.”

As the newest member of the SWFREC faculty, Kim Morgan looks forward to investigating issues brought to the attention of scientists at UF/IFAS and partner agencies by agribusiness owners.

“People drive my research and Extension programs,” Morgan said. “Specialty crops are my primary commodity of interest, and I want to look into how changing consumer preferences along with government regulations and policies may influence grower decisions to adopt new production practices.”

She also wants to help farmers use marketing techniques to reduce the costs of navigating the food supply chain directly to consumers.

“SWFREC is located in one of the most unique environments in the country — right in the middle of larger-scale agricultural operations led by stewards of the natural resources that make it possible to produce a wide range of commodities while surrounded by an ever-growing population,” Morgan said. “As an economist, I see it as the most exciting place in the world to study how people, companies and policymakers make decisions that impact local customers and retailers, contribute to global food-supply chains and address the intersection of agricultural, environmental and residential resource uses.”

Morgan looked up the origin of the Immokalee name, and found it means “your home” in the Mikasuki language spoken by the Miccosukee tribe. That’s how she feels: at home.

“Coming back to Florida, to serve producers and residents, to apply my education and experience, to be a valued member of the SWFREC and the Food and Resource Economics Department is a dream come to life that I am most proud of,” she concluded.

Source: UF/IFAS

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