Agricultural Economics Alumni, Service Awards Announced

Go Big Red banners on pole.

The Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has recognized Jamie B. Kruse and Gregory A. Ibach as recipients of its 2020 Outstanding Alumni Awards, and Ag Processing Inc., as the recipient of its 2020 Outstanding Service Award.

The three honors are awarded annually to individuals and organizations in recognition of their significant contributions to agriculture, which align with the department’s research, teaching and outreach in agricultural production and profitability, natural resources, rural development and industrial organization. 

Kruse is a THCAS distinguished professor of economics and director of the Center for Natural Hazards Research at East Carolina University. Her research focuses on experimental economics, industrial organization, natural hazards economics and risk and decision-making. Kruse has published 65 articles and has been awarded $50 million in grant funding over the course of her career. After graduating from the university with a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Ag Honors in 1979, she went on to earn a master’s from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. Kruse has also been a faculty member at Texas Tech University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She served as chief economist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2010 and has been a member of numerous panels and committees with the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security and the White House, among many others.

Ibach is the undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the United States Department of Agriculture. He earned bachelor’s degrees in agricultural economics and animal science in 1984. At USDA, he has led reform efforts in biotechnology regulation, promoted traceability, expanded animal disease prevention and implemented hemp production regulations. He previously served as director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, where he led efforts to establish the state as a national leader in the export of agricultural products, established plans to grow the livestock industry and created opportunities for youth and young and beginning farmers. A farmer and rancher from Sumner, Neb., Ibach is co-owner of GTI, Inc., a sixth-generation family farm.

Ag Processing Inc., in Hasting, Neb., was organized in 1983 as a leading agribusiness cooperative engaged in procuring, processing, marketing and transporting oilseeds, grains and related products. Its owners include 145 local and regional cooperatives, representing more than 250,000 farmers throughout the U.S. and Canada. AGP employs approximately 1,100 people and markets domestic agricultural products around the world. The cooperative is a generous contributor to the Department of Agricultural Economics’ Commodity Trading Room and agribusiness club, provides scholarships for department students and employs several alumni.

2020 award winner photo collage
2020 award winners (L to R): Jamie B. Kruse, Gregory A. Ibach and Ag Processing, Inc.