Agricultural Economics Announces 2023 Outstanding Alumni and Service Award Winners

The Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has recognized Tim Schellpeper and Wesley Musser as recipients of its 2023 Outstanding Alumni Awards, and CoBank, as the recipient of its 2023 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.

Schellpeper is currently the Chief Executive Officer of JBS USA. He is a 4th generation farmer who owns and operates his family farm in Northeast Nebraska that his great grandfather settled in 1887. From 2017-2022, he served as JBS USA President of Fed Beef and prior to that, he worked for Smithfield Foods as President of Smithfield Packing from 2008-2015. He also worked for Farmland Foods in the capacity of Sales Director, Plant Manager and Vice President of Operations from 1990-2008. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Agribusiness in 1986 and with an MBA from Northwest Missouri State University in 1995.

Wesley Musser was raised near Neligh, Nebraska. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1967 and 1968, respectively. He then pursued his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1974. He has held teaching, research and extension faculty positions at various Universities including University of Georgia, Oregon State University, Penn State University and University of Maryland. His specialties include Farm Finance, Natural Resource Management, and Risk Management. During his career, he published 84 journals articles and numerous other research and extension publications, received over $6 million in grants, and served as chair or committee member of 14 Ph.D. and 36 M.S. students. He also served as President of the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association and as co-editor of the Agricutlural and Resource Economics Review.

CoBank is one of the largest private providers of credit to the U.S. rural economy. The bank delivers loans, leases and other financial services to agribusiness, rural infrastructure and Farm Credit customers in all 50 states. The bank is part of the national Farm Credit System created by Congress more than one hundred (100) years ago. CoBank’s customers form the backbone of the economy in rural America from agribusiness and power to water and telecommunications. The average loan volume increased to a record $136.9 billion in 2022 with patronage distributions reaching almost $1 billion. CoBank was the first to commit to helping fund our Commodity Trading Room with a generous contribution of $150,000. The bank employs many UNL graduates.

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