Snyder panel event will take place in a virtual format on Friday, April 16 at 1:30 pm

James C. Snyder Memorial Event

Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:30 PM EDT

Schedule of Events  ||  Panelists' Bios   ||  Apex Award Winners  ||  History of the Event

The Snyder Memorial Panel took place virtually on April 16, 2021. 

You can watch a recording of the event on Youtube at

Panelists' Bios

Ted McKinney profile image

Ted McKinney

Former Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs
United States Department of Agriculture

Ted McKinney served as the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs from 2017-2021. In that role, Under Secretary McKinney led the development and implementation of the Department’s trade policy, oversaw and facilitated foreign market access, and promoted opportunities for U.S. agriculture through various trade programs and high-level government negotiations. He also oversaw the U.S. Codex Alimentarius staff and functions.

In 2014, McKinney was appointed by then-Governor Mike Pence to serve as Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, a position he held until joining USDA in 2017. His career also included 19 years with Dow AgroSciences and 14 years with Elanco, at that time a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, where he was Director of Global Corporate Affairs. His industry and civic involvement is vast, including service a founder and Co-Chair of the National FFA Convention Local Organizing Committee, membership on the Indiana State Fair Commission, and Purdue College of Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council, as well as on the boards of directors of the International Food Information Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and International Federation of Animal Health.

McKinney grew up on a family grain and livestock farm in Tipton, Indiana, and was a 10-year 4-H member and an Indiana State FFA Officer. He graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics in 1981. While there, he served as the Purdue Pete mascot for three years and received the G.A. Ross Award as the outstanding senior male graduate. In 2002, he was named a Purdue Agriculture Distinguished Alumnus and, in 2004, received an FFA Honorary American degree. He and his wife, Julie, have three children and six grandchildren.

Robert Johansson profile image

Robert Johansson

Former Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Dr. Johansson serves as the Associate Director of Economics and Policy Analysis for the American Sugar Alliance, the national coalition of sugarbeet and sugarcane growers, processors, and refiners. There he analyzes and models domestic and world sugar supply and demand fundamentals and domestic and foreign sugar and general agricultural policies, including Farm Bill topics and international trade negotiations.

Previously, Dr. Robert Johansson was the Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Johansson served in that role from January 2015 to January 2021. As Chief Economist, he was responsible for the Department's agricultural forecasts and projections and for advising the Secretary of Agriculture on economic implications of alternative programs, regulations, and legislative proposals. During that period, Dr. Johansson also served as the Chairman of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors and was responsible for establishing USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area in 2017.
He has also served as an economist with several government agencies, including USDA’s Economic Research Service, the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office, and the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Johansson received his B.A. in economics from Northwestern University and then served with the U.S. Peace Corps from 1990 to 1995. After returning to his home State of Minnesota, he received his Ph.D. in Agricultural & Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota in 2000. His research has spanned a wide range of issues, including biofuels policy, water quality and quantity policies, regulatory economics, food security, and regional modeling of agricultural systems.


Joe Balagtas profile image

Joe Balagtas

Former Senior Economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers

Joe Balagtas is an associate professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. He conducts research on the economics of agricultural markets, including agricultural and food policy, the industrial organization of agricultural markets, and poverty and food security. He has won research quality awards for his work on international dairy trade, competition in U.S. dairy markets, and food security among rural households in Bangladesh. Current projects include economic analyses of soda taxes, the effects of COVID-19 disruptions on food supply chains, and the impact of rice breeding programs on sensitivity of yields to climate stress. 

Professor Balagtas served as a Senior Economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar and Visiting Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis, an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University, and a B.A. in Economics from Miami University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife, Arlene, and their three sons.


Matt Erickson profile image

Matt Erickson

Former Chief Economist at the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

Matt Erickson is currently an Agricultural Economic and Policy Advisor for Farm Credit Services of America and Frontier Farm Credit. In this role, Matt provides economic, market, and policy analysis to internal and external stakeholders. He also provides perspective, insights, and commentary that help connect conditions in the agricultural economy to individual producer impact as well as resulting impacts to the organization.

Before his role at Farm Credit Services of America and Frontier Farm Credit, Matt accumulated approximately fifteen years of policy and agricultural economic experience in Washington, D.C. Most recently, he served as Chief Economist at the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry under the leadership of former Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS).

As Chief Economist, Matt was responsible for the management of the Committee’s work regarding budget, economic, and policy analysis. In this role, Matt advised the Chairman and other Committee members on the status of the agricultural economy, commodity markets, and economic impacts pertaining to the Committee’s legislative priorities. Additionally, he led the Chairman’s policy priorities pertaining to commodities, crop insurance, dairy, and grain standards. During his time on the Committee, Matt helped craft numerous pieces of legislation that includes the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), the United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020, and legislation relating to COVID-19 relief.

Prior to the Senate Agriculture Committee, Matt worked as an Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation. In this role, he was the lead staff economist for issues surrounding domestic policy, energy, and big data. He authored over 50 energy and input market updates for industry and membership as well as presented over 150 presentations across the country and internationally on energy, big data, and farm bill issues.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. He maintains an active role on the family farm in Brookston, Indiana.

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