CME: Celebrations for Long Serving USDA Chairman

US - Many members of the market analyst community joined together Monday to honor long time USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chairman Dr Jerry Bange’s devoted service to US agriculture, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 22 October 2014
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Jim Robb, Chairman of the Livestock Marketing Information Center and President of the Foundation for Livestock and Grain Marketing made the presentation at USDA’s annual Data User’s Meeting in Chicago.

USDA Chief Economist Dr Joe Glauber assisted Robb and offered a nice tribute for Dr Bange. Many readers have no idea who Jerry Bange is but have used information provided by his team for many, many years. As Chairman of the World Ag Outlook Board (WOAB), Dr Bange oversaw the works of a team of analysts that included economists and meteorologists whose primary job was to provide the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report from USDA.

In a previous press release, Chief Economist Glauber said “USDA has benefited enormously from Bange’s distinguished leadership as chair of the World Board.” And we say “Amen!” to those words. Glauber reinforced those words on Monday by pointing out several times that it was still not too late for Jerry to come back to the position he held for 20 years.

Dr Bange, as has always been his way, politely declined. Dr Bange joined the US Department of Agriculture in 1971 as an agricultural marketing specialist for the Agricultural Research Service. In 1975, he transferred to the Foreign Agricultural Service as an agricultural economist where, in 1981, he became Director of the Foreign Production Estimates Division and, in January 1983, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Administrator for International Agricultural Statistics.

In October 1983, he transferred to the World Agricultural Outlook Board where he served as Deputy Chairperson until March 1994 at which time he was promoted to Board Chairperson. Dr Bange has received numerous awards including the Department's Superior Service Award and is a two time recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive.

He majored in agricultural economics at the University of Maryland where he earned a B.S. in 1966, M.S. in 1969, and Ph.D in 1975. Dr Bange also served as Program Chairperson for USDA's largest annual meeting, the Agricultural Outlook Forum, which has been hosted by USDA since 1923.

Taking part in today's Forum are eminent leaders in agriculture. Among the renowned speakers every year are farmers, ranchers, economists, professors, statisticians, consultants, industry leaders, and government policymakers. The role of the Forum is to provide leadership by bringing together the agricultural community to discuss policy, science, rural development and the economic outlook for the coming year.

The Forum puts the spotlight on the latest scientific research; new products; the changing dynamics of rural America; as well as global aspects of trade, health issues, and the economy. We know well that the WAOB staff think highly of Dr Bange and his commitment to providing accurate, unbiased data, market analysis and information has benefited us all.

To our knowledge, there was never a whiff of impropriety regarding WAOB information and publications under Dr Bange’s watch. He is held in very high regard by virtually everyone in agriculture. Dr Bange’s special interest in China helped USDA and the industry better understand the data limitations and developments of that country’ dynamic agriculture and food sector.

His work to forge times between USDA and Government of China laid a foundation of cooperation that will benefit both countries in the future. Finally, think for a moment about the changes that technology has wrought since 1994 in the way USDA conducts its business. Dr Bange played a major role in the shift from paper reports to faxed reports to the electronic delivery which we now take for granted and depend upon so completely.

We at The Daily Livestock Report thank Dr Jerry Bange for his 31 years of devoted service to USDA and to US agriculture and especially appreciate his clear, steady leadership of the World Agricutural Outlook Board since 1994. Congratulations, Jerry, on a job well done and best wishes for a productive and enjoyable retirement! We will miss you.

Charlotte Rowney

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