WSU Ag Economist Named New Director of WSU Extension Western Center for Risk Management Education

SPOKANE, Wash. –- Washington State University associate professor and extension economist Shannon Neibergs has been named the new director of the WSU Extension Western Center for Risk Management Education. Neibergs’ appointment is effective starting July 5, 2011. Neibergs succeeds Jon Newkirk who has been director of the center for the past 10 years. Newkirk recently retired from WSU Extension after 21 years of service to WSU and its stakeholders.

WSU Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences Dan Bernardo praised Newkirk for helping to set a new course for the center by embracing 21st century technology and communications strategies. “Under Jon’s leadership, the center has succeeded in its core mission of providing a knowledgeable approach to risk management enabling people to farm and plan for the future with confidence in our rapidly changing world filled with new, attractive opportunities,” Bernardo said.

Neibergs is a highly regarded economist who has conducted research and published widely on dairy farming, cattle management and marketing, agribusiness profitability, thoroughbred auction markets, among other topics relevant to ag producers in the western region of the United States. Neibergs worked as a WSU Extension associate in agricultural economics in the mid-to-late 1980’s before returned to WSU Extension in 2006 in his current position.

“Shannon has the perfect background to take the center to the next level,” Bernardo said. “He’s been working on the ground with producers for years and, as well, is a great teacher who knows how to effectively communicate and help people deal with complex economic issues.”

Neibergs said that he will continue his research and Extension programs on the efficiency of livestock production. He is involved in projects concerning the economics of improving cattle disease management, analyzing the economics of anaerobic digestion, and the economics of using expiring CRP grasslands as a grazing resource. These projects have positive impacts on producers as well as provide indirect gains to consumers. Neibergs will also continue to work on WSU Extension programs for livestock producers, such as the popular beef and lamb 300 programs that were recently recognized with a national award by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

“I’m pleased that the administration is highly supportive of my continued role in research while extending their confidence in me to assume leadership of the center,” Neibergs said. “I’m excited about taking on my new responsibilities.”

Neibergs earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Texas A&M University after earning his master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in animal science at WSU.