WSU economics professor named chair of national academies board on agriculture and natural resources

Jill McCluskey, director of Washington State University’s School of Economic Sciences, is now chair of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Jill McCluskey
Jill McCluskey, Regents Professor and Director of the School of Economic Sciences

McCluskey, a WSU Regent’s Professor, has been a member of the board since 2017, interacting with fellow academic scientists, industry experts, government legislators and administrators, and others. Now, as the board’s leader, she will help identify avenues to provide the best science in agriculture and natural resources.

“I’m honored and excited to extend my service to the board as chair,” McCluskey said. “I’ve been told that I’m the first woman to serve in this role, so I can bring a different perspective. I’m interested in working with more women and scientists of color to help increase innovation with diverse perspectives.”

“Jill’s outstanding contributions in agricultural economics will serve the board well as it focuses on today’s challenges in agriculture and natural resources,” said Christopher Keane, vice president for research at WSU and vice chancellor for research at WSU Pullman. “I look forward to Jill’s continued success as she serves as the board’s first woman chair.”  

McCluskey’s affiliation with WSU will also likely continue to benefit the university. Last fall, she hosted a BANR event on the WSU Tri-Cities campus that featured several WSU researchers and their work.

“Jill’s impressive career in agricultural economics and her various leadership roles make her a great choice for chair,” said Wendy Powers, the Cashup Davis Family Endowed Dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “I’m excited for her and can’t wait to hear about the interesting projects and topics she’ll be working on.”

McCluskey will bring a perspective from a different part of the country sometimes overlooked in national groups like BANR.

“I’m glad to be a voice from the West, especially the Pacific Northwest,” McCluskey said.

The Western viewpoint is important because distinct issues impact the agriculture industry on this side of the Rockies, particularly water and drought, McCluskey said. Specialty crops, which include many of the fruits and vegetables that people eat regularly, are primarily grown in this region.

The diverse range of topics overseen by BANR is one of the most attractive parts of serving on board, McCluskey said.

“It’s been a valuable education for me to better understand so many issues across agriculture and natural resources,” she added. “I am someone who advocates for science- and evidence-based decision-making. Being chair will allow greater influence on decisions like the topics we cover and who sits on various study committees.”

McCluskey will travel to Washington, D.C., this summer to meet with various government agency leaders at the USDA and other institutions to learn about pressing issues.

The chair position lasts for three years and can be renewed for an additional term.