Larry Combest Chair and Professor
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
What are your research objectives and interests?
The core of my research focuses on agricultural policy, trade and marketing. In addition, I am currently researching the relationship between issues of food and economic security and conflict/terrorism. Overall, I work with core constituency to identify economic problems of interest and relevance and work to merge quality, rigorous research with applied needs to have the most meaningful impact.
How do you feel your research impacts the globe?
The results of my research have helped shape policy around the world in agricultural markets. Results of modeling on policy impacts and market projections are used within the U.S. and around the world to assess the implications of policy choices and plan production and marketing. Much of my research involves developing countries either directly or indirectly and work on international subsidies has helped increase transparency about the level of subsidization of agriculture around the world. More recent work on food/economic security and conflict is beginning to shape views of how to best address potential for conflict and terrorism.
What types of service projects have you been involved with?
The nature of my position places me in situations calling for service projects often. On the local level, I work extensively with agricultural cooperatives to develop strategic plans, assess market dynamics and plan for future business ventures. I have also led study abroad programs both with Texas Tech and jointly with the United States Military Academy at West Point. Far from simple learning experiences, I engaged students in research as well. On one TTU/USMA trip to Ethiopia, students researched and prepared a report for Bayer CropScience on the structure, performance and future of the seed industry in Ethiopia. On a more recent TTU/USMA trip to Ethiopia, students engaged in an analysis of household production in rural areas, which is now serving as the basis for a student's master's degree thesis.
What are you currently working on?
I have a number of projects underway. First, I am working with members of the U.S. Army and other universities on a project involving food security and conflict, as well as risk assessment. I also have work underway examining the impacts of macroeconomic (interest rates, inflation, etc.) on income inequality in developing countries. Finally, we continue to work on risk mitigation and insurance options for small landholders and households in Ethiopia.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I have a bit of an eclectic method of gathering inspiration. First, interaction with students and their natural curiosities often provide the germ of really good ideas that can be developed. Interaction with other colleagues, of course, and good intellectual discussions help shape my thinking as well. But, most importantly, I look at the world, and often through the lens of non-economists, to find new ideas and problems. Reading broadly outside of my discipline has given me perspectives and new ways to frame problems that have led to really good research.
What advice do you have for new faculty members about balancing the components of Integrated Scholarship—teaching, research, and service—in their careers?
The best advice that I have for younger faculty is to never treat the three components as mutually exclusive for your time. Consider how you can accomplish multiple things with the same project. Doing a study abroad? How can you integrate some research for yourself and your students in that trip? Completing a research project? How can you get the results of that research out to a broader audience than just your academic colleagues? Can you integrate research into your class? We tend too often to silo our time commitments and not think about creative methods to integrate those activities across modes, but that integration often leads to better products in each component and also compounds your productivity.
More about Darren Hudson
Darren Hudson is the Larry Combest Endowed Chair and director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness at Texas Tech University. Hudson earned his bachelor's degree in agribusiness and agricultural economics (1992) from West Texas A&M University and his master's (1994) and doctoral (1997) degrees in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University. After graduation, Hudson joined the faculty at Mississippi State University in 1998. While at Mississippi State University, Hudson served as the coordinator of the Masters of Agribusiness Management degree program, served as the chair of the Agricultural and Forestry Faculty Senate, and was promoted to the rank of professor. During his time there, Hudson coordinated the research programs on cotton economics and international trade.
Dr. Hudson returned to Texas Tech in 2008 in his current position. Since that time, he has headed the policy/baseline modeling effort for global cotton markets in cooperation with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (Missouri) and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (Texas A&M). As a result of his work on foreign agricultural subsidies, Hudson testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture on the impacts of foreign subsidies on U.S. agricultural markets (June 3, 2015). Hudson has also served as a board member of the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council and coordinated research and strategic planning sessions for agricultural cooperatives within Texas.
Professionally, Dr. Hudson has been an active member of professional associations and research groups. Hudson served as parliamentarian, chair of the Professional Activities Committee, chair of the Food and Agricultural Marketing Policy Section, and chair of the Agribusiness Economics Section of the American Agricultural Economics Association. In addition, Hudson was a co-organizer of the Young Professionals Conference, the Graduate Student Case Study Competition, and numerous learning and teaching workshops at the national and international levels. Dr. Hudson has also served as the president of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and has served as chair of the S-287 (and subsequent group numbers) regional research committee on trade and international policy. The latter group was responsible for coordinating several key educational and outreach national and international conferences on U.S. domestic policy and international trade agreements. Finally, Dr. Hudson served as a fellow of the Farm Foundation for Globalization and Trade. At Farm Foundation, Hudson coordinated and participated in large, multi-institution research projects including the project The Future of the North American Livestock Industry led by former U.S. Rep.Charles Stenholm.
Dr. Hudson has extensive international experience, including work in Turkey, Central Asia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Africa and Europe. This experience has ranged from USDA sponsored research in Brazil, corporate partnerships (Bayer CropScience) in Africa, university/educational outreach in Tajikistan and study abroad programs in Brazil and Ethiopia. Hudson generated a unique study abroad partnership in economic development between Texas Tech and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Much of this international experience has combined both research endeavors with education and outreach missions.
Overall, Dr. Hudson has published more than 300 papers and presentations and generated more than $6 million in external funding for research. His experience crosses both Land Grant and non-Land Grant institutions as well as cooperative agreements with corporate and government agencies. He is the author of one college-level textbook in price analysis. Dr. Hudson is married with two children.