Field of Study
Philip Pardey and Terrance Hurley
Areas of Interest
Yuan Chai, a Chinese national, received his MS degree from the Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, where his research focused on stem rust resistance genes in barley. He is presently a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, where his research focuses on agricultural innovation, production, and risk. Agricultural production is subject to a whole host of unpredictable risks arising from various biotic and abiotic stresses. His current research takes an integrated, bio-economic approach to assessing both the consequences of and the strategies used by farmers in coping with the production risks associated with the various climate and pest-induced pressures on agriculture. Moreover, the specific risk profiles faced by farmers can vary markedly depending on their geographic circumstances due to the intrinsic site-specific attributes of the biological and environmental processes involved. This demands a spatially explicit approach to assessing the various risk factors faced by farmers. To cope with agricultural risks, farmers rely on a number of technical and institutional options, including a variety of farm management practices, fertilizer and pesticide use, irrigation, disease monitoring, as well as crop insurance. Yuan’s research focuses on the role of these various risk management strategies in improving farmers’ welfare and helping to secure global food supplies. Assessment of agricultural risks also has important policy implications in guiding public and private R&D investment strategies in agriculture.