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Drabenstott to deliver 2004 D.W. Brooks Lecture

By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia

Mark Drabenstott, vice president and director of the Center for the Study of Rural America at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will deliver the 2004 D.W. Brooks Lecture, Oct. 18 in Athens.

Drabenstott will speak on the topic, "The Brave New World for Land-grant Universities." The annual lecture will be at 11 a.m. on the University of Georgia campus, in the Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

A seasoned observer of the rural economy, Drabenstott has gained national and international recognition for his economic analysis and policy insights. He is a native of Markle, Ind., where he grew up on his family's farm and learned agriculture, and basketball, firsthand.

Drabenstott earned a bachelor's degree from Earlham College and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa State University.

He joined the Federal Reserve Bank in 1981 and was named a vice president in 1990. Throughout his career at the bank, he has been an ardent observer of the leading issues facing the rural economy and food and agriculture sector, publishing more than 100 articles and editing five books.

A frequent speaker before industry, university and public policy audiences throughout the nation, he has testified before Congress more than a dozen times on rural and agricultural policy issues.

In October of 1998, Drabenstott was named director of the Center for the Study of Rural America. The center serves as the Federal Reserve's focal point for research on rural and agricultural issues. It publishes "The Main Street Economist," a monthly newsletter on rural America, and sponsors an annual conference on rural policy issues.

Drabenstott also provides leadership to a number of national organizations. He is currently a member of the U.S. delegation to an OECD committee that tracks global trends in rural issues. He is a past director of the National Bureau of Economic Research and has also advised the World Bank.

His lecture will follow the presentation of this year's D. W. Brooks Awards winners at UGA. The awards are given annually to UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty members who excel in teaching, research, extension and public service.

The teaching award was established in 1981 to recognize excellence in the teaching program of the CAES. In 1983, the awards expanded to include research, extension and county extension programs. An award for international agriculture was added in 1988 and is given in alternate years.

The D.W. Brooks Faculty Awards for Excellence include a framed certificate and a $5,000 cash award. The lecture and awards are named for the late D.W. Brooks, founder and chairman emeritus of Gold Kist, Inc.

Brooks was an advisor to seven U.S. presidents on agriculture and trade issues. He started Cotton States Mutual Insurance Companies in 1941 to provide farmers with insurance.

His many honors for contributions to agriculture include being the first inductee into the UGA Agricultural Hall of Fame, earning the Distinguished Agribusiness Award from the Georgia Agribusiness Council and being named Progressive Farmer magazine's "Man of the Year in Agriculture in the South."

The CAES sponsors the annual lecture series in his memory.

(Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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