Monday, May 8, 2017

Member Profiles: Simanti Banerjee, Leah Palm-Forster & Mykel Taylor

Three AAEA members. Three different universities. Three different AAEA sections. One new goal.

Simanti Banerjee from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Leah Palm-Forster from the University of Delaware, and Mykel Taylor from Kansas State University are teaming up on a new research project to analyze a critical agri-environmental policy challenge.

That project, “Enhancing enrollment of leased land in agri-environmental programs: an investigation of the Conservation Stewardship Program in Kansas”, recently received funding from USDA-ERS. The group will study how land ownership, lease agreements and conservation contract requirements influence participation in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

“This has a direct impact on the environment,” Palm-Forster said. “If you want to address problems like nutrient runoff and soil erosion we need to find ways to make these types of programs attractive to farmers.”

This project has also come together thanks to involvement in AAEA Sections. Banerjee is active in the Land, Water, and Environmental Economics (ENV) Section, Taylor will be presenting a paper at the 2017 AAEA Annual Meeting in Chicago in a session sponsored by the Extension Section, and Palm-Forster will become chair of the Committee on Women in Agricultural Economics (CWAE) in Chicago.

All three women say involvement in AAEA helped them come together and
come up with the idea for this research. In fact, the 2016 AAEA Annual Meeting in Boston was the first time these members were able to meet in person.

“This has helped our communication and work and will be beneficial for our current project as it progresses and future projects we hope to work on,” Banerjee said.

Taylor has advice for young professionals or students – get involved in what AAEA has to offer.

“I participated in the AAEA Mentoring Program a couple of years ago,” Taylor said, “and that was a really great experience that led me to have a lot more confidence in understanding the nuances of the profession. Specifically it gave me the confidence to approach people and strike up a conversation at places like the Annual Meeting.”

Get to know AAEA Members:
Leah Palm-Forster: “After my grandfathers passed away both my grandmothers rented their land to local famers. Observing this transition sparked my desire to understand how land rental affects management decisions and the environmental impacts of agricultural production. Our current research is providing me with an opportunity to start digging into this important question.”

Simanti Banerjee: “Living and working in Nebraska has been fascinating for me from an ag-econ standpoint since I am originally from urban India from a city of approximately 13 million people and growing up I never really had any exposure to agriculture.”

Mykel Taylor: “My husband and I are doing our best to repopulate the world with redheads. We have two girls with red hair, but we were unsuccessful with the third, Tim, who has brown hair.”
All three members were recently featured in an AAEA news release about their new research program. You can read all AAEA news releases by clicking on this link. If you have an idea for a news release or a member profile, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office (

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