UTIA Professor Appointed FDRS President

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Margarita Velandia to lead Food Distribution Research Society

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Margarita Velandia, professor and interim head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, is the newly appointed president of the Food Distribution Research Society. She officially began her appointment at the Society’s 2022 conference, held October 22-25 in Pensacola, Florida.

The Food Distribution Research Society assembles professionals from academia, government and industry to work together in an effort to foster growth in the industry. It is the only body of scholars and practitioners in the United States dedicated to the study, monitoring and sharing of knowledge about the dramatic changes that are taking place in the global food system.

“It is a great opportunity and honor to serve as FDRS president,” said Velandia. “This organization is fully committed to applied research that could impact stakeholders across the global food system. Additionally, the society has one of the most diverse leadership teams among agricultural economics organizations. As the second Hispanic woman to hold the position, I want to continue embracing an organizational environment that gives members and leadership a sense of belonging where they can exchange ideas and thrive.”

The FDRS produces the Journal of Food Distribution Research, a well-established journal that focuses on issues of importance facing the U.S. agribusiness economic sector. The journal places emphasis on the flow of products and services through the food wholesale and retail distribution system. Velandia served on the journal’s editorial review board and is a former vice president of programs.

Joining the faculty of UTIA’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 2007, Velandia has attracted $8.3 million in extramural funding for the department. This funding supports multidisciplinary research and Extension programs focusing on various topics associated with sustainable farming systems, including precision agriculture technologies and alternative production practices and marketing strategies for specialty crops.

Her research program aims to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of farms and rural economies by improving our understanding of alternative technologies, production practices and markets for agricultural producers.

Velandia earned a doctorate in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University; a master’s degree in environmental and natural resource economics in a joint degree program from Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia, and University of Maryland; and a bachelor’s in economics from the Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

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Tina M. Johnson

Agricultural and Resource Economics


Margarita Velandia, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics