Mark Stephenson has been named as the new director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and UW-Extension Cooperative Extension. In this role, Stephenson will play a leadership role in dairy policy, dairy market analysis, communication and education for UW-Extension and CALS. He is expected to start on July 1.
Stephenson brings 17 years of faculty experience from Cornell University where his time was divided between applied research, Extension and teaching in dairy markets and policy. Much of his work at Cornell focused on dairy policy and as a team member, included a ground-breaking analysis of spatial differences in milk prices and class I differentials. His research work also has been used in modifications to the product price formulas and again on looking at the class I differentials and the impacts of fuel costs on them.
“We are thrilled that someone of Mark’s caliber will be joining our staff,” said Irwin Goldman, interim dean of CALS. “Mark Stephenson’s arrival in Wisconsin will help assure our position at the leading edge of dairy policy analysis for years to come.”
John Shutske, associate dean and program director for Extension programs in agriculture added, “Dairy markets are dynamic, volatile, and dairy producers and processors need current and actionable information at their fingertips to make wise decisions on a daily basis. In Mark, we were able to get one of the most knowledgeable experts in the world in this area that’s so vital to Wisconsin’s economy.”
Stephenson has been a regular and reliable contributor to U.S. dairy policy discussion both with USDA and with Congress. Before his time spent at Cornell, Stephenson spent three years in the Department of Agricultural Economics at UW-River Falls where he also worked in dairy Extension.
In this role serving the dairy industry in Wisconsin, Stephenson brings considerable expertise in understanding of the complexity of international dairy markets. He recently spent time in New Zealand and Australia. Stephenson said, “For many years the United States dairy interests had the luxury of being able to focus almost exclusively on its domestic industry. Because imports and exports comprised such a small portion of product, we simply didn’t have to worry about the rest of the world. That situation is no longer the case and world trade in dairy products and the competitiveness of the U.S. dairy industry is a new and important consideration.”
In considering his new role with UW-Madison, Stephenson said “I applaud Wisconsin’s vision to create this position. It will bridge dairy-related disciplines and move us toward a common purpose as the dairy industry steps forward into a more complex and competitive environment.”