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Scott H. Irwin Biography

December 2017

Dr. Scott H. Irwin holds the Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Irwin is a national and international leader in the field of agricultural economics.  His research on commodity markets is widely-cited by other academic researchers and is in high demand among market participants, policymakers, and the media.

Irwin is best known for his work on commodity market speculation and biofuels markets.  He has been an active participant in the world-wide debate about the impact of financial index investment in commodity markets, popularly known as “financialization.”  Irwin has published numerous academic articles on the subject and has been called upon to provide testimony before the U.S. Congress, the OECD, and the CFTC, as well as publishing op-ed articles in the New York Times and Washington Times.  He is also one of the foremost experts on biofuels markets and policy, writing and speaking frequently on the economics of ethanol and biodiesel, the Renewable Fuel Standard, and RINs markets.

Irwin is also a well-known innovator in the development of agricultural extension programs that have helped hundreds of thousands of farmers in Illinois, the U.S. and throughout the world make more informed production, marketing, and financial decisions.  His leadership and vision have been the driving force behind the award-winning farmdoc project at the University of Illinois since its inception in 1999.  The farmdoc website is a very popular “one-stop source” of farm-level decision-making information. In 2011 he led the development of farmdoc daily, which has the unprecedented and ambitious goal of publishing one original research-based article each day. The articles on farmdoc daily have earned a place on the “must read” list of farmers, educators, journalists, traders, market analysts, and policymakers around the globe.  This has earned it the title of “the Wall Street Journal of ag business.”

Irwin is a member of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) and was named a Fellow in 2013, the highest honor bestowed by the Association.  He has also received the Distinguished Group Extension Program Award (three times), the Quality of Communication Award, and Quality of Research Discovery Award from the AAEA.  He has served the AAEA in numerous capacities and was an elected member of both the AAEA Executive and Foundation Boards.  Other honors include the Paul A. Funk Recognition Award, the Spitze Land-Grant Professorial Career Excellence Award, and the Team Award (three times) from the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Irwin earned a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University.  He currently teaches courses on commodity price analysis and futures market research.  His lifelong fascination with commodity markets started as a young boy tagging along with his father to check the latest prices from ‘Chicago’ at the local grain elevator.