USDA Rural Development Employee K. Charles Ling Named 'Economist of the Year' | USDA Newsroom
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News Release

Release No. 0027.10
Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384

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WASHINGTON, January 21, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA Rural Development agricultural economist Charles Ling has received the USDA Economists Group's Economist of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding work to foster greater understanding and use of dairy cooperatives.

"Dr. Ling exemplifies the ways in which USDA employees work tirelessly to help businesses and improve the lives of rural residents," Vilsack said. "The technical assistance he has provided to cooperatives has helped them improve their economic well-being and service to their members."

Ling received the award today at a ceremony at USDA headquarters. Ling provides the only source of comprehensive information on the marketing operations of the nation's dairy cooperatives, information which has proven useful in policy and research analysis. Especially noteworthy is Ling's work to calculate the cost of manufacturing cheese, butter and milk powder in cooperatively owned plants.

A database Ling created on dairy cooperatives that is updated every five years is frequently cited by the dairy industry. Ling has authored more than 22 research reports and 30 other research-related reports and conducted at least 64 technical assistance projects for farmer cooperatives during his more than 30-year tenure with USDA.

The USDA Economists Group's Economist of the Year award honors a current U.S. Department of Agriculture economist for excellence in economic research and analysis that contribute to the USDA mission regarding food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues. By highlighting the contributions of economic analysis to program and policy development and implementation, the USDA Economists Group encourages continued integration of economic analysis throughout USDA. Membership in the group is not limited to USDA economists.

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $125 billion in loans and loan guarantees.


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