Daniel A. Sumner is the Frank H. Buck Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis. He is also the director of the University of California Giannini Foundations for Agricultural Economics. For many years he has taught “The Economics of Agricultural Sustainability” to a diverse group of undergraduates.
Sumner’s academic research, teaching and outreach have concentrated on challenges facing farms, agricultural industries, and consumers including such issues as projecting supply, demand and price for farm inputs and outputs, food demand tied to farm-based product attributes, and competition among firms, regions, and industries. Much of his research has focused on international trade and government subsidy and regulatory policy. His recent book with Robin Goldstein Can Legal Weed Win? The Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics was published by the University of California Press in 2022.
Before returning to California in 1993, Sumner was a senior economist at President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Assistant Secretary for Economics at USDA. He led economics, statistics and forecasting work at USDA with oversight over more than 1,000 professional economists and statisticians. He was previously a professor of economics at North Carolina State University and a post-doc at RAND.
Sumner has won numerous publication awards for quality of research contributions, communications, policy contributions and is a fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association. In 2022, he received the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Faculty Award of Distinction.
A native of Suisun Valley in Solano County California, Sumner grew up on a fruit farm and was active in 4-H and FFA. He holds a BS in agricultural management from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, an MS in economics from Michigan State, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.
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