Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of Dr. Robert Johansson as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chief economist, effective July 12. Dr. Johansson has served as USDA's acting chief economist since Jan. 3, 2014, and as Deputy Chief Economist since 2012. He joined USDA in 2001.
"I am pleased that Dr. Johansson's leadership will continue to guide informed decision making at USDA to benefit American agriculture," said Vilsack. "Dr. Johansson is highly respected for his analysis and experienced insight, and extremely well prepared for the demands of this position."
As chief economist, Dr. Johansson is responsible for USDA's agricultural forecasts and projections and for advising the Secretary of Agriculture on economic implications of programs, regulations, and legislative proposals. His responsibilities include the Office of the Chief Economist, the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit analysis, the Global Change Program Office, and the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. He also serves as Chairman of the Federal Crop Insurance Board of Directors.
During his federal career, Dr. Johansson also worked as an economist at USDA's Economic Research Service, as well as in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, and at the Congressional Budget Office. In 2011, he was appointed senior economist for energy, environment, and agriculture on the President's Council of Economic Advisers where he also participated on the White House Rural Council and the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Dr. Johansson holds a Ph.D. and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Northwestern University. He served with the U.S. Peace Corps from 1990 to 1995 as an extension agent in Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. His research has spanned a wide range of issues, including biofuels policy, water quality and quantity policies, regulatory economics, food security, and regional modeling of agricultural systems.