Alex Winter-Nelson was named Director of the Office of International Programs in the College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences in August 2013. Winter-Nelson is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
He has been at the University of Illinois since completing doctoral studies in applied economics at the Stanford University Food Research Institute in 1992. His research has been motivated by a desire to understand the relationship between market institutions and poverty in developing countries. Most of this research has related to Eastern and Southern Africa, with some work in other regions of Africa and Latin America. Winter-Nelson has also been active in developing academic programs and has served as graduate program director in the Center for African Studies and the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
He has done extensive research on the effects of agricultural policy in Kenya and on the impact of development interventions on poverty in Ethiopia. He is currently involved in ongoing research in Zambia to evaluate the impact of livestock development on poverty and malnutrition among smallholders. Another strand of his research concerns the potential for commodity exchanges and other market based mechanisms to mitigate risk for farmers in developing countries. His work in Africa was reinforced through visiting appointments at Egerton University in Kenya and at The University of Pretoria in South Africa.He teaches classes on the world food economy and on international development to undergraduates and graduate students. Past teaching recognitions include the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Hughes Award for Teaching Enhancement and consistent rankings of excellence by his students.
Coming from a background in diary production and Peace Corps work before earning a PhD in Agricultural Economics, Goldsmith became the Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Center on the campus of the University of Illinois. Dr. Goldsmith's research interest is agro-industrial marketing. Specific topics include: adaptation processes and strategy, biotechnology, food safety, the Brazilian and Argentinean agribusiness complex, and large-scale livestock and grain firms. His current research projects include: The Economics of Safrinha Production and Post-Harvest Loss in Brazil, The Impact of Livestock on Poverty Reduction: Zambia, Agglomeration Theory and Soybean Industrial Clusters, The Problem of Persistence for Institutional Agribusiness Investors, and Measuring Value Creation Along the Food and Agribusiness Value Chain.