MEET BOB HAUSER
Bob Hauser has worn several hats in his twenty-plus years at the University of Illinois. When he first arrived in 1982, he had appointments in teaching, research and extension.
"Most of my teaching was in the area of commodity marketing and price analysis, said Hauser. "My research at that time was divided between grain transportation issues and the use of futures and options in particular.
"Later, I evolved into policy and policy analysis, and when I was working with farmdoc , it was almost exclusively on the policy side, starting with the Illinois Rural Policy Digest."
Currently Hauser is serving as the department head of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, his second stint in that position. Hauser was department head from 1995 to 2001, and then returned to a faculty position for three years.
"What I found the first time around," said Hauser, "was how much I had missed on some new techniques and technology advances. You don't think about that as a social scientist, but the reality was that over those seven years, the advances that were made in terms of technology were incredible. So that was an interesting transition."
Hauser returned to his current position in 2004, but says, "I do miss teaching and research. I miss the students and I certainly miss the intensity of research. In an administrative position like this, you worry about a new problem every ten minutes. So you forget how to concentrate on just one thing for a couple of hours."
Hauser does keep his hand in teaching by offering a one-hour course on state policy and state legislation every spring, but has no immediate plans to go back to more extensive work in teaching or research.
"It's very difficult to try and do two things well, for me anyway, so I just focus on this [administrative position]," he said.
Hauser has been involved with farmdoc since its inception and has high praise for the project.
"I was here when farmdoc began, not so much in the trenches, but I was always very supportive of the effort. From my perspective, it was interesting to watch, because it has ended up being what I consider to be the best outreach program for commercial agriculture in the country. I have no reservations about claiming that.
"And we do it," he noted, "not because of specialties in one particular area. The reason it's so successful is because we have a lot of keen minds looking at ag finance issues, ag marketing issues, farm management issues, ag policy issues, ag law issues, and other individual disciplinary areas that, collectively, comprise the whole of production agriculture in the Midwest. We have eight to ten faculty, each an expert in their respective area, who are truly collaborating toward a cause they think is right. It's a rare phenomenon in academics to get that much collaboration among faculty."
Hauser is married with two children, although he is now an "empty-nester," with one son graduated from Iowa State and working in Minneapolis, and a daughter who is in graduate school. In his spare time, Hauser's biggest hobby is hunting, in particular quail, pheasant and grouse.
To learn more about Bob Hauser, visit his homepage here.
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