John P. Nichols: Lifetime Achievement Award

Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, August 2014 | Go to article overview

John P. Nichols: Lifetime Achievement Award


John Nichols is Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Economics, and Senior Fellow in Agricultural Economics in the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. He served on the faculty at Texas A&M for 44 years until his retirement in 2012. Dr. Nichols was born and raised on a farm in Niagara County, New York, and received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University and his M.S. degree from Michigan State. Appointed as assistant professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M in 1968, he progressed through the faculty ranks, served as the department's Leader of Research from 1981 through 2004, and as Head from 2005 through 2012. He was Director of the Center for Consumer and Food Marketing Issues in Texas A&M's Institute of Food Science and Engineering from 1999 to 2005 and as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science from 2005 through 2012.

Dr. Nichols' professional interests in research and teaching focused on marketing and market development for agricultural commodities and food products. He was hired as part of the founding faculty of the Texas Agricultural Market Research and Development Center, a mission-oriented unit within the Department of Agricultural Economics emphasizing team research projects to assist producer organizations in their efforts to expand markets and respond to new consumer demand opportunities. In this work, Dr. Nichols designed and conducted in-store retail experiments to evaluate new packaging and grading systems for fruit, conducted survey research at the consumer level, and with value chain participants to identify problems and opportunities that producers could address in their effort to capture higher returns for their commodities. He was a member of NEC-63 Regional Research Committee on Commodity Promotion Programs contributing to its success in promoting evaluation efforts and outreach to industry practitioners. Dr. Nichols, with his colleagues in the Center, conducted some of the early evaluations of generic advertising and promotion. His professional output consists of more than 140 papers, reports, and technical studies and numerous outreach presentations to industry organizations relating to market development strategy, tactics, and evaluation. He was the recipient of the 1998 Vice Chancellor's Award of Excellence for Team Research. Dr. Nichols' teaching career included courses in agricultural commodity marketing, policy, and agribusiness market development and management. He was an active member of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Agribusiness and the Graduate Faculty of Food Science. He also mentored and coached undergraduate clubs and competitive teams and served as advisor and chair of graduate student committees.

As his career developed, he found a demand for similar research efforts in the international sphere launching a series of projects that have spanned more than 30 years and 20 countries. His work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Agribusiness in the 1970s and 1980s focused on evaluation of social marketing programs for fortified food products and low-cost weaning foods. These projects included consumer acceptance surveys and market demand analysis in South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Guyana, and Sudan. While on sabbatical leave in Paris, France, in 1990, Dr. Nichols studied the effects of agricultural policy and the emergence of a single market for food products in the European Union. While in Europe, he was introduced to the post-Soviet world and the problems of transition economies while presenting lectures at the Agricultural University in Nitra, Slovakia. …

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