Faculty 360 | Jada Thompson


Faculty 360 is an all-around look at a UT AgResearch faculty member. In this issue we feature Jada Thompson, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Thompson joined UTIA in July of 2017 and has an 80 percent research and 20 percent teaching appointment. Her research primarily focuses on animal health and production economics. Dr. Thompson received her PhD from Colorado State University in 2016. She is a native of northwest Arkansas and enjoys learning about animal health and its impact on producers and consumers. Outside of her research she enjoys learning about new cultures and languages; at last count she can greet you in twenty languages.

I start my workday with six impossible ideas. No wait, thatís Alice. I start my workday typically by doing a quick read through of the news headlines to get my blood pumping, then I use the energy to catapult my research for the day. I like starting on my least favorite aspects so I can treat myself later in the day by working on things that I really enjoy doing such as economic modeling or finding a creative method to solve an interesting problem.

A profound change in my field that will be coming in the next ten years will be increased emphasis on proactive measures and analyses in combating emerging issues. I work in animal health and production. How we react to events like avian influenza is very important, but I see a shift and an increased interest in proactive analysis to better measure the impact of policy on producers and markets ex ante (based on forecasts rather than actual results).

A favorite part of my job is definitely a toss-up between having the flexibility of research topics that make my heart sing and those blank stares I get in the classroom. I mean these stares obviously turn into wonderment and amazement by the end of class, but it is the ability to help pass down passion of agricultural economics to a new generation and hopefully inspire students in some way that makes it a contender for the favorite part of my job.

Something that gets my brain going is a good puzzle. Itís what I love about research. I like seeing a problem and thinking through to find a solution.

As an agricultural economist, Iím a fan of equivocating. I mean our quintessential answer is ďit depends.Ē In all fairness, this means that we really like to look at things from all sides. As an agricultural economist, I like looking at the economic implications of agricultural issues. Personally, I enjoy animal health issue. No one wants a disease in animal agriculture, but be assured Iíll keep studying them just in case.

If you raided my bookshelf, youíd find a mixture of nerdology and fiction, a very eclectic mixture. It runs the gauntlet from textbooks for school to Harry Potter. I have classics and modern fiction sitting next to each other; they donít bite. You never know what will catch my interest whether itís a fictional account of the siege of Stalingrad or Soccernomics, both of which you would find on my bookshelf.

Something that excites me about being part of the UTIA community are the long-standing traditions. It is exciting to be part of such a welcoming and warm community. I have been in many different institutions and it is an exciting to be part of the UTIA community that is steeped with history and a devotion to agriculture.