September 21, 2017
Lexington, Ky.

Barry Barnett will return to his alma mater to assume the role of chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. A Woodford County native, he has earned three degrees from UK including his doctorate in agricultural economics.

"I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty and staff in the department to educate our students and to develop knowledge-based solutions for the important challenges facing the commonwealth, the nation and the world," he said.

As chair, Barnett will be the department’s administrative and fiscal affairs officer, program leader and chief academic officer. The department is home to numerous faculty and staff as well as the Kentucky Farm Business Management staff in six locations statewide. It is also the home of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, with 13 locations statewide and the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky.

“We are honored that Dr. Barnett will be taking the helm of this department,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “His background and experiences have prepared him for this role in a department that is fundamental to the agricultural economy of Kentucky and beyond.”

Barnett, who has more than 21 years of faculty experience, is currently a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University and a visiting scholar at Humboldt University in Berlin. He also served as the graduate coordinator at Mississippi State from 2010 to 2016. He held a similar role in 2007 at the University of Georgia, where he served as an associate professor from 2001 to 2007.

His chief research interests are agricultural risk, insurance and public policy. He has written extensively on the federal crop insurance program and frequently conducted research on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency. Some of Barnett’s recent work has been on the challenges of offering crop insurance in low-income countries. Recently, he received a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in recognition of his research achievements.

In addition to his research efforts, Barnett has also taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, receiving teaching awards at both levels. He was also a major contributor to the development of an international programs office at Mississippi State, serving as the chief author of a white paper commissioned by the administration on strategies for creating the office.

Barnett served as president of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and was co-organizer of the applied risk analysis section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He served as associate editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and on the editorial council of the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Barnett will assume his role Jan. 1.


Laura Skillman, 859-323-4761