Feeding the Public Conversation

Jonathon Coppess

Associate Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Jonathon Coppess

Addressing a Societal Problem to Contribute to the Public Good

Coppess studies agriculture policy and has served in several policy positions at the national level, now serving as the director of the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program. His work connects the history of federal agricultural policy development to current policy development. In the current context of climate change, his work is especially timely as he examines risk management and natural resource conservation.

Mutually Beneficial Exchange of Knowledge and Resources

Coppess strongly believes in the mutual benefits of research with practitioners and policymakers The relationships he has in the community help spur his research by enabling him to brainstorm new ideas and models that can be tested and, if proven, inform policy.

Collaboration with Communities or Organizations

Coppess partners with a range of diverse organizations and communities. Such agencies including the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Soybean Association as well as environmental and conservation groups. With each community and/or organization, he spends time building their relationship. Together, they try to answer questions, generate new ideas, and move the field forward.


Coppess has a tremendous impact on the policy sector. When reflecting on a favorite impact, he spoke about the impact of his first book. He wrote the book as he thought it was important to understand the history of farm policies to better contextualize the current policies related to farming. After writing the book, Congressional staffers on both sides of the aisle came up to him to talk about the book. The impact of the book may have helped spark a conversation about farming policy and filled an information gap in the literature.



Coppess has several traditional outputs. For example, he has written two books. His first book examined the history of farm policies. He is currently working on a second book that is in production. He has published several articles in law review journals. He has also presented his research at peer-reviewed conferences.


A tremendous non-traditional output is the farmdoc website, which provides timely information and interactive tools for practitioners and policymakers related to farming policy. Coppess publishes one article per week on farmdoc. Collectively, this has resulted in 418 articles, which have led to national media coverage. In addition to farmdoc, Coppess presents his work at non-academic conferences. There, he meets with community members to learn about ongoing issues. He also attends meetings with relevant stakeholders (e.g., the Crop Insurance Industry) and congressional staff. Such meetings can help lead to brainstorming for research ideas as well as help inform policy.

Additional Resources

To learn more about Professor Coppess’ publicly engaged research, visit the links below.