Patrick Westhoff grew up on a small dairy farm in Iowa, just a few miles from the “Field of Dreams.” He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Iowa and then spent two years in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, working with small-scale farmers. After getting a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas, he moved back to Iowa and earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University in 1989.
From 1992-1996, he served as an economist with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. He worked on several major pieces of legislation, including the 1996 farm bill.
Westhoff has spent most of his professional career studying agricultural markets and policies with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), first at Iowa State University and now at the University of Missouri. FAPRI analysis is used by the U.S. Congress, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and national institutions in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In November 2007, he was named a co-director of the FAPRI unit at the University of Missouri (MU). The author also teaches and advises graduate students in the MU Department of Agricultural Economics.