Mykel Taylor hired as Alfa Endowed Eminent Scholar

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By Kristen Bowman

The College of Agriculture at Auburn University is pleased to announce the hiring of Mykel Taylor as the Alfa Endowed Eminent Scholar.

This named faculty position involves both research and instruction, with a particular focus on promoting student achievement.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Taylor join the faculty here in the College of Agriculture,” said Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. “She brings impressive experience in research and extension and a background in farm management and land economics that will be an incredible asset to our college.”

Taylor is currently associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. She has worked with landowners across the country to help mitigate some of the common management struggles they face.

“I do research with land values and landowner-tenant relationships,” Taylor said. “It really started because I got a lot of phone calls from individuals wanting help negotiating leases and understanding how to manage their farmland that was being leased out to farmers. Not only did I get a lot of those calls, but they were interesting calls. That really prompted me, and I’ve found that it has just been a really interesting area of study and a pleasure to help those farm owners.”

Taylor assumes the position Jan. 1, 2021, and she is looking forward to the opportunities the new position at Auburn presents.

“I’m really looking forward to this shift from purely extension to teaching in the classroom,” she said. “I’m excited to interact with students and bring my experience working with farmers and ranchers to the classroom and to the students. I think that’s going to be a great transition, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The role of the Alfa Endowed Eminent Scholar is to provide leadership in a specific research area in partnership with the university, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, state, and national and international organizations and stakeholders. This faculty member engages regularly and effectively with agricultural producers, industry, nonprofits and organizations formulating food and agriculture policies.

“Dr. Taylor’s strengths play hand-in-hand with the Alabama Farmers Federation’s mission of helping farmers and the agriculture industry, which has a $70 billion impact annually,” said Jimmy Parnell, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, an Auburn College of Agriculture alumnus and Chilton County timber and cattle farmer. “She has a true interest in farmers and a proven record of working with them and other stakeholders on farm management decisions. We will benefit from her communication skills and her skills in analyzing public policy and its impact on our state’s farmers.

“As the Alfa Eminent Scholar, Dr. Taylor brings a level of expertise to Alabama and Auburn University that will be especially helpful as leaders begin crafting future farm bills.”

Taylor earned her Ph.D. in economics from North Carolina State University, her Master of Science in applied economics from Montana State University, and her Bachelor of Science in agricultural business management from Montana State University.

She has been a faculty member at Kansas State since 2011. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor and extension specialist in the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

Originally from Montana, Taylor, husband Justin and children Camille (14), Marlee (10) and Tim (6) are looking forward to their move to the South.

“It is a new adventure," she said. “It’s a great department with a lot of new faculty being hired, so there is an opportunity to be a mentor and leader in that respect. I’m looking forward to that opportunity. It's a great school and I’m excited to be part of it.

Tags: Faculty, College of Agriculture, News

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