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Bruce Sherrick, a professor of agricultural and applied finance in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, has been with farmdoc since the beginning.

“From the inside looking out,” said Sherrick, “I would say farmdoc is a remarkable confluence of intentional and fortunate design complementarities.

“We started early on, quite frankly, in a somewhat defensive mode,” Sherrick continued. “If we were going to keep our own programs going and growing, we needed a more efficient way of coordinating and delivering.”

Sherrick credits Sally Thompson (former colleague), Paul Ellinger (incoming department head) and Scott Irwin ( farmdoc team leader) with early efforts to develop a design that coordinated certain things that were common. “That part was the intentional,” said Sherrick. “I don't think we realized what a great benefit we would realize in terms of time and delivery economy of time there would be in doing that. And the incredible collection of colleagues is part of the “fortunate” – the team really is greater than the sum of the parts in this case.”

Sherrick is involved in a number of areas in farmdoc . “My primary responsibilities involve crop insurance, in particular the tools that are evaluation based or simulation based,” said Sherrick. “Gary Schnitkey and I do a lot of background research and ratings work that has to do with yield distributions and yield risk, and how you characterize the things that are changing through time.”

Sherrick is also an author or co-author of components of the FAST suite of decision tools targeting agricultural producers and lenders.

“Recently I began working on a redesign of the Farm Credit System capitalization rules,” said Sherrick. “We're developing what you might call Basel-II compliant capital models. Basel-II refers to the collection of approaches that will be adopted through the Bank of International Settlements and despite the remote sounding name, will be the structure under which all banks' capital requirements are regulated in the future. We're developing approaches to capital regulation that mitigate taxpayer exposure to risk while promoting efficient deployment of capital. Lender-components of those will probably join into FAST Tools eventually.”

Sherrick said he also does a significant amount of work related to farmland assessments and evaluation, and in looking at the performance of farmland as an investment.

“Those are areas that we're going to begin to emphasize at farmdoc in the future,” he said. “We'll put a more intentional spin on landowner and land evaluation issues going forward.”

Sherrick earned his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1989. He came to the University of Illinois upon graduation with the idea that “this could be a temporary spot while my wife and I decided what we wanted to do long term. Then we realized it was a great place to have a family and we decided to stay – it is exactly what we wanted to do long term.”

Sherrick grew up on a ‘laboratory' farm in Ohio. “We did absolutely everything. You name a crop or an animal and we were probably involved with it,” he said. “We raised cattle, hogs, chickens and sheep and even had guineas and goats for a while. My parents were early experimenters with no-till and other conservation approaches, and made sure we were all involved in all aspects of production at some point.”

“Our home farm was less than 100 acres tillable plus woods and pasture, so it wasn't big at all,” he continued. “We also had a family dairy farm in the next county that was a little larger, around 200 acres. It wasn't commercial scale, by today's standards, but my dad saw all of it as a laboratory. I grew up on a ‘you learn it here first' farm.”

Sherrick had a brother and two sisters, and together they raised green beans, cucumbers and strawberries. “We had a contract with Smuckers, and I had a sweet corn contract with the Ohio State Alumni Association. I had five acres at the peak of that endeavor, and five acres of sweet corn is a lot of sweet corn.”

In his spare time, Sherrick has coached a variety of youth sports teams (24 all total) and he is an accomplished woodworker. He built much of the home his family lives in today, including all the cabinets and most of the furniture.

“In 1981, my dad and I spent the summer cutting wood on my grandfather's property,” he said. “We stacked it and dried it, and now I have a life-time supply of wood for family furniture. It's a great hobby.”

Sherrick and his wife Kris live in Champaign with their three children. 

To learn more about Bruce Sherrick, visit his homepage here.


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