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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Staying Open to Opportunities Key to AEDE Alum's Success

Oct. 9, 2018

Constance Cullman began her practice of keeping an open mind when it comes to considering career choices as opportunities as a graduate student working on her master's degree.

"My thesis was on elasticity for corn and gluten feed in the European Union," says Cullman. "I applied what I learned researching trade flows, the impact of non-tariff barriers and how product is directly moved to work with OSU Extension post-graduation."

For five years, Cullman worked in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences developing input/output modeling skills, researching livestock supply and demand, and forecasting for agricultural outlook. 

From there she moved into positions with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Corn Refiners Association, the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Dow AgroSciences. Remaining open to new opportunities that were interesting and challenging expanded her career choices. She currently serves as President and CEO for Farm Foundation, an agricultural policy institute that cultivates dynamic non-partisan collaboration to meet society's needs for food, fiber, feed and energy. In this role, Cullman and her team analyze emerging issues to present objective, nonpartisan analysis to policy makers, government organizations, commodity groups, and non-profits. Developing the ability to produce objective analysis is something she says she learned at AEDE.

"My time in AEDE taught me how to think critically," says Cullman. "My education also introduced me to the concept of how the economics of a situation drives so much of our collective approach to food production and the development of policy."

Cullman doesn't think she would be up to the task of tackling the complex challenges facing the U.S. and global ag sector without the solid foundation formed by collaborating with AEDE faculty while a student and throughout her career.

"Graduate school is really the first opportunity for a student to be a colleague of faculty," says Cullman. "It is so important to fully engage them and take advantage of their expertise and the knowledge that you are surrounded by every day."

Equally important to Cullman has been her keeping in touch with AEDE over the years.

"While at the Ohio Farm Bureau, I co-wrote papers and served on Advisory Boards with Professors Emeritus Carl Zulauf and Tom Sporleder," says Cullman. "I have continued to stay in contact and have formed life-long working partnerships with faculty."

Cullman will be back on The Ohio State University Campus late fall as a guest speaker in AEDECON 2500 which introduces students to principles from various disciplines related to social, economic and environmental sustainability. 

"Theres exists many misconceptions about agriculture's ability to be sustainable," says Cullman. "We need many viewpoints, including students, to come to the table to figure out what is the most sustainable way to move food from producers to consumers."

Cullman's current role with Farm Foundation will ensure she is one of the many voices at that table offering objective analysis.