Lee Schulz is the recipient of the 2023 Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.
Schulz is an Extension livestock economist and an associate professor of economics. His work encompasses farm management extension, focusing on the beef and pork industries. He has conducted extensive research on livestock production, marketing and risk management.
Schulz's economics research during the COVID-19 pandemic was critical to producers and consumers when livestock processing plants shut down. He developed models to track production trends and financial losses, and he maintained a constant media presence to share this information with market participants.
He has also collaborated with other researchers to assess economic damages created by the trade war between the United States and China. Schulz and his colleagues estimated crop and livestock revenue losses and correlated them with lost labor income and tax revenue. These estimates were used to help guide federal assistance payments for producers affected by the trade tariffs.
"In both cases, Dr. Schulz was proactive in summarizing the economic situations, pulling together the appropriate modeling and research tools to analyze the issues, and connecting with state and industry leaders to address and respond to the challenges faced," said Chad Hart, professor of economics and extension crop markets specialist.
In addition, Schulz has developed decision making tools and fact sheets for cattle and swine producers, studied risk management strategies for beginning farmers, and investigated the impacts of foreign animal disease outbreaks on livestock markets. He has also taught several economics courses at Iowa State and serves as the co-advisor for the Agricultural Marketing and Management Organization student club.
Schulz received a bachelor's degree in agricultural business from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls and a master's in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. He then earned a doctorate in economics at Kansas State University in 2012 before he began working at Iowa State later that year.
The Kolmer Award is named after Lee R. Kolmer, who served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for 14 years beginning in 1972. Kolmer and his wife, Jean, established the award to honor faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of Iowans through applied research.