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Professor Wendy Umberger

Telephone +61 8 8313 7263
Position Director
Fax +61 8 8313 7109
Mobile +61 4 0599 0465
Building Nexus 10 Tower
Floor/Room 5 05
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Ctr Global Food & Resources

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Biography/ Background

Professor Wendy Umberger is the Director of the Global Food Studies Program at the University of Adelaide.  The program was officially launched in 2013 and focuses on economic issues affecting global food and agricultural value chains.  Wendy is currently leading components of interdisciplinary value chain research projects in Asia, Australia, North America, the Pacific Islands and South Africa exploring opportunities for agricultural smallholder households in producing high value (horticulture, dairy, beef) food products and adopting new technology to gain access to modern food value chains.  Part of this work includes estimating consumer demand for specific credence (quality, safety and health) attributes in food and determining efficient governance systems to verify related attributes. She is also studying the impact of urbanisation, modern retail transformation and development programs on food consumption patterns, diet quality and longer-run health and livelihood implications in Indonesia and Fiji. 


Wendy’s research uses innovative methods to understand drivers of consumer and producer behaviour and the implications of changing behaviour for global food systems.  This includes research to understand how individual and household characteristics such as demographics, socio-economics, attitudes, values and knowledge, affect future food demand and supply shifts, diet transformation and related health changes, and drive adoption and uptake of technology, both at the food production and consumption stages. This information is particularly helpful for translation of research and design of more efficient food policy programs. 


Professor Umberger has published extensively and has been invited to present her work internationally to a variety of audiences including industry, government and academic. Wendy received her B.S. in Animal Science (1996) and M.S. in Economics (1998) from South Dakota State University and her PhD in Agricultural Economics (2001) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Prior to joining the University of Adelaide in 2006, Wendy was an Assistant and Associate Professor from 2001-2007 in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University in the USA.   She was raised on a beef cattle farm, which is still owned and operated by her family in South Dakota USA.


Wendy’s current research focus and interests include:

·      Consumer behaviour related to food purchases, nutrition and health

·      Food security, including economics of food safety

·      Diet and nutrition transition in less developed and developing countries

·      Producer behaviour and drivers of technology adoption

·      Food policy

·      Translation of research for policy and industry



Ph.D. 2001, Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

M.S. 1998, Economics, South Dakota State University

B.S. 1996, Animal Science, South Dakota State University

Awards & Achievements

·       2010, Expert Group, National Lamb Value Chain Project

·       2008, Value Chain Project Development Team nominated by  SA Dept. of Premier & Cabinet

·       2008, Beef Industry Development Board, 3-year position by the SA Dept. of Premier & Cabinet

·       2007, “AAEA Outstanding Group Extension Award” (Project Coordinator)

·       2007, Invited to serve on the USDA GAO Experts Panel on National Animal ID Systems (NAIS)

·       2006, “Outstanding Extension Program Award,” Western Agricultural Economics Association

·       2005, USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Fellowship (Competitive;)

·       2005, “Outstanding Extension Program Award” (Program Leader), Western Agricultural Economics Association

·       2005, Elected to Colorado State University’s Gamma Sigma Delta, Fort Collins, CO.

·       2004, Western Regional Epsilon Sigma Phi “Outstanding Extension Team Award”, Fort Collins, CO.

·       2003, Colorado State Univ. Ext. Epsilon Sigma Phi State “Outstanding Extension Team Award”

·       2002, 2003 and 2004, Colorado State Univ Agribusiness Ass.“Faculty Appreciation Award”

·       2002, 2003, Colorado State University International Programs “Faculty Appreciation Award”

·       2002, Colorado State University Provost’s “Career Enhancement Grant”

·       2001, “J.B. Hassler Outstanding Graduate Research Award,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln,

·       2000, “Farmer’s Foundation National Research Fellowship,” National Farm Foundation,

·       2000, “International Food and Agribusiness Management Association Travel Scholarship,”

·       1997-2001, “USDA National Needs Agribusiness Fellowship,” USDA, Washington, DC.

Research Funding

Funded Projects as PI, Co-PI or Collaborator (Since 2007 only)

·      (2013-2016). “Getting to the meat of the matter: social and economic issues in animal welfare in Australia’s livestock industry” W.J. Umberger & R. Ankeney, $287,607 LP130100419 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (ARC-Linkage).

·      (2013-2015) “Grass-fed markets and value chains for small-scale and emerging beef cattle farmers in South Africa” G. Griffith, R. Cooksey, N. Nengovhela, D. Baker, J. Mamabolo and W.J. Umberger, W.J. $1.15 million LPS/205/128 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

·      (2011-2015) “Foods for Future Australians” NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, Makrides M, Gibson RA, Ryan P, Zhou SJ, Dodd J, McPhee AJ, Umberger WJ, Muhlhausler B, Collins CT, Penttila I., $2.15 million APP1035530 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

·      (2010-2013). “Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI)” W.J. Umberger, & Stringer, R. $2.1 million PC/2008/044 Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR). 

·      (2009-2012) “Economic Evaluation of the Seafood CRC.” W.J. Umberger, & Stringer, R..  Seafood CRC Project Number LS009, $300,000.

·      (2010-2011) “Consumer and Market Demand Research Network: A Look Behind the Curtain of Best Practice Value Chain Development: The Example of Meat Standards Australia.” Agricultural and Agri-food Canada. Co-PI. PI: S. Anders. $12,680,

·      (2009). “Beef Consumer Segmentation Research To Build Supply Chain Capability.” $47,500 from Meat and Livestock Australia, Innovation Partners Program (competitive) 09MLA_P.PSH.0427.

·      (2009-2010) “International Beef Value Chain Research Network.” Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund. Co-PI with PI: S. Anders. $15,000.

·      (2008-2010) “Markets for high-value commodities in Indonesia: Promoting competitiveness and inclusiveness.” R. Stringer, N. Minot, T. Reardon and W.J. Umberger Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project ADP/2005/066. $1.543 million.

·      (2008-2009). “Examination of Consumers Perceptions of Various Wine Product and Health Related Labelling Policies.” $20,000 from the Winemakers Federation of Australia (project to begin in April 2008). Also $10,000 from University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences Strategic Initiative Funds (competitive),

·      (2007- 2008). “Determining Retailer and Wholesaler Demand and Market Potential for Regionally-Grown Beef in South Australia.” $9967.50 from Primary Industries and Resources South Australia. 

·      (2007-2010) Linking vegetable farmers with markets in West and Central Java, Indonesia.”  Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). International Potato Centre is the Principal Investigator. Collaborating Researcher. Funded February 2008.

·      (2008) “Sustainable Value Chain Analysis – A Case Study of South Australian Wine” Collaborating researcher, $450,000 from Primary Industry and Resources South Australia. (UA share was $10,000).

·      (2007-2009) “Promoting diverse fuelwood production systems in PNG.” Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Principal Investigator: Ian Nuberg. Collaborating Researcher. February 2008.

·      (2006-2007) “Assessing the Impact of The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) On Beef, Pork And Lamb Harvesting And Rendering Facilities In The US.”, Colorado Dept. Ag., USDA-APHIS. PI: G.C. Smith. Co-PIs: J.D. Tatum, J.A. Scanga, K.E. Belk, J.N. Sofos, W.J. Umberger, T.G. Field, W.R. Wailes, and S.B. LeValley. Grant Amount: $394,426. Funded October, 2006.

·      (2005-2007), “Market Analysis of Forage Finished Beef In the Southeast.” Funded by the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). Principal Investigators: R.C. Lacy and W.J. Umberger. $76,273.00. July 2005. 



Entry last updated: Wednesday, 13 Jul 2016

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