Donald J. Ricks

Donald J. Ricks

Ph.D., 1965. Oregon State University.
M.S., 1960. Michigan State University
B.S., 1958. Michigan State University

Professor Emeritus and Extension Marketing Specialist

Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
Michigan State University

AEC/AFRE Faculty, 1964 to 2003
Haslett, Michigan

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Biographical Information

Professor Emeritus, Donald J. Ricks was born on a fruit farm in Michigan, and has over his career on extension and problem-solving research on marketing and economic problems of the Michigan and U.S. fruit industry. This involved a total marketing system approach, including marketing organizations, market structure, vertical coordination and participant behavior between farmer and consumer.  His extension activities included continual working relationships with growers, processors and many industry groups, and conducting workshops on improved marketing system for fruits.

Overall, Professor Ricks’ professional interests included: marketing performance, industry strategic planning and competitiveness, vertical co-ordination, consumer and trade market research, market structure, pricing, group action activities, selected international trade topics, long-term projections, industry performance dealing with the fruit industries.  His applied research was designed to be closely integrated with extension effort working the Michigan and U.S. fruit industries.

One major emphasis of Professor Ricks’ extension program has been on broad industry problems and issues. This phase of the program has included working with many industry groups.  Other phases of his extension program have been oriented toward providing economic information for management and planning decisions of individual farms and marketing firms.  His extension program with the fruit industries was supported by a closely integrated program of applied economic research. All of his research activities were directed toward providing economic analysis results which could be used in his extension programs and by extension agents who work with these industries.

The analysis results and related information have been extended by Professor Ricks to the industry through bulletins, articles and papers as well as through a great many speeches and extension workshops with industry audiences. He has given a total of 618 speeches to industry and extension audiences over the years.   The extension programs with both industry groups and with individual farms and marketing firms are illustrated by Dr. Ricks’ work with the tart cherry industry.  He has worked especially close with the tart cherry industry over the years on various economic and marketing issues including marketing order programs, co-operatives, price analysis, market expansion, long-term supply-demand analyses, export expansion issues, adjustments to changing economic conditions and a variety of other issues.

In recognition of his long-term efforts with cherry industry economies, Professor Ricks has received several industry awards for his work.  His extension efforts have also involved substantial work with the Michigan apple industry as well as with other industries such as plums, blueberries and asparagus.  This work has inc1uded economic analysis and extension information on topics such as improving Michigan’s competitive position, demand expansion alternatives, international trade issues which affect the fruit industries, long-term trend analysis, and various alternatives for improved marketing.