Tom Johnson has been with RUPRI since it’s early years at the University of Missouri. Since his research, teaching and outreach have been focused on factors that affect the quality of life for farm families and other rural residents, Tom’s interests fit nicely within RUPRI’s developing mission. He served as the first RUPRI fellow in 1995 while on sabbatical, then returned to Columbia two years later to take a position at the University of Missouri, where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
Tom is Director of Analytic and Academic Programs for RUPRI, and he conducts and oversees socioeconomic research related to rural regions and public policies that support rural people and places. In reflecting on why rural policy is important, Tom says, “I believe that global prosperity and sustainability depend on our success at assuring that rural residents enjoy an adequate quality of life.” He also finds the experience of working with young professionals who also care about rural issues to be very rewarding.
Even though he currently lives in Colombia, Missouri, Tom remains very connected to his farmstead in Saskatchewan, Canada. Distance prevents him from being involved in the day-to-day production side of
the farm, but he enjoys being a part of the ongoing life and maintenance of the operation.