Retired Bob Wisner helps Hart fill his shoes

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

NASHUA, Iowa — Chad Hart admits that it’s been a challenge to take over for longtime Iowa State University grain market economist Robert Wisner, but he’s enjoying the challenge all the same.

Hart spoke to farmers at last week’s fall field day at the Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm. He said he enjoys getting out and meeting farmers.

"Bob Wisner is a tough act to follow," Hart said. "He was here 41 years and he has a lot of knowledge."


Hart said Wisner’s knowledge allowed him to develop his own balance sheets. Wisner, who retired late last year, is still working on special projects at ISU.

"I’ll be relying more on USDA information, but I do try to pick Bob’s brain whenever I can," Hart said.

Hart is an assistant professor of economics as well as grain marketing economist in his new position. He analyzes grain, forage and energy crop markets and their interaction with the rest of the economy and then coordinates with ISU Extension specialists to communicate that information to farmers.

Hart served as head of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development’s biorenewables policy division for the past year. He also has been the U.S. Policy and Insurance Analyst with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at ISU.

He was responsible for directing econometric and modeling efforts for the crop insurance component of the FAPRI modeling system. He also maintained CARD’s Loan Deficiency Payment Interactive Web site and produced CARD’s crop basis pattern maps.

"It used to be that you looked to southeast Iowa for the highest-pricing opportunities because of exports," Hart said. "Now the higher prices are in northwest Iowa. We’ve seen dramatic changes in pricing patterns due to ethanol, and that will continue to change."

For farmers that means the best markets for their crops may be completely different today than they were three years ago, Hart said.

Hart arrived at CARD as a graduate student in 1991 and joined the staff in 1999.


"Most of my time at CARD was spent looking at issues for politicians," Hart said. "Now I’m looking at those same issues, but for farmers."

Hart received a bachelor’s degree in economics with minors in mathematics, history and astronomy from Southwest Missouri State University in 1991. He received a doctorate in economics and statistics in 1999 from ISU.

In 2007, Hart received both the ISU Regents Award for Staff Excellence and the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professional and Scientific Award for Achievement.

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