The College of Agriculture at Auburn University (AU) has announced the hiring of Mykel Taylor as the Alfa Endowed Eminent Scholar.
This faculty position involves research and instruction with a focus on promoting student achievement.
“Dr. Taylor’s strengths play hand-in-hand with the Alabama Farmers Federation’s mission of helping farmers and the agriculture industry, which has a $70 billion impact annually,” said Jimmy Parnell, Alabama Farmers Federation president, Auburn College of Agriculture alumnus and Chilton County timber and cattle farmer.
“She has a true interest in farmers and a proven record of working with them and other stakeholders on farm management decisions. We will benefit from her communication skills and her skills in analyzing public policy and its impact on our state’s farmers. Dr. Taylor brings a level of expertise to Alabama and AU that will be especially helpful as leaders begin crafting future farm bills.”
Taylor is currently an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University, where she has worked with landowners across the country to help mitigate common management struggles.
“I do research with land values and landowner-tenant relationships,” Taylor said. “It started because I got a lot of phone calls from individuals wanting help negotiating leases and understanding how to manage farmland leased out to farmers. Not only did I get a lot of those calls, but they were interesting calls. That really prompted me, and I’ve found that it has just been a really interesting area of study and a pleasure to help those farm owners.”
Taylor assumes the position Jan. 1 and looks forward to the opportunities the new position at Auburn presents.
“I’m really looking forward to this shift from purely Extension to teaching in the classroom,” she said. “I’m excited to interact with students and bring my experience working with farmers and ranchers to the classroom and to the students. I think that’s going to be a great transition.”
The Alfa Endowed Eminent Scholar provides leadership in a specific research area in partnership with the university; Alabama Cooperative Extension System; and state, national and international organizations and stakeholders.
This scholar engages regularly and effectively with producers, industry, nonprofits and organizations forming food and agriculture policies.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Taylor join the faculty here in the College of Agriculture,” said Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. “She brings impressive experience in research and Extension and a background in farm management and land economics that will be an incredible asset to our college.”
Taylor earned her doctorate in economics from North Carolina State University. At Montana State University, she earned a Master of Science in applied economics and a Bachelor of Science in agricultural business management.
She has been a faculty member at Kansas State since 2011. Previously, she was an assistant professor and Extension specialist at Washington State University.
The Montana native, her husband Justin and children Camille, 14, Marlee, 10, and Tim, 6, eagerly anticipate their move to the South.
“It is a new adventure,” she said. “It’s a great department with a lot of new faculty being hired, so there is an opportunity to be a mentor and leader in that respect. It’s a great school, and I’m excited to be part of it.”