Agriculture News

December 1, 2016

Downey honored for lifetime contributions to ag retail industry

David Downey award David Downey, founder and executive director of Purdue’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business, receives the Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award from Daren Coppock, president and CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association. The Eberspacher Award is the ARA’s highest individual honor. (Photo courtesy of ARA/Chuck Zimmerman) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - David Downey, founder and executive director of Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business, was recognized with the Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award by the Agricultural Retailers Association on Wednesday (Nov. 30) at the organization’s annual conference and expo in Orlando, Fla.

The award is ARA’s highest individual honor and recognizes career-spanning achievements in and contributions to the agricultural retail industry.

“Dr. Dave Downey has had a profound impact on the ag retail industry through his work preparing students for industry careers and his educational programs for ag retailers around the world,” said Jay Akridge, Purdue’s Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. “A hallmark of Dr. Downey’s impressive 50-year career is the creativity, relevance and passion he brings to everything he does. His impact on the way managers approach their roles in the ag retail industry is impossible to overstate and this lifetime achievement award is certainly most deserved.”

Throughout his career, Downey, also a professor emeritus in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, has focused on marketing and selling to farmers. Some of his research has been in the area of farmer buying behavior, including Purdue’s Large Commercial Producer Project, which looks at the attitudes and buying patterns of large-scale U.S. farmers.

Downey has developed two new professional selling courses for undergraduate students, which have been models for agricultural sales programs established at nearly 50 other colleges and universities. He also has co-authored three textbooks that are widely used nationally in agribusiness programs.

Under Downey’s leadership, the Center for Food and Agricultural Business achieved international recognition as the leader for agribusiness executive education programs. Hundreds of professionals from around the world attend the center’s programming each year.

Downey has been recognized many times for his professional excellence, including four major teaching awards from Purdue University and two national awards from the American Agricultural Economics Association. In 2007, he was presented with the Certificate of Distinction Award from the Purdue Ag Alumni Association for his outstanding service to agriculture.

The Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2001 and is named after the late Jack Eberspacher, who served as ARA president and CEO. Honorees are chosen based on talent that has fundamentally advanced ag retail; steadfast contributions to the association, acknowledged by professional colleagues and local community; and work that has withstood the test of time.           

Writer: Jennifer Stewart-Burton, 765-496-6032, 

Sources: Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391,

David Downey, 765-494-0464,

Brian Reuwee, director of communications and marketing for the Agricultural Retailers Association, 202-595-1712,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Darrin Pack, 
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