Economic research

Unpacking a career in agriculture with help from the USDA Economic Research Service

Published by the USDA Research, Education, and Economics Communication Team in Research and Science

Sep 21, 2022

From an early age, Sarah Baskins had an interest in agriculture. That interest accelerated when she became Merced College’s Agricultural Business Student of the Year. While studying for her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Studies and Economics at California State University, Stanislaus, Baskins completed a major internship as an economist with the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

During this time, she co-authored with two other ERS economists a publication titled, Unpacking Growth in Per Capita Availability of Fresh Market Tomatoes. This publication focused on trends in the fresh market tomato industry. It is still used and quoted today. “I use this publication as a teaching tool at Merced Community College as part of my agricultural economics curriculum,” Baskins said. She is an assistant agricultural trade trainer.

Baskins also earned a master’s degree in business administration from California Baptist University. She is currently employed as an Operations Analyst for AgIS Capital Investment, where she manages research asset management for client investment portfolios and financial planning. “I use the knowledge and strategies I learned through my internship with ERS,” Baskins said.

Baskins participated in the USDA’s Outlook Forum Student Diversity Scholar program while attending California State University. Many USDA programs that support education and workforce development are programs covered by Justice40 (PDF, 222 KB), which is a type of federal program that falls within the scope of of the initiative as it includes investments benefiting underserved communities. Justice40 is a whole-of-government initiative that strives to direct 40% of overall benefits toward select federal investments to underserved communities. Some of the investments that fall under the Justice40 initiative include climate change, clean energy, training and workforce development.

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