While acting as a consultant to Brazil in its challenge to U.S. cotton subsidies in 2004, the California Cotton Growers Association accused him of “join[ing] forces with the enemy to cut the heart out of our farm program,” while others praised him for shedding light on the global role of U.S. agricultural programs. (Here’s his paper on the subject.)
His most recent research considers the economic effects of a controversial California initiative that would ban eggs from caged hens.
A former assistant secretary for economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sumner was active in the background analysis for the 2008 Farm Bill. His research focuses on agricultural trade policy, world food issues, biofuels, food safety and traceability, wine economics, and “bee-conomics.” He is the director of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center and a Frank H. Buck, Jr., Professor at the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis.
He is also the author, co-author, or editor of several books, including Agricultural Trade Policy: Letting Markets Work.
Addendum: Sumner answers your questions here.