By Ken Baughman, Eta; and Bill Murray, *  Eta[1]


















            The graduate and research program under the department of economics at Iowa State University is termed by many as one of the best in the world.  There are currently 100 students doing graduate research, in addition to 250 undergraduates in the agricultural business curriculum.

            In view of this vigorous program of education being conducted by the university, its vitality is reflected by four energetic and dedicated AGR’s all of whom are respected men in their field.


Dr. W. G. Murray

            The first is Dr. W. G. Murray.  Brother Murray received his M.A. from Harvard University in 1925.  He was activated into Eta Chapter in 1928 while he was a young professor at Iowa State.  In 1931 he received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota.

            Dr. Murray is known to most students of land grant school’s as the author of recognized texts on farm appraisal and agricultural finance.  Murray’s positions down through the years include: economist for the USDA; head of economics department at Iowa State for 10 years; chief economist for the Federal Farm Credit Administration in Washington, D.C.; chairman of the Iowa Governor’s tax study committee; and director of a savings bank.  He has served as an appraiser of Indian lands, dating back to 1845, on an assignment for the justice department to evaluate millions of acres of land in the western plains; member of the Iowa Natural Resources Council; trustee of Coe College; candidate for governor of Iowa in 1958; American Farm Economics Association president; and a active layman of the Presbyterian Church.

            To his associates, Brother Murray is known as an authority on agricultural finance and farm appraisal.  The people of Iowa know him as Bill Murray; a republican politician who once ran for governor on a realistic tax reform program, but was defeated because his plan required a readjustment of an already overburdened tax structure.


Dr. Geoffrey Shepherd

            The second member of this quartet is Dr. Geoffrey Shepherd.  Brother Shepherd teaches graduate courses and conducts research work at Iowa State.  Born in England, Shepherd moved to Canada with his family when he was a youngster.  He grew up on a ranch in southern Saskatchewan. And has never lost interest in outdoor life.  He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1924.  He came to Iowa State and became attached to a group of students, both graduate and undergraduate, who were members of Alpha Gamma Rho.  After receiving his M.S. degree in agricultural economics, he continued his studies at Harvard.  There he received his Ph.D. degree in economics.  His major areas of research are agricultural marketing and agricultural policy and price analysis.  He has books in print covering both of these fields; all of them have translated into Japanese and one into Polish.

            In recent years Shepherd has traveled abroad three times as an economic’s advisor.  He served for six weeks with the organization forces in Germany in 1949.  In 1951 he spent six weeks in Japan and six weeks in Burma in 1957.

            Dr. Shepherd is probably known best for his projected price-analysis of farm commodities in the absence of government price supports.  Subsequently this report was revealed before the congressional agricultural committees, and denounced by the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.  All reports around here indicated that “ole” Jeff won out.


Dr. John F. Timmons

            The third member of the staff is Dr. John F. Timmons.  Dr. Timmons is a member of Theta Chapter, and holder of many offices there.  The highest was vice-noble ruler.  Brother Timmons is known to all as a highly intelligent person with a broad, well-developed vocabulary.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin with a minor in Law.  His major area of research has been land economics.  He stands tall in this field along with such notables as Raup, Barlow and Rene.

            Timmons personally created and now heads the agricultural law center at Iowa State.  He has written an untold number of publications on agricultural law, water conservation, land tenure and economic development at home and abroad.  Dr. Timmons is Executive Director of the Iowa-Peru Program, which is associated with the State Department and the AID program.  HE is currently chairman of the Soil and Water Committee of the National Academy of Science.  He is serving with the O.A.S. on their seminar staff in Latin America.  This last November he taught at a University in Costa Rica, and this fall he will teach at a University in Brazil.  Dr. Timmons follows a field somewhat different from the other three in that his main emphasis has been on institutional structures as apposed to cost-price economics.  He has even written a bulletin on the integration of economics and law which will challenge the intellect of the scholarly.


Dr. Earl Heady

            The fourth and last member of the quartet, Dr. Earl Heady, is known throughout the world as the outstanding man in his field, production economics.  He is known as a very able, fast, accurate and personable individual.  He has from 25 to 30 graduate students working under him at all times and knows what specific projects they are working on even though he is frequently absent from the university. 

Brother Heady was house advisor to Eta Chapter in 1951, and past Noble Ruler of Kappa Chapter in about 1940,  He and his wife still maintain an active interest in fraternity activities.

Here are just a few of his many accomplishments:  He is creator and director of the Agricultural Adjustment Center, which has received grants totaling over $1,000,000 since its founding; he has authored more than 225 research bulletins and journal articles, has written six books, co-edited seven books, and is a contributor to eight books; he has been in charge of over 100 Ph.D students over the United States and the world; has served as vice-president of the American Farm Economics Association, and Vice-President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Association; he received the American Farm Economics Research Award in 1949, 1953 and 1956; he was awarded the Social Science Research Council Faculty Scholarship from 1950 to 1953.

He served as visiting professor to the University of Illinois, whose economics program is headed by AGR Harold Halcrow, the University of California, Harvard University and North Carolina State University; in 1960 and 61 he served as a fellow of the Center of Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, California; in 1958 he visited Asia and continued on a trip around the world under the sponsorship of the Council for Economics and Cultural Affairs – his purpose was to appraise work on agricultural economics.  It was also on this trip that he became a friend of Prime Minister Nehru of India.  In 1959 he returned to India under a grant from Rockefeller Foundation to explore the possibilities of improving graduate training and research for agricultural economics there.

He has been elected a Fellow of the American Farm Economic Association, the youngest person to receive this honor.  At the present time, there are fewer than 20 living Fellows.        

Dr. Heady has served as consultant to the USDA in the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Office of Agricultural Experiment Stations, and also has been consultant to the Tennessee Valley Authority, The Ford Foundation and the Esso Research Foundation.  He also served as consultant to the President’s Materials Policy Committee.  He has additionally served as consultant to the European Economic Cooperation and Development Organization, and as a delegate to the International Conference of Agricultural Economics in England, Mexico and India.

Heady is one of the originators of linear programming in agriculture.  It is still controversial but promises to revolutionize certain management and planning practices in agriculture and business.


Dr. James Hilton

            This story cannot be justifiably told without mentioning another person.  To conduct a vigorous program of research in a social field such as economics, it is necessary to occasionally overlap into the political arena.  When the heat of controversy is on, it is the administration that must stand behind his researchers and teachers.  In this case Iowa State has one of the best, Dr. James Hilton, President of Iowa State University.  A former profesor of animal science at Iowa State, Purdue University, and North Carolina State and a long standing AGR, Dr. Hilton recognizes the cultural environment that a technical school fails to provide.  He has encouraged the financing of a seven million dollar cultural center financed strictly by alumni donations.  The construction of the center in 1967, as are the accomplishments of these men, is a well deserved tribute to this dedicated and foresighted man who will retire in 1965

* Murray is not related to the subject of the article.  He is in the Information Service at Iowa State.  Baughman is attending the University of Illinois Law School.


[1] Article published in the Sickle and Sheaf November, 1963.

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