About Us

Agri-Food Economic Systems is an independent economic research organization dedicated to  agriculture and food.  High quality economic research that will help develop a better, more competitive, more sustainable, and more profitable agri-food sector is our passion and our commitment.


We envision a Canadian agri-food  system which:

  • Profitably competes at home and abroad on the strength of its efficiency, and its attention to consumer preferences
  • Can readily attract capital investment for profitable enterprises
  • Attracts desired levels of talented people as their first choice of career
  • Maintains the resilience of biological systems that support it

Our People

Al Mussell

Al Mussell, Research Lead

Al Mussell is the Research Lead, and founder, of Agri-Food Economic Systems, Inc. His areas of research expertise are farm management, agricultural marketing, and agricultural policy. For fifteen years, Al served as Senior Research Associate at the George Morris Centre.  Prior to that Al worked as an economist in the milk procurement division of Land O’Lakes, Inc. in Minnesota.

Al holds Bachelors and Master of Science degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph, and a Doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.  He is a past President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, the scholarly society for agricultural economics in Canada, a past director of the Progressive Dairy Operators, a dairy industry educational organization, and an alumnus of the US State Department International Visitor Leadership Program.

Email: al@agrifoodecon.ca

Brenda Dyack

Brenda Dyack, Principal Research Associate

Brenda Dyack is Principal Research Associate at Agri-Food Economic Systems.  Her expertise is in agri-environmental economics as well as agricultural research and innovation policy.   Prior to joining Agri-Food Economic Systems, Brenda was with the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the University of Canberra in Australia. She has also served as the Senior Economist with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences and as the Agriculture Advisor to the Ontario Ministry of Finance. Brenda has written extensively on agri-environmental economics, especially in relation to water, and is an expert in the assessment of agricultural research and innovation policy.

Brenda holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in economics from the University of Guelph, and a Doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph.

Email: brenda@agrifoodecon.ca

Claudia Schmidt

Claudia Schmidt, Senior Research Associate

Claudia is a Senior Research Associate at Agri-Food Economic Systems. Prior to joining Agri-Food Economic Systems, Claudia was the Research Economist at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. She has also served as Senior Research Associate at the George Morris Centre, where she headed the research pillar “Economics of Food, Health and Sustainability”. Claudia brings experience of working with academia, producer organizations and the private sector across a wide range of agricultural commodities. She holds PhD and Masters degrees from the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph, where she is currently an Adjunct Professor.

Email: claudia@agrifoodecon.ca

Kevin Grier

Kevin Grier, Associate

Kevin is the principal at Kevin Grier Market Analysis and Consulting, and an Associate at Agri-Food Economic Systems.  He is a respected market analyst and editor with over twenty five years of experience in research and analysis of the Canadian agriculture and food industry.

Reports and periodicals authored by Kevin Grier are used and depended upon by the most successful companies and farms in the Canadian grocery and meat sectors.  Kevin conducts market analysis research for his clients, and advises senior managers in various industries on pricing and marketing issues.

He also provides market and industry outlooks in the cattle, hog, chicken and grocery industries through a series of subscription publications.  For seventeen years Kevin served as Senior Market Analyst at the George Morris Centre.  Prior to joining the George Morris Centre, Kevin was a manager at the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.

Darryl Robinson

Darryl Robinson, Associate

Darryl Robinson is the President of Anush Recovery Inc. and an  Associate at Agri-Food Economic Systems.  Darryl is an expert in bio-materials handling and in the commercial conversion of raw agricultural products.  He has 25 years experience in agribusiness, including having served in senior leadership roles at Rothsay, Gencor Foods, Niagara Country Fresh Poultry, King Cole Ducks, and Premier Express Lines.  

Darryl brings a combined strategic and operating manager’s perspective to  areas such as feed manufacturing, rendering, waste disposal, transportation logistics, and food processing.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from McGill University and a Canadian Securities designation.

Douglas Hedley

Douglas Hedley, Associate

Douglas Hedley is an Associate at Agri-Food Economic Systems, following many years in the Canadian Public Service in Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. His last position was as Assistant Deputy Minister, programs Branch in AAFC. He has also worked in several countries around the world, USA, South America, Africa and South East Asia with The Rockefeller Foundation and Winrock International, and more recently in Ukraine.

Doug played a central role in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada throughout the development of farm income stabilization and risk management programs over many years. As well, he worked closely with provinces and industry groups to develop the Agricultural Policy Framework. Dr. Hedley is a past President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists and is a Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.

He holds Masters and Ph.D degrees in agricultural economics from Michigan State University and a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and business administration from the University of Guelph.

Laura Dawson

Laura Dawson, Associate

Laura Dawson leads the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, and is an Associate of Agri-Food Economic Systems.  Previously, she was the President of Dawson Strategic, a trade and economic analysis research firm based in Ottawa.  She has more than fifteen years’ experience providing advice to businesses and government around the world on trade, regulatory, and border issues. The Hill Times named her one of the Top 100 Canadian foreign policy influencers of 2014.

From 1998 to 2008, Laura was a senior associate at the Centre for Trade Policy and Law advising governments in developing and transition economies on trade and investment issues. Dawson taught international trade, Canada-U.S. relations and policy analysis at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and holds a PhD in political science.