BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The CWPA Remote series continues as Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Hall of Fame member George Gross, Jr., talks with Fordham University alumnus and American Sugar Alliance Director of Economics & Policy Analysis Jack Roney.
Slated to retire from the American Sugar Alliance in August 2021 following a tenure among the most influential members of the U.S. sugar industry for nearly the past 50 years, Roney has held his position at the ASA since 1996. His efforts focus on the development, implementation and defense of the United States sugar policy and on the implications of multilateral trade negotiations and other trade policy topics for the U.S. sugar industry.
In 1977, Dawson Ahalt, the deputy assistant secretary for economics and founder of the World Agricultural Outlook Board, selected Roney to be the first director of information for the new agency. At 26, Roney was the youngest agency information director at USDA by more than a decade. Subsequently, one of Roney’s several key contributions to the agriculture industry was founded. Roney was closely involved in the creation of the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report (WASDE), which remains pivotal for global agriculture to this day.
In 1981, Roney was selected for a USDA program that sponsored him to return to graduate school full-time. During this leave of absence, he completed a Master of International Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, in Washington. His master’s thesis, later published in SAIS’s Foreign Affairs magazine, was on the decision-making process behind, and viability of, the grain embargo that President Jimmy Carter had imposed upon the Soviet Union following their 1980 invasion of Afghanistan. At USDA, Roney had been tasked with defending the unpopular embargo with the public.
When Roney returned to the World Board in 1982, he switched career paths and became an economist, working in livestock and then grains. In 1985, he became the Board’s first sugar and specialty crops analyst and chair of the newly created Interagency Sugar Estimates Committee. The ISEC is responsible for developing all WASDE sugar forecasts.
In 1989, following 15 years at USDA, Roney accepted the opportunity to be the Washington Representative for the then 160-year-old Hawaiian sugar industry. He was with the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, representing the industry on all matters germane to federal policy and serving on the Executive Board of the American Sugar Alliance until sadly, HSPA closed its Washington office in 1996, after 99 years in existence.
It was then the ASA created the position of director of economics and policy analysis for Roney. He has served in the position ever since.
A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he overcome childhood polio to forge a gratifying athletic career, he co-captained the varsity swimming and water polo teams at Fordham.
A 1972 graduate of Fordham, Roney spent his junior year at the University of Cologne in Germany and received a Master of Arts in Public Affairs Journalism from American University in 1974 prior to earning a Master of International Public Policy degree with concentration in International Economics from The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1982.
He spends his free time enjoying sports, especially the Washington Capitals, oenology and the fine arts, and spending time with his wife, Deborah, and their two grown children, Kyle and Alison.