Who We Are

We use rigorous, data-driven economic analysis to support decision-making in the agricultural and water industries.

Founded in 2013, ERA Economics develops data-driven economic analysis for business decisions, policy development, and litigation support. We develop clear and concise analysis by applying economic theory and econometrics to comprehensive data, enabling our clients to make informed business and policy decisions.

We specialize in the economics of agriculture and water resources in California, and have also supported projects in Arizona, Nebraska, Hawaii, Kansas, Oregon, and Washington and abroad in India and Kenya. We continue to publish peer-reviewed technical articles, books, and policy reports to advance interdisciplinary science and provide our clients with the most current methods and data.


At ERA Economics, we improve the agricultural economy’s resilience to drought and water scarcity, new environmental and water regulations, and uncertainties from a changing climate.


We provide technical economic support, including research, analysis, and expert recommendations, to best position our clients’ economic outlook.


We use state-of-the art, proprietary economic modeling, the best available data and interdisciplinary science, and a deep bench of professional expertise.

Our team’s expertise and experience are unparalleled.

Miranda Driver

Project Consultant

Miranda joined ERA Economics in 2015 and has assisted with a range of economic analyses, including rulemaking for two Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessments and several economic benefits assessments for agri-chemical clients. Miranda and her husband are the 5th generation living and working on their family’s diversified farm in the Sutter Basin. Miranda has worked with a wide variety of agriculture organizations and has an in-depth understanding of the unique requirements for marketing to and for agribusiness companies. In addition to her work at ERA, Miranda is a co-founder of CalAgJobs, a central hub for California agricultural jobs and recruiting, and she is currently part of Class 49 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program.
Harry Ferdon

Senior Economist

Harry has over a decade of experience working with clients in agriculture and water resource management. He has worked with growers to improve irrigation water management, particularly those in the Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, and Imperial Valley. Some of his current focus at ERA Economics includes working with clients to develop analyses to quantify the economic impacts of proposed regulations and policies affecting agriculture and water resources. He is intimately familiar with the state rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedures Act, having prepared economic and fiscal impact analyses for California state agency rulemakings, including preparation of Initial Statement of Reasons, SRIA determinations, and STD 399 Forms. In addition to economic impact analyses, Harry enjoys working with growers, consultants, and regulators across different regions in the state, helping them to better understand and utilize available water and agronomic data, particularly in the context of SGMA and other policies. Harry holds an M.S. in Agribusiness from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and B.A. in Economics & Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara.
Nicholas Gallagher, Ph.D.


Nicholas is an economist specializing in farm risk management and farmer decision making. His research focuses on methods of characterizing farmer decisions in economic models with specific interest in farmer response to environmental factors. His research draws from a wide range of disciplines including economics, information theory, mathematical programming, and agronomy and is heavily influenced by the farmer experience. Prior to graduate school, Nicholas worked as a Research Agronomist, acting as principal investigator for a variety of field trials on crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa. Nicholas earned his B.S. in Mathematics and Botany, his M.S. in Agroecology, and his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is also currently part of the Applied Economics Faculty at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Jarrett Hart, Ph.D.


Jarrett specializes in developing economic models to deliver data-driven assessments of agricultural markets. Prior to joining ERA Economics, he was a postdoctoral scholar for the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center. He is an expert in econometrics, agricultural policy analysis, experimental design, and demand modelling. Much of his work has focused on market analyses and economic assessments of California industries including wine, beer, cannabis, dairy, and other animal products. He is adept at utilizing statistical software to quantify the effects of policy changes and other shocks on agricultural supply chains. Jarrett holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis and an M.S. in agribusiness and applied economics and B.A. in mathematics and statistics from North Dakota State University.
Steve Hatchett, Ph.D.

Senior Principal Economist

Steve is a senior principal economist and project manager specializing in water resources and agriculture. He was senior principal economist and project manager in the Sacramento office of CH2M HILL for more than 20 years, from 1987-1998 and 2009-2018, and was principal and owner of Western Resource Economics from 1999 to 2009. Steve’s primary focus is on assisting clients with integrated analyses, in which economics is integrated with hydrologic and engineering analyses. He has more than 30 years of experience in project evaluation, including financial analysis, rulemaking support, benefit-cost analysis, cost allocation, CEQA/NEPA support, and assessing regional economic impacts. He has assisted federal, state, and local agencies in implementing large water resource programs resulting from new laws, regulations, and court decisions.
Richard Howitt, Ph.D.

Founding Partner + Senior Principal Economist

Richard is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and faculty member in the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California at Davis. Richard co-founded ERA in 2013, and brings more than four decades of experience in agricultural, resource, and environmental economics. He has worked with many clients on a diverse range of water and agriculture projects, for litigation and policy analysis. He is a leading expert on the economics of irrigated agriculture and resource policy evaluation. He previously served on advisory boards for the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Academy of Sciences. Richard has provided litigation support for numerous cases including three inter-state water rights disputes, of which two cases resulted in testimony before Special Masters of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Duncan MacEwan, Ph.D.

Managing Partner + Principal Economist

Duncan is the managing partner of ERA Economics and principal economist specializing in agriculture and water resources. Since co-founding ERA in 2013, his work has concentrated on assisting agricultural businesses and water resource managers navigate a changing regulatory and policy environment through economic analysis, financial analysis, risk assessments, and other initiatives to improve environmental stewardship. Some of his current projects include water valuation and risk assessments for agribusiness clients, benefit-cost analyses, feasibility studies, and economic analysis to support SGMA implementation. He has prepared presentations and testimony on the economic impacts of water and agricultural policies/regulations, including assisting client teams with economic analysis to resolve legal disputes. Duncan has worked extensively with interdisciplinary teams and is intimately familiar with integrating economic analysis into engineering, policy, institutional, and legal considerations.
Roger Mann
Roger Mann, Ph.D.

Senior Principal Economist

Roger specializes in benefit-cost and financial analysis of water projects, regional economics, and ecosystem economics. He has provided high-level research and process design for a variety of public, private, and NGO clients in California and other western states. He has designed simulation and optimization models for municipal water supply and quality benefits analysis and statistical models for a variety of water-related benefits and valuation, including water supply, water quality, flood damage reduction, recreation, and ecosystem benefits. As a member of the Independent Economic Analysis Board of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council he helped evaluate cost-effectiveness of fish and wildlife investments. More recent engagements include working with the California Water Commission to implement the Water Storage Investment Program and assisting California DWR with economic methods, criteria, and ranking for various water project grant and loan programs.
Michael McCullough, Ph.D.

Senior Economist

Mike is a senior economist with ERA Economics specializing in agricultural economics. He concurrently holds a position as a Professor of Agribusiness at California Polytechnic State University and is Chief Executive Officer of the Beeronomics Society. He teaches courses focused on data analysis, research methods, and applied economics. His research interests deal with California production agriculture including the regulatory environment currently faced by producers, as well as the economics and policy of beer and wine. Mike has worked on a range of agricultural cost studies for private and agency clients across California. This includes grower interviews to develop production cost studies and assess regulatory costs. Mike has published extensively on the effect of regulations on farm profitability and competitiveness. Mike hails from Idaho and completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Boise State and Washington State University, before moving to California and spending the last 15 years working on agricultural issues in California.
Jay Noel, Ph.D.

Senior Principal Economist

Jay is a senior principal economist with ERA Economics and professor emeritus and past chair in the Agribusiness Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He has more than 40 years of experience in California agriculture. He previously served as the Director of the California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops and as the Chief Operating Officer of Rice Growers Association of California. Jay has several decades of experience in agriculture and specialty crop policy analysis, agribusiness strategic management, food supply chain risk management, and regulatory risk analysis. He has prepared numerous reports and made presentations on issues such as specialty crop transportation, agricultural risk and uncertainty, economic competitiveness, regulatory impacts on agricultural profitability, natural resource management and agribusiness management.
Brooks Ronspies


Brooks works with agricultural businesses and water resource managers to apply data and economic models to improve business and resource management decisions. He is an expert in data management, GIS analysis, and application of data tools to integrated hydroeconomic analyses. This includes valuing agricultural water assets, quantifying water risk, and assessing agricultural market conditions to develop price and cost forecasts/outlooks. Brooks has worked with clients on agriculture and water management issues in California and other western states including Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon. Brooks is also responsible for maintaining ERA's land, market, and water data used to calibrate economic models and supports ongoing model development. Brooks earned his M.S. in Agriculture and Resource Economics from University of Nebraska and B.S. in Economics from the same institution.
Alexis Vivas Flores

Intern Economist

Alexis joined ERA Economics in 2022. As an undergraduate at the University of California - Davis, she completed a thesis where she explored public agricultural research investment funded by the USDA for principal crops grown in the United States. Alexis is pursuing a Masters in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis. She graduated in 2022 with a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in managerial economics.

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