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.

Why

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.

What

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

How

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

Economist

Harry joined ERA Economics in 2020 as an Associate Economist to continue his career in and passion for agriculture, water resource management, and economics. At ERA, he has assisted on a variety of projects, including economic and fiscal impact analyses for CA state agency rulemakings, economic impact analyses of policy and other pressures on agribusiness, and drafting Groundwater Sustainability Plans for CA Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. Prior to ERA, Harry’s background includes several years of experience with agronomic instrumentation and irrigation technology companies. He has worked 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’s master’s thesis, completed in 2016 for his M.S. in Agribusiness at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, analyzes the economic efficiency of water transfer strategies within agricultural water districts. He has his B.A. in Economics & Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara.
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 and principal economist specializing in agriculture and water resources. Prior to co-founding ERA in 2013, Duncan held a position as a consultant economist with CH2M and as a postdoctoral scholar in the department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. Some of his current projects include water valuation and risk assessments for agribusiness clients, benefit-cost analyses, feasibility studies, and economic analysis to support Groundwater Sustainability Plan development. Duncan is also a primary developer of California’s Statewide Agricultural Production (SWAP) model and has worked with private entities and public agencies to evaluate impacts of local, state, and federal water policies using the SWAP model, and other similar economic modeling frameworks.
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.
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

Economist

Brooks joined ERA Economics in 2019 after completing his Masters in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Nebraska. At ERA he works with clients to develop regulatory impact and risk assessments related to water supply and ag chemical regulations. In addition to work focused in California, Brooks has experience working on water issues in 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.
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.
Richael Young

Senior Economist

Richael specializes in water accounting and allocations, water risk and strategy, and water market design. Prior to joining ERA Economics, Richael was cofounder and CEO of Mammoth Water, which was acquired by ERA Economics in 2021. As an economist, engineer, and entrepreneur, she applies complementary skillsets to develop innovative technology solutions for water management. Richael led the development and implementation of the first smart markets, or electronic clearinghouses, for surface water and groundwater. She has consulted on the design of water trading programs across the western United States, including in Arizona, California, Nebraska, Kansas, and Washington. Richael also took to market a mobile app that helps growers manage complex groundwater allocations without new hardware. Such technologies have helped growers stay in compliance with highly regulated water allocations, avoiding costly penalties. Richael holds a B.S. in civil engineering and M.S. degrees in agricultural economics and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dobby

Head of Security

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