Jeffrey O’Hara is an agricultural economist in the Food and Environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. O’Hara researches and advocates for policies that provide financial incentives to farmers engaging in environmentally sustainable practices. He also analyzes how local food systems support community development.
Dr. O’Hara authored a series of reports highlighting the economic, health, and environmental benefits of local and regional food systems that were used to bolster farm policy reforms adopted in the 2014 Farm Bill. These policies, including grants for farmers markets and incentives to use food assistance benefits to purchase fruits and vegetables, provide income for farmers growing healthy food and offer consumers healthier food choices. Dr. O’Hara’s current work on the economics of diet and healthcare costs continues to influence upcoming legislation on childhood nutrition.
Before joining UCS, Dr. O’Hara worked at the Chicago Climate Exchange where he facilitated license transfers in markets promoting water conservation or improved water quality. Dr. O’Hara has previously held positions with the Congressional Budget Office and Charles River Associates.
Dr. O’Hara has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, San Diego. He has a B.S. in economics from The George Washington University.
Dr. O’Hara has appeared on NBC News and ABC News and has been cited by a number of publications, including Chicago Tribune, The Detroit News, Grist, The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times and The Washington Post.