Dr. Wailes is a native of Colorado where he was raised on a cash crop and dairy farm. He received a B.S. degree in agricultural economics at Cornell University (with a specialization in tropical agriculture). He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia for two years where he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture on a national agricultural crop reporting system and management studies of state enterprises in the Ministry of National Resource Development. He received his Ph.D. degree in agricultural economics at Michigan State University with an emphasis on international policy and marketing.
Dr. Wailes has been a faculty member in the Department since 1980. He conducts research on agricultural policy, trade, and marketing, with an emphasis on the rice sector. Current research activities include analysis of U.S. and global agricultural policies on Arkansas agriculture; U.S. farm bill (price and income support policies, environmental policy, trade policy, energy policy, biotechnology policy); social acceptability of biotechnology, adoption of biotechnology by farmers; marketing and policy issues of organic foods; economic-engineering analysis of grain drying and storage and rice milling; economics of groundwater depletion and water quality issues in Arkansas; analysis of Arkansas, U.S. and global rice economy, long-term projections, market and policy analysis. He teaches courses in marketing and policy.