Michael Kurtzig was an international economist with the US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service until 2000. He joined the department in the late 1960s as a Middle East expert, first as a country desk officer, then as Assistant Branch Chief and then Chief of the Africa and Middle East Branch. He travelled extensively in the Middle East, particularly Turkey, Israel, Iran, Cyprus, as well as an analyst for Jordan. His work centered on agricultural foreign policy, data, and US trade. He wrote extensively on those subjects. He led a number of missions for the USDA, the World Bank, and USAID to Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Israel, as well as Gaza and the West Bank. After retirement he taught in Congregational and Day schools in Philadelphia and Alexandria on the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, Hebrew, Israel and Jewish Communities around the World. He has been a member of NEC for many years and values the comradeship and the many excellent interesting speakers who keep us up to date and contribute to the knowledge base of the industry. He lives in DC with his wife Barbara and his rescue dog, Bob.