Kenneth Royden Farrell

Kenneth R. Farrell died peacefully in his home in Walnut Creek, Calif. on Fri., Jan. 24, 2014, having just turned 87.
Born to William and Velma (nee Woods) Farrell, he grew up on a small farm in South Mountain. After graduating high school, he became a high school teacher in a one-room school in Ontario. He went on to enroll in college at the University of Toronto – Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1950. He later earned a master’s degree and PhD, both in agricultural economics, from Iowa State University. He accepted a position as an economist for the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics and the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of California, Berkeley, followed by a decade in Washington, D.C. where he served as deputy Director and then director of the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture. In 1981, he worked at Resources for the Future where he founded the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy. Funded by the Kellogg, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations, the center was a first-of-its-kind independent, nonpartisan group devoted to the analysis of national agricultural and natural resource policy issues. Moving back to California in 1986, Dr. Farrell served as vice-president for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California. Over the course of his career, he wrote more than 100 professional papers and articles covering agricultural policy, natural resources, international trade, and marketing. He travelled and lectured extensively worldwide. He received many honours, including election as president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in 1977. He was elected a fellow of that association in 1980.
In retirement, Dr. Farrell consulted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the World Bank, which took him to Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan; he organized and led “People to People” trips to study agriculture in Cuba, Peru and Chile, Australia and New Zealand, Eastern Europe, Russia, and twice in China.
During those years, Ken and his wife, Mary, who died in 2013, also enjoyed many celebrations with friends and family including their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries, their 80th birthdays, and Mary’s 90th birthday. He is survived by six children, Janet, Betty, Deborah, Robert, Patricia, and Lisa; eight grandchildren, Jedediah, Nathaniel, Sean, Monica, William, Mark, Jason, and Madison; and three great-grandchildren, Joaquin, Fiona, and Niko, in addition to numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews in Canada and England.
A memorial gathering will be held at Creekside Clubhouse, Rossmoor in Walnut Creek at 3 pm on Sat., March 8.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations may be made to Heifer International (, a charity focused on ending hunger and poverty, and promoting food security, or to a charity of choice.