Advisors and Faculty
David J. Peters is a Professor of Sociology and Extension Rural Sociologist at Iowa State University. His work broadly encompasses social and economic change in rural communities. Specific research areas include rural community vitality, rural population and health, and public perceptions of new genetic techniques in agriculture. Dr. Peters has published in top-tier journals in rural sociology, public health, agricultural economics, and criminology. He has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation (SCC, Sociology, and NRT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (AFRI), and the National Institute of Justice. Born and raised in Minnesota, he holds a B.S. cum laude from the University of Minnesota, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Dr. Peters has 25 years of experience in applied rural policy. He worked as a policy analyst for Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) on rural healthcare, economic development, and telecommunications. He was a senior researcher and policy advisor for the Missouri Department of Economic Development on rural tax credits, rural economic development, and workforce policy in Missouri. As an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska, he studied the economic and farm impacts of the ethanol industry.
Dr. Ramesh B. Balayar is an Assistant Teaching Professor and an Academic Faculty Advisor for Agricultural and Rural Policy Studies. His research interest concerns smallholder farmers and rural women’s empowerment in the Global South. He has more than fifteen years of working experience in rural community development, governmental programs and policies, international non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations. Dr. Balayar has traveled to several countries around the world, including North Korea. Born and raised in a small and remote village in the Doti District of Nepal, he holds MA in Sociology from Tribhuvan University, M.Phil in Development Studies from Kathmandu University, and Ph.D. in Sociology from Iowa State University. Dr. Balayar has won the Graduate College Teaching Excellence Award for Fall 2018. He teaches Environmental Sociology; Global Poverty, Resources, Sustainable Development; Transition in Agriculture; Social Class, and Inequality and Rural Society in Transition. As an Academic Advisor, Dr. Balayar closely and enthusiastically works with students majoring in Agricultural and Rural Policy Studies and provides timely support.