Chuck Benbrook


Chuck Benbrook joined CSANR as a Research Professor in August, 2012. He serves as the leader of the new CSANR program Measure to Manage: Farm and Food Diagnostics for Sustainability and Health (M2M). The goal of M2M is to develop, refine, validate, and apply analytical systems quantifying the impacts of farming systems, technology, and policy on food nutritional quality, food safety, agricultural productivity, economic performance along food value chains, and on natural resources and the environment.

Over a long career, Dr. Benbrook has developed a variety of analytical systems quantifying food quality and safety, and the impacts of agricultural technology and policy. He has worked extensively with several major government data sets, translating, for example, detailed statistics on pesticide use and residue levels into measures of pesticide risk, and government data on the levels of nutrients in food into measures of a food’s nutritional value.

He spent the first 18 years of his career working in Washington, D.C., first working for the Executive Office of the President (1979-1980), then as the Executive Director for a U.S. House of Representatives agricultural subcommittee (1981-1983). He was the ED of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture from 1984-1990, and has run a small consulting firm since 1991. He moved to the west in 1997, and served as the Chief Scientist for The Organic Center from 2004 through June of 2012. He has participated as an expert witness in several lawsuits involving pesticides and agricultural biotechnology.

Chuck Benbrook earned a B.A. degree in economics from Harvard University in 1971, and M.A. and PhD degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979/1980.

Peer Reviewed Papers and Contributions

Benbrook, C. Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years, Env. Science Europe, accepted. Forthcoming 2012.

Benbrook, C. et al. Methodologic flaws in selecting studies and comparing nutrient concentrations led Dangour et al to miss the emerging forest amid the trees, Am. Jour. Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 90(6): 1700-1. 2009.

Benbrook, C. and C. McCullum-Gomez. Organic vs Conventional Farming, Jour. Amer. Dietetic Assoc., Vol 109(5): 809-811. 2009

Benbrook, C.  The Impacts of Yield on Nutritional Quality: Lessons from Organic Farming, HortScience, (2007).

Benbrook, C. et al. Use of  ‘resistance risk profiles’ to guide resistance management planning, Pesticide Outlook, Royal Society of Chemistry, 14:3, June 2003.

McCullum, C., C.M. Benbrook, L. Knowles, S. Roberts, & T. Schryver. Application of Modern Biotechnology to Food and Agriculture: Food Systems Perspective, J. Nutr. Educ Behav., (2003); 35:319.

Baker, B. P., C.M. Benbrook, E. Groth, and K.L. Benbrook. Pesticide residues in conventional, integrated pest management (IPM)-grown and organic foods: insights from three US data sets. Food Addit.Contam Vol 19(5): 427-46. 2002.

Benbrook, C. M. et al. Developing a pesticide risk assessment tool to monitor progress in reducing reliance on high-risk pesticides. American Journal of Potato Research, 79 (2002): 183-99.

Benbrook, C. M. Organochlorine residues pose surprisingly high dietary risks. J Epidemiol Community Health 56.11 (2002): 822-23.

Benbrook, C. Do GM Crops Mean Less Pesticide Use?, Pesticide Outlook, Royal Society of Chemistry, October 2001.

Nigh, R., Benbrook, C., Brush, S., Garcia-Barrios, L., Ortega-Paczka, R., Perales, H.R. Transgenic crops: a cautionary tale, Science, Vol. 287 (5460), 2000. Page 1927.

Benbrook, C.  Apples, Kids and Core Science, Choices, Third Quarter 2000, Am. Ag. Econ. Assoc. 2000.

Lynch, S., D. Sexson, C.M. Benbrook, M. Carter, J. Wyman, P. Nowak, J. Barzen, S. Diercks, & J. Wallendal. Working out the Bugs, Choices, Third Quarter 2000, Am. Ag. Econ. Assoc. 2000.

Benbrook, C. Why A Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture?,  February 6, 1990.   Jan-Feb. 1991 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.

Benbrook, C. Appendix B, Private Sector Research Activities and Prospects, in Investing in Research: A Proposal to Strengthen the Agricultural, Food, and Environmental System, NAS Press, 1989.

Benbrook, C.  Is American Environmental Policy Ready for de Minimis Risks in Water?, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 8, pp. 300‑307 (1988).

Benbrook, C., and P. Moses. Engineering Crops to Resist Herbicides, Technology Review, MIT Press, November‑December 1986, pp. 55‑61, 79.

Benbrook, C.  First Principles:  The Definition of Highly Erodible Land and Tolerable Soil Loss, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, January‑February 1988, pp. 35‑38.

Benbrook, C.  The Science and Art of Conservation Policy, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, September‑October 1986, pp. 285‑291.

Benbrook, C., and W. Brown.  Public Policies and Institutions to Enhance Crop Productivity, Crop Productivity Research Imperatives Revisited, proceedings of the Crop Productivity Revisited Conference, December 11‑13, 1985, Airlie, Virginia, pp. 239‑257.

Benbrook, C. Carcinogen Policy at EPA, Letter to Editor, Science, Vol 219, page 798. 1983.

Contact Information

M2M Program Leader

90063 Troy Road
Enterprise, Oregon 97828
Curriculum Vitae
Benbrook Blog Posts