Jerry Eckert was a professor of agricultural economics at Colorado State University which sent him to live more than 20 years on projects in South Asia and southern Africa.
As an academic, he wrote nearly 200 articles and professional papers, two of which won Best Published Article awards. His work redirected agricultural and labor policies in Pakistan and Lesotho and contributed to food grain self-sufficiency in Pakistan and Gambia.
In South Africa his research and writing spurred the White government to accelerate abandoning apartheid by creating a Black middle class. He also wrote the basic treatise which framed much of an interracial dialogue on rights in South Africa leading, ultimately, to a new Bill of Rights in the 1997. Several op-eds in the Christian Science Monitor influenced American policy toward South Africa. He ended his overseas career by writing the first economic strategies for the incoming Mandela government.
Jerry’s early nonfiction celebrated the natural world, especially wildlife, in American and Pakistani outdoor magazines. He wrote a hunting and fishing column in the Fort Collins Coloradoan for two years. Following retirement, his literary nonfiction appeared in Pilgrimage, Matter, The Superstition Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Memoir Journal, Ruminate, and elsewhere. “Mahlapane’s Story,” first published in The Superstition Review, won the Northern Colorado Writers 2011 essay competition. Weeping Kings and Wild Boars: Moments of Magic and Sorrow from Forty Years of Trying to Save the World, won the first place award in the Northern Colorado Writers Top of the Mountain Book Award.