LSU Alum and Army Major Brings Agricultural Insights to the Front Lines of Global Security

January 25, 2024

U.S. Army Maj. Gustavo Ferreira, in uniform, near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

U.S. Army Maj. Gustavo Ferreira earned doctorate in agricultural economics from LSU.

Gustavo Ferreira, a U.S. Army major with a doctorate in agricultural economics from LSU, is helping military decision-makers gain insight into how agriculture-related issues can affect military actions across the globe. 

Ferreira, who works for the U.S. Agriculture Department, is part of the Army’s 38G Civil Affairs program, in which Army officers with extensive expertise in traditionally non-military fields provide analysis, insights, and guidance to military and civilian leaders in support of U.S. interests and worldwide security.  

Ferreira joined the Army in 2009 as an enlisted combat engineer before progressing through the ranks. His PhD in agriculture economics, his experience as faculty at Virginia Tech University’s department of agricultural economics, and his senior position at the USDA made him a good fit for the Civil Affairs position.  

U.S. Army Maj. Gustavo Ferreira standing with U.S. Army Maj. Jamie Critelli

U.S. Army Maj. Gustavo Ferreira with his colleague, U.S. Army Maj. Jamie Critelli

Ferreira has teamed up with Maj. Jamie Critelli to publish nine scholarly papers on such titles as “Does China Have Enough Food to Go to War? Practical Indicators for U.S. Military and Policy Makers.”   

“I was concerned that military planners might overlook this very important part of Chinese policy,” explained Ferreira on his motivation for the China project. “I am trying to bring light to this critical issue and inform the intelligence community that they should be looking at this.”  

As a result of their expertise, Ferreira and Critelli have been invited to brief the CIA and various military strategy think tanks. This is precisely how they hoped their military careers would progress. 
“I want to become a point of reference where anybody in the DoD (Department of Defense) or intelligence community can reach out to me and my Civil Affairs peers,” Ferreira said. “I want to create that sense of expertise.” 


Learn More about Maj. Ferreira and his Civil Affairs role