REGISTER TODAY for the 2014 Risk and Profit Conference

2014 Risk and Profit Conference August 21-22, 2014

K-State Alumni Center, Manhattan, Kansas

Ag Policy: Here, There, Everywhere


To Register and Pay By Credit Card:

To Print Brochure and Pay By Check: Registration brochure

Click links below for more information…

Schedule Breakout Sessions

Registration Information

Registration Brochure (PDF) Keynote Speakers Trade Show
Maps & Directions Hotel Accommodations Parking
Previous Years’ Proceedings (2002-2013)


The Risk and Profit Conference, held August 21-22, 2014 at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan, Kansas, is designed to give agricultural producers and affiliated businesses a competitive edge in their operations. Presentations on farm management, technology, marketing, and policy issues in agriculture are scheduled by the Department of Agricultural Economics faculty and specialists.

The conference will begin Thursday, August 21 with a trade show of displays and information by vendors specializing in goods and services for producers and agribusinesses, with lunch followed by extension livestock marketing specialist Glynn Tonsor who will share his Livestock Outlook, and grain marketing specialist Dan O’Brien, who will offer his Grain Outlook. Breakout sessions will take place in the afternoon with another general session in the evening, featuring Michael Springer, a producer from Independence, Kansas. Friday morning begins with more breakout sessions, then the keynote speaker, Dermot Hayes before lunch. Breakout sessions will follow in the afternoon. The breakout sessions have numerous contemporary and relevant topics and attendees may choose up to seven of these sessions.  The conference concludes at 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon.

For more information, contact Rich Llewelyn at the phone or email below: Phone: 785-532-1504  Email:

Alumnus Matt Wolters to speak at New Student Convocation on Aug. 24

The second New Student Convocation is from 5:45-6:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at Bramlage Coliseum.

This ceremonial beginning of the new academic year will feature the Kansas State University Faculty Brass Quintet, President Schulz and Provost Mason and a short video on K-State’s land-grant history.

Remarks for the benefit of new undergraduate students will be given by Greg Eiselein, director of K-State First; Katie Noll, Le’Andre Carthen and Anallely Dominguez, current students; 2014 Distinguished Young Alumni Award recipients Molly Hamm and Matt Wolters; and Ali Malekzadeh, dean of the College of Business Administration.

The picnic and pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium will begin around 7:30 p.m. after the conclusion of the New Student Convocation. All students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend both events.

Written by Steve Dandaneau

Animal Health Industry Insights Seminar: Introduction to Compounding

K-State Olathe is site for professional development opportunity

Kansas State University’s Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program is hosting an Animal Health Industry Insights seminar on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at noon at the K-State Olathe Campus.

Featured speaker, Denise E. Farris is the managing member of the Farris Law Firm, L.L.C., practicing general business, commercial construction, equine/agricultural law and offering mediation and arbitration services. She will present “Introduction to Compounding” pharmaceuticals for the animal health industry, as well as take questions from the audience.

Farris’s practice, which is rated “AV,” the highest peer review rating for expertise and ethics, puts a special emphasis on small business, risk management, general contract, government contracting and minority/women business certification issues on a local, state and national level. She also has contract expertise in equine law services, providing risk management contracts for large breeding, boarding and training stables nationwide in areas such as Equine Activity Liability Act compliance, boarding, breeding, sales, training, lesson and syndication agreements.

The seminar is open to the public, but attendees must register and pay the $25 registration fee by July 31 at The fee includes lunch. For more information about the seminar contact Mary Bowen at 785-532-4435 or

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness ( is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food, animal health and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food, animal health and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the United States and in more than 30 countries.

Story by:
Mary Bowen – 785-532-4435 or

For more information:
Mary Bowen – 785-532-4435 or

Glynn Tonsor’s next Beef Cattle Economics Webinar

Beef Cattle Economics
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. (Central Time)

How might varying regional pasture conditions impact herd development and cattle movement? What is the broad economic outlook for cow-calf, stocker and feedlot operators? What insights can ranchers and processors glean from USDA’s July Cattle Inventory Report?

Register today to dive deep into the numbers, as Dr. Glynn Tonsor, livestock economist at Kansas State University, tackles these and other issues that affect stakeholders throughout the beef and cattle industry.

Sponsored by Merck Animal Health
The Beef-Cattle Economics Series is a coordinated partnership between Kansas State University, Beef magazine, Drovers CattleNetwork magazine and Meatingplace.

Dr. Glynn Tonsor, Livestock Economist, Kansas State University
Glynn joined the KSU Agricultural Economics faculty as an Assistant Professor in March 2010.  He obtained his Ph.D. from KSU in 2006 and was an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University from May 2006 to March 2010.

Glynn’s current efforts are primarily devoted to a range of integrated research and extension activities with particular focus on the cattle/beef and swine/pork industries. His broader interests cover aspects throughout the meat supply chain ranging from production level supply issues to end-user consumer demand issues.

K-State Risk & Profit Conference Set for Aug. 21-22

Released: July 15, 2014
‘Impact of Chinese Reforms on U.S. Agriculture’ is Keynote Address 
Reforms in densely-populated China and their implications for U.S. agriculture will take center stage as part of Kansas State University’s Risk & Profit Conference. The topic, along with an array of others is part of the annual event this year set for Thursday and Friday, Aug. 21-22 at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan.
In a keynote address, Dermot Hayes, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Agribusiness and professor of economics and finance at Iowa State University will present “Impact of Chinese Reforms on U.S. Agriculture.” Hayes, a native of the Republic of Ireland, heads the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and is co-director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, a research center administered by CARD at Iowa State and the University of Missouri.
China has the world’s largest population, estimated at 1.355 billion people as of July, 2014, according to estimates by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. That compares with India at 1.236 billion, the United States at 319 million and Russia at 142 million.
The Risk & Profit Conference also features “A Conversation with a Kansas Producer,” this year featuring Michael Springer, who farms, raises hogs and works to educate the public about what farmers do to raise healthy, quality food. As an Operation Main Street speaker for the Kansas Pork Association, he talks to school groups and civic organizations and is currently on the Kansas State Board of Agriculture.
Other conference highlights include “Livestock Market Outlook” by Glynn Tonsor, livestock marketing specialist and a “Grain Market Outlook” by Dan O’Brien, grain marketing specialist, both with K-State Research and Extension.
Eighteen breakout sessions presented by K-State Department of Agricultural Economics faculty, include such topics as the 2014 Farm Bill; Competitive Position of the Black Sea Region in World Wheat Export Markets; Understanding Basis and the Forward Contract for Kansas Wheat; Short-Dated Options Strategies; Land Values in Kansas; Economics of Beef-Cow Herd Expansion; and Characteristics of Kansas Pasture Lease Agreements.
A complete list of presentation topics, along with online registration and more information is available at The fee for the full two days is $200 if paid by Aug. 15, and $225 after that date. One-day registrations are $125 per person by Aug. 15; $150 after that date. Registration includes conference materials plus lunch, a social with cash bar and dinner on Aug. 21 and light breakfast and lunch on Aug. 22.
More information is also available by contacting Rich Llewelyn at or 785-532-1504.
K‑State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well‑being of Kansans.  Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K‑State campus in Manhattan.
Story by:
Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research and Extension
For more information:
Rich Llewelyn – 785-532-1504 or

July KFMA E-Newsletter

Welcome to the first edition of the new quarterly KFMA NewsletterIn this month’s newsletter Gregg Ibendahl provides a graphical and regional examination financial ratios on KFMA farms over the last decade, as well as, a comparison of KFMA and Economic Research Service (ERS) data.

Let us know of any farm management topics or areas of interest you would like to see us address in future issues of the KFMA Newsletter. 

Kevin L. Herbel
Extension Agricultural Economist
KFMA Program Administrator
Interim K-MAR-105 Executive Director
Dept of Agricultural Economics
K-State Research & Extension
(785) 532-8706

K-State Announces New Agricultural Economics Department Head

Allen Featherstone July 2014The College of Agriculture at Kansas State University has announced Allen Featherstone as the new head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. He began his official appointment June 30.

“Dr. Featherstone brings prudent leadership, and a wealth of ideas, energy and experience to the position,” said John Floros, dean of K-State’s College of Agriculture. “The administrative team and I are happy that Dr. Featherstone accepted our offer, and we welcome him into our College’s Leadership Team. I am looking forward to working with him as he settles into his new role, and as he provides visionary leadership for our Department of Agricultural Economics.”

“The department has experienced 40 percent growth in its undergraduate programs in the last two years,” Featherstone said. “Certainly meeting student needs will be an important aspect to work on. In addition, the department is having several faculty with many years of service retiring, and hiring individuals to continue their legacy will also be very important.”

Featherstone joined K-State as a faculty member in 1986 and has since taken on several roles, including serving as the department’s interim head on two occasions in the last six years. He grew up on his family’s farm in Walworth, Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls with degrees in agricultural economics and economics, he completed master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics at Purdue University.

A professor of agricultural economics at K-State, Featherstone also currently directs the master of agribusiness (MAB) program and the department’s graduate program. He has advised more than 60 graduate students and has taught many undergraduate and graduate courses, including comparative food and agriculture systems, agricultural finance and risk management, to name a few.

Featherstone has helped bring nearly $1.5 million in research dollars to K-State in the 28 years he’s served as a faculty member. His research has encompassed an array of subjects within the area of agricultural economics, but his main specialty is agricultural finance. He is a renowned expert in land values and agricultural lending, and he serves on the research team for the bi-annual Ag Lender’s Survey, a nationwide survey of agricultural lending institutions that gauges short- and long-term expectations of the future lending environment.

As a leading agricultural finance scholar, Featherstone has conducted research on and provided assistance to the industry on mergers, loan loss severity, the influence of taxes on farm land and alternative federal tax systems. Featherstone has published more than 120 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Journal of Applied Finance and Banking, and International Research Journal of Finance and Economics. He has also served as a co-author on several agricultural economics book chapters and reviews.

Featherstone is a member of many professional organizations such as the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, American Finance Association, International Association of Agricultural Economics, and the Kansas Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. At Kansas State, he is a current member of Faculty Senate and has served on the K-State Online College Advisory Council, Provost’s Compensation Task Force, Graduate School Grievance Committee, General Grievance Board, Graduate Council and Graduate School Readmission Committee.

Since 1999, he has served as the advisor to K-State’s chapter of Alpha Zeta, the oldest national agricultural honorary society for students and industry professionals. He has been awarded the United States Department of Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, Association for Continuing Higher Education Distinguished Credit Program Award, the K-State College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award, among others.


Story by: Katie Allen, K-State Research and Extension, or 785-532-1162
For more information: Allen Featherstone – or 785-532-4441

Applications for the Food Security Challenge

Did you see what our graduate students have been up to?!  Shelby Hill and Mario Ortez, along with two other graduate students in the Agricultural Economics Department, Michelle Estes and Emily Mollohan, had the opportunity to go to Cape Town, South Africa and participate in the 2014 International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) World Forum, Symposium and Case Study Competition.  This update includes a summary of this opportunity experienced by the students! 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”- Nelson Mandela

Last week student fellows, Shelby Hill and Mario Ortez, along with two other graduate students in the Agricultural Economics Department, Michelle Estes and Emily Mollohan, had the opportunity to go to Cape Town, South Africa and participate in the 2014 International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) World Forum, Symposium and Case Study Competition. IFAMA works towards improving the strategic focus, transparency, sustainability and responsiveness of the global food and agribusiness system.

The conference gathered highly diverse attendants within the global food and agribusiness industry, including academic and industry professionals. The theme of this year’s forum was “people feed the world” with a special focus on Africa’s food and agribusiness sector.

We also had the opportunity to visit South Africa’s Food Bank in Cape Town where we had a small round table discussion with the company and a tour of the food bank distribution center and warehouse. The food bank’s mission is to facilitate distribution in order to link hungry people in need with food. In 2013 they were able to provide 40,000 meals a day. These meals come from rescuing damaged goods and soon-to-expire goods. The food bank was established in 2009 and isn’t well known in South Africa. Their main goal is to build a self-sustaining model that provides a service instead of charity.


The two of us have provided our own reflections and insights from the trip.


Africa was once considered and described as the land of despair but is now quoted as a hopeful continent. The conference combined with other experiences during the trip has definitely shaped my perception about the “mother” continent. From my economic point of view, this now hopeful place will play a bigger role in the agribusiness industry in the years to come. Jacques Tylor, MD of John Deere Financial for Sub-Saharan Africa said, “Africa needs to see the agriculture sector as a business not as a way to fight poverty.” I think those words are very applicable for other developing parts of the world. Throughout the conference there was a consensus among the speakers about the need to add a new aspect to the food security issue related to food quality. The challenge is not just to provide enough affordable food to feed everybody, but to provide food that is high quality and nutritious.

The question is: who provides the food? The extreme charitable model would say rich people in the world should provide for the poor. I think a more sustainable hybrid approach is to enhance individual development. Helping farmers in developing worlds by teaching them how to better grow their crops is a huge step in the direction of feeding the world.

As for mitigating risk, some of the top priorities identified for the agriculture sector in Africa include uncertainty, volatility and policy requirement. All of these need a deep understanding of the type of industry we are in now. Based on that understanding, development of the appropriate risk management tools is necessary to achieve risk optimization in a rapidly changing environment.

It was very interesting how the whole conference focused on the development of young leaders in agriculture. Young leaders are needed to overcome the challenges the agriculture industry faces today. Although this sounds like a big problem to tackle, it’s good to be reminded of Nelson Mandela’s famous quotes, “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” In a study performed across the agriculture sector in Africa, “positive work attitude” was identified as the number one interpersonal skill that employers are looking for followed by ethics. Additionally, agriculture and finance were the most preferred areas of expertise.


Our trip to Africa was an amazing opportunity and learning experience. The combination of the conference, the sightseeing, the food, and the people made the trip so meaningful. From the moment we arrived in Cape Town we started exploring and preparing for our case study competition. The first round of the competition was on Sunday, June 15th. We were given a case study and had a total of four hours to read over it, develop a strategic plan, and put our recommendations and action-plan into a presentation. We then presented our analysis to a panel of three judges coming from both academic and industry backgrounds. I think all four of us team members can say we learned a lot from the experience. Having the opportunity to present our analysis on an African business to African professionals really made the experience more realistic and significant.

The conference theme was centered on the phrase, “people feed the world.” This couldn’t have been more fitting for the location of the conference. Africa is known as the mother continent but yet is the last frontier when it comes to development and agriculture. There are so many small-holder farmers in Africa; however, these farmers are still using production practices from nearly a century ago. The issue at hand is feeding an ever-increasing global population. Africa will have to be the upcoming food producing continent in order to achieve this goal of feeding the world. One of the topics that conference speakers and attendees spoke on that has stuck with me is how important it is to invest in African agriculture and to help small-holder farmers by teaching them production practices that allow for greater yields. Greater yields for these small-holder farmers have the opportunity to make huge differences. Farmers can be able to feed their families and put an end to hunger seasons, as well as market their remaining crops to maximize their profits. An organization called One Acre Fund has established a business model in order to help these farmers. They provide services that help with the distribution of seed and fertilizer, finance farm inputs, train the farmers on agricultural techniques, and help facilitate markets to maximize profits from harvest sales. It’s amazing that farming is a leading occupation for the world’s poor. It’s hard to fathom that these people are growing food, but yet they’re still going hungry and are unable to provide food to their children. In order to feed the world, I believe it’s so important to invest in these types of farmers. Just like Mandela’s quote, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Helping small-holder farmers and investing in agriculture development is a daunting task, but not impossible. If the investment in these farmers helps end hunger and reach food security, I’d say the investment is well worth it.

The trip has left me wanting to do more, see more, and grow more into an agriculturalist ready to tackle some of these issues the agriculture industry is facing. Mario and I appreciate all the support, tools, and skills we have been given through involvement in the Risk Management Center. The opportunity to travel abroad, compete, attend a meaningful conference, and sightsee is one that will have lasting impacts.

We would like to thank the CHS Foundation, K-State College of Agriculture, K-State Dept. of Agricultural Economics and the Center for Risk Management Education and Research for your support in making this trip possible.

Agricultural Economics faculty picked as Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics Editors

Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics Editors Announced

Kansas State University faculty members chosen as editors of a top agricultural and resource economics journal

Four Kansas State University faculty members in the Department of Agricultural Economics have been chosen to serve as editors of the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (JARE).

The JARE is the official journal of the Western Agricultural Economics Association (WAEA). Editors of the publication are chosen by the WAEA board to serve a three-year term.

Jeffrey Peterson, professor and director of graduate programs; Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, professor and director of undergraduate programs; Tian Xia, associate professor; and David Lambert, professor, were chosen at the most recent board meeting to oversee content of the JARE published during the 2016-18 term.

“The decision by the Western Agricultural Economics Association Board to select (these individuals) as the editors of the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics for a three-year term fully recognizes past and future research productivity of the four new editors,” said Lambert. “The Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics is one of the top agricultural and resource economics journals among a very crowded global market, with three publications a year and approximately a 15 percent acceptance rate of submitted manuscripts. The new editors are dedicated to maintaining the high quality of the journal.”

The team members will equally share editorial responsibilities, each holding the title of editor. Lambert will serve his second term as an editor of the publication, having previously served as JARE managing editor from 2007-09.

The team will begin consideration of manuscripts for publication April 1, 2015.

For more information regarding the JARE and WAEA, selection of editors and manuscript publication requirements, contact Jeffrey Peterson at or 785-532-0924.

Story by: Shelby Alyssa Mettlen | | K-State Research & Extension

Kansas Net Farm Income Continued to Slide in 2013

Last year’s average was the lowest since 2009, but varied widely by region and type of operation

Kansas farmers took a one-two punch with drought and lower grain prices in 2013 and the result was a drop in average net income to its lowest level since 2009, according to data from the Kansas Farm Management Association’s annual PROFITLINK Analysis.

Net income across 1,194 KFMA-member farms averaged $135,429 in 2013, down from $159,352 in 2012 and $166,375 in 2011. The figure is also below the five-year average of $145,096.

The biggest drop was primarily in western Kansas, which experienced the worst of the state’s drought conditions, said Gregg Ibendahl, Kansas State University associate professor of agricultural economics. However, the major grain-producing areas of the country did not experience drought and as a result U.S. grain production was good and this pushed down prices.

Not all Kansas farmers are members of the KFMA, but the annual report provides a glimpse of financial conditions for producers across the state, especially when comparing one year to the next.

The data showed that about 23 percent of the farms had net income of $200,000 or higher, while 42 percent had income of $50,000 to $200,000. Twenty-nine percent had net farm income of $0 to $50,000 and almost 14 percent operated at a loss.

“A big chunk of our farms are making $0 to $55,000 a year. Most people are not getting rich,” Ibendahl said. “Even in the best years, the majority of farms make under $100,000.”

A tale of six regions

“Northwest Kansas fared the worst, partly because of the drought, but also because grain prices went down so much,” Ibendahl said. “All of a sudden the value of the grain inventory was down. Because the study considers net income on an accrual basis, the lower inventory was reflected in lower farm income.”

The average price of U.S. corn in 2013 was $4.50 a bushel, down from $6.89 in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average price of soybeans last year was $12.70 per bushel, down from $14.40 a bushel in 2012.

Net farm income numbers varied widely by regions across the state, with northwest Kansas averaging $35,791, southwest at $71,633 and southeast at $161,776. Income in north central Kansas averaged $136,045; south central at $151,303; and northeast at $154,867.

Dryland net farm income across 855 farms was $156,991, down from $169,061 a year earlier and about the same as $157,296 two years earlier.

Net income for the 59 farms that irrigate crops averaged $118,974, well below $347,315 in 2012 and $449,115 in 2011. Yields on irrigated farms typically don’t vary that much, Ibendahl said, so last year’s lower grain prices and inventory values weighed them down.

“That will be a factor in this coming year,” he added. “With crops in some of the bigger producing states — Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio – we’re on track to have pretty good U.S. production next year. We were looking at pretty good grain prices for a few years but will probably be lower next year.”

Livestock a bright spot

Last year’s lower grain prices meant trouble for grain growers, but gave livestock producers a boost.

“Anything to do with livestock did pretty well, compared with the year before,” Ibendahl said, noting higher meat prices and lower grain prices. “Those in the cattle background feeding and finishing went way up. They had a really good year.”

The 2013 average net income for backgrounding-finishing operations was $162,459, well above $46,193 a year earlier, but below $397,138 two years earlier.

Net income for farms in the “Crop – Sow & Litter” category averaged $206,724, up from $166,809.

Overall, the report showed the average value of livestock produced in 2013 at $92,241, compared with $88,507 a year earlier and $106,280 two years earlier.

Family living expenses

Total family living expenses rose to an average of $71,377, up from $70,242 in 2012. Family living expenses have increased every year since the 2009 average of $54,981.

“If you look at our family living expenses and the fact that they were higher, even though net income fell, there’s a two- to three-year lag before families are able to make the adjustment after income has been up,” Ibendahl said. “When you have money, you’ll tend to spend more of it. With the potential for lower grain prices this coming year, farm families will need to monitor their family living to avoid eating into their net worth.”

Story by: Mary Lou Peter | | K-State Research and Extension

For more information: Gregg Ibendahl | | Kevin Herbel |


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