Monthly Archives: March 2011

Congratulations to New Ag Econ/Ag Business Club Officers

Congratulations to the newly elected officers Ag Economics and Agribusiness Club for the 2011-12 school year.

President: Logan Hedlund, senior in agribusiness, Montezuma, KS

Vice President: Heather Gibson, junior in agribusiness, Copeland, KS

Secretary: Brock Burnick, sophomore in agricultural economics, Mulberry, KS

Treasurer: Shelby Hill, junior in agricultural economics, Satanta, KS

Membership Co-Chairs: Rena Berrett, junior in agribusiness, Manhattan, KS, and Mollie Roth, junior in agribusiness

Ag Council Repr.: Alisa Wendelburg, sophomore in agribusiness, Stafford, KS

Social Co-Chairs: Ashley Rector, freshman in agribusiness, Lawrence, KS, and Leanne Milleret, freshman in agricultural economics, Lawrence, KS

MAB International Ag Tour Planned

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

The fifth Master of Agribusiness international agribusiness tour is tentatively scheduled for August 1-13, 2012. Travel will include Europe and tour France and Italy, with possible stops in Switzerland.

The trip is open to anyone with an interest in international agribusiness and will include sightseeing in Paris and Rome and visits to farming operations and agribusinesses. For more information, contact Mary Bowen at mjbowen@ksu.edu or (785) 532-4435. Also, look for updates at http://www.mab.ksu.edu.

Ag Finance Students Analyze KFMA Data

Lee Schulz

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

Students in the fall Agricultural Finance class applied their newly acquired financial analysis skills with real data during a unique case study project.

Lee Schulz, Ph.D. student in agricultural economics, developed a course project for his students in AGEC 513 using data from the Kansas Farm Management Association (KFMA).

“Being able to work with real financial data is invaluable in that, it’s a fact of life that real-world data is very complex and it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to analyze it,” Schulz said.  “The process can be very difficult but it’s important that the students see the reality.”

Students were provided with a Profit-Link Business Analysis for a fictional case farm developed using real data from KFMA farms. Their project was to use financial analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for improvement for the case farm. They summarized their recommendations in a paper.

Students also relied on data from http://www.AgManager.info for benchmark comparisons and trend analysis.

“After completing the project, students should feel confident in discussing financial analysis in the context of a firm’s business strategy and the broader market conditions,” Schulz said. “I think the project helped prepare students for jobs in agricultural finance because many of the skills utilized are expected for many entry-level positions. Learning by doing will allow students entering the agricultural finance sector to hit the ground running after they graduate.”

The project helped emphasize that students learn financial analysis most effectively by performing the analysis on actual firms, Schulz added.

“Students did a great job integrating concepts from finance, economics, business strategy, and accounting,” he said. “This was evident in the student’s ability to tie together the information from the several analytical tools to tell a complete story about a firm’s financial condition.”

Department Welcomes Visiting Scholar From China

Guixia Wang

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

The Department of Agricultural Economics welcomed a visiting scholar from China at the beginning of the spring semester.

Dr. Guixia Wang of Jilin Agricultural University recently began her one-year sabbatical in the department. Wang is cooperating with faculty to research livestock marketing. She is collaborating with John Crespi, Ted Shroeder and Sean Fox, all professors of agricultural economics, and Tian Xia, assistant professor of agricultural economics.

Wang earned her Ph.D. at China Agricultural University and M.S. at Shenyang Agricultural University. She holds a B.S. from Jilin Agricultural University, where she is a professor of economics and management.

Wang also has been a visiting scholar at Wagenigen University in the Netherlands.

ACCC Scholarship Process Underway

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

The 2011-2012 Arthur Capper Cooperative Center (ACCC) has pre-qualified and invited 94 students to apply for cooperative scholarships.

The ACCC, in conjunction with the College of Agriculture, the Department of Agricultural Economics and cooperative community leaders, will award 17 scholarships totaling approximately $45,500. The ACCC has awarded $355,400 in scholarships on behalf of the cooperative community since 1985.

15 Ag Econ Students Selected as Ambassadors

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

Congratulations to the 15 students from the Department of Agricultural Economics who were selected to serve as 2011-12 College of Agriculture Ambassadors. Only 36 new ambassadors were selected to join the team, and we’re proud that our students make up nearly half the new additions to the group.

Ambassadors represent K-State Ag during prospective student visits and recruit students at events across the state and nation. They teach orientation classes for new freshmen and network with alumni and industry leaders. Ambassadors also assist with career fairs, scholarship fundraising and open house activities.

To become an Ambassador, students must complete a semester-long College of Agriculture Training (CAT) program, which exposes them to all majors and departments while building networks with peers and professionals. Students fill out an application and participate in a competitive interview process during Ambassador selection process.

Ambassadors From the Department of Agricultural Economics

  • Jamie Briscoe, junior in agribusiness, Lincoln, Kan.
  • Logan Britton, sophomore in agricultural economics and agricultural communications and journalism, Bartlett, Kan.
  • Brock Burnick, sophomore in agricultural economics and pre-law, Mulberry, Kan.
  • Jeff Cather, freshman in agribusiness, Anthony, Kan.
  • Heather Gibson, junior in agribusiness, Copeland, Kan.
  • Michelle Hill, sophomore in agricultural economics, Wichita, Kan.
  • Shelby Hill, junior in agricultural economics, Satanta, Kan.
  • Reagan Kays, freshman in agribusiness, Weir, Kan.
  • Garrett Lister, junior in agricultural economics, Marysville, Kan.
  • Leanne Milleret, freshman in agricultural economics, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Boone Ott, junior in agribusiness, Coffeyville, Kan.
  • Ashley Rector, freshman in agribusiness, Lawrence, Kan.
  • Bret Schneller, freshman in agribusiness, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Nate Spriggs, junior in agricultural economics, Manhattan, Kan.
  • Candace Weeda, junior in agricultural economics, Creston, Ia.

Commissions Fund Data System Upgrades

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

Data collection and handling systems at the K-MAR-105 Association and Kansas Farm Management Association are getting a major upgrade thanks to funding from three commodity commissions.

The Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Soybean Commission are each providing three years of funding, and the Kansas Corn Commission is providing two years of funding to transition to the KFMA relationship-based database.

“The new system will allow the economists in the field to update client information and run reports without being connected to K-MAR,” said Koren Elder, KFMA director of systems and programming. “They will synchronize their data once they have a connection again.”

The first phase of the project is focused on replacing the whole farm analysis portion of the current system.  The next phase will be focused on replacing existing data entry systems.

Faculty Michael Langemeier, Bryan Schurle, and Kevin Herbel are working with Mark Dikeman and Elder to combine input from KFMA economists.

The KFMA program began serving Kansas farm families in 1931. The K-MAR-105 Association was organized in 1968 to manage KFMA data. The database has been computerized at KMAR since 1973.  KFMA includes 21 economists across the state working with 2,340 members and more than 3,100 farm families.

Smart Sense: Reducing Cost, Enhancing Competitiveness Through Training

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

Despite its importance in the knowledge economy, training is still not a strategic issue for some agriculture, agribusiness and agri-food companies. They are so focused on the bottom line that they lose sight of their top-line enhancing opportunities presented by investing in training and capacity development.

A recent study conducted in the Animal Health Corridor — the region bordered on the east by Columbia, Mo., the north by St. Joseph, Mo., and on the west by Manhattan, Kan. — revealed employee concerns about the rapid obsolescence of knowledge and skills and its effect on their firms’ competitiveness.

The study, conducted by Vincent Amanor-Boadu, associate professor of agribusiness economics and management, showed that this rapid obsolescence of knowledge and skills is emanating from rapid introduction of new technologies, increasing customer knowledge and swiftly changing and globalizing marketplace.

According to the study’s results, employees are willing to address this problem by investing time and effort, but indicated a need for financial support from their employers.

Employers may look at employee training support as investments. When made right, these investments can lead to significant reductions in costs and/or enhancements in top-line numbers.

For example, providing training in decision-making and strategic thinking can augment employees’ opportunity-scoping capabilities, allowing them to discover new revenue sources or cost savings. Similarly, investing in risk prevention training, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Employees FIRST initiative, helps food industry employees increase their food defense awareness and reduce associated remediation costs.

The Department of Agricultural Economics at K-State has a number of outreach programs to help animal and health food industry companies achieve their training objectives. It also is working with industry stakeholders and K-State Olathe partners to develop new programs that address specific needs, from sharpening employees’ financial management skills to developing competitiveness in international trade environments.

Industry stakeholders interested in discussing how they can participate in these program development initiatives should contact Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu at vincent@ksu.edu or (785) 532-3520 for more information.

KFMA Introduces New Area Economists

Marc Allison

Marc Allison, South Central

Marc Allison grew up on a farm in Greenfield, Mo. His family raises crossbred beef cattle, corn, wheat, and soybeans.

Allison’s father farms full time and his mother is a third-grade teacher. His younger brother and sister both attend Missouri State University.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University in agricultural business (Finance and Management) and master’s degree from Texas A&M University in agricultural economics. His hobbies include watching sports, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs, and collecting farm toys.

Will Feldkamp

Will Feldkamp, North Central

Will Feldkamp grew up on a ranch in Sylvan Grove, Kan., on a purebred Red Angus operation. His father and mother are both K-State alumni and retired veterinarians. Feldkamp’s father and brother currently farm together.

Felkamp received a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from K-State in 2003. He worked for four years as the agricultural loan officer at Thunder Bank in Sylvan Grove prior to joining KFMA as an area economist.

Cole Miller

Cole Miller, South Central

Cole Miller grew up on a wheat farm in Cheney, Kan. He completed his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness in 2007 and master’s degree in agricultural economics in 2008, both at K-State. As a student, he worked with Michael Langemeier, professor of agricultural economics, researching cost efficiency of labor and its impact on Kansas farms.

Miller worked for two years as a loan pricing analyst at US AgBank in Wichita, Kan. Miller and his wife, Jenny, live in Cheney. His hobbies include hunting, golfing, softball, basketball and spending time with family.

His hobbies include farming, watching hockey, hunting and playing any kind of sports.

Dalton Researches Maize in Africa

In our new Research Highlights section, we’ll cover some of the latest research from faculty in our department. Check out the first video from Dr. Timothy Dalton.