Monthly Archives: June 2011

Luncheon in Olathe to Address Regulatory Compliance in Animal Health Industry

The Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University will present a luncheon seminar on animal health regulations from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, June 23, at the K-State Olathe Campus Great Plains Room.

The seminar, the first in the Animal Health Corridor Lecture Series, will provide regulatory guidance to companies to help improve their competitiveness in the global market.

Dr. Steven Vaughn, director of the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation from the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, will address and provide remedies for common pitfalls the FDA observes in many organizations’ regulatory adherence. He also will discuss the agency’s new Innovation Initiative, which focuses on creating a new process to evaluate innovative new technologies.

In addition, Stephanie Batliner, chair of the Generic Animal Drug Alliance, will speak.

“Regulatory compliance is critical in our current environment,” said Vincent Amanor-Boadu, associate professor of agricultural economics at K-State. “In the feedback we have received from the animal health industry, professionals have continually expressed the need to have more access to expertise and resources regarding regulatory affairs.”

Through educating industry professionals on regulatory issues, the newly formed Animal Health Supply Chain program seeks to build more credibility in regulatory compliance and thus, create expanded job opportunities, Amanor-Boadu said.

Tickets are available online at and include lunch. For more information, contact Dr. Kara Ross at (785) 532-3536 or


Team Researches Chinese Beef Demand

A team of researchers has published an overview of Chinese beef demand, shifting consumer preferences, and the opportunities within future beef demand growth.

Agricultural economics graduate students Shonda Anderson, 2011 master’s graduate, Casey Bieroth, 2010 master’s graduate, and Grace Tucker, master’s student, collaborated with Ted Schroeder, professor of agricultural economics, to write, “Chinese Beef Consumption Trends: Implications for Future Trading Partners.”

The publication is available online at Anderson, Tucker and Schroeder were interviewed in April on Agriculture Today, the official radio program of K-State Research and Extension.

In 2010, the United States exported more than $4 billion worth of beef to its trading partners around the world. Export sales accounted for approximately 9 percent of total U.S. beef production. Developing, regaining and expanding access to global trading partners is crucial to expanding demand for U.S. beef. China represents an important U.S. trading partner for many reasons including population and income growth, shifting consumer preferences, and changing political and regulatory environments.

Graduate Becomes Ag Policy Adviser

Wayne Stoskopf

by K-State News Services

One agribusiness graduate is moving up the ranks as a Congressional staff member.

Wayne Stoskopf, a May 2010 graduate in agribusiness, formerly of Hoisington, served as an intern in summer 2009 for Jerry Moran, then the state’s 1st District congressman. During Moran’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Stoskopf was a field director in central Kansas. He has since transitioned into a new role as a staff assistant for Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who represents Kansas’ 2nd District. In addition to constituent services, Stoskopf advises Jenkins on agricultural policy. This role is especially important given that Jenkins is a member of the House trade subcommittee.

“It allows her to be a strong advocate for Kansas agriculture,” Stoskopf said. “I’m excited about continuing to assist her as she works to open more trade markets for agriculture producers. As a K-State College of Agriculture graduate, this is a perfect fit.”

He credits leadership experiences at K-State as good preparation for working in Washington, D.C. Stoskopf served as student body vice president in 2009-2010. He also was a member of Blue Key, the senior leadership honorary, and other student organizations.

Graduate Students to Compete in International Case Study Competition

This week, graduate students Brady Brewer, David Boussios, Cooper Morris, Jessica Johnson and Jaeljattin Jean are attending the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s (IFAMA) yearly symposium and case conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

The team will participate in the graduate student case competition and executive industry interviews. They also will have the opportunity to interact at social events with the other students from around the world and attend moderated case studies.

For the case competition, the team will be given a case study upon arrival at the conference. The case study must be completed within a four hour period.

“We will create a complete solution facing a real company that will probably be located in Europe,” Brewer said. “We will address key points in the case and create an executive summary and a presentation to present in front of a panel of judges.

“We have been preparing for this competition since February learning about business analysis, management strategies, international economic framework and other contemporary analytic tools.”

The conference theme is sustainability, or ensuring there is adequate food supply in the future.

“As a team, we have also been learning about the triple bottom line of sustainability as a business approach for agricultural firms,” Brewer said.

The team thanks their sponsors:

  • CHS Inc.
  • Koch Industries
  • Cargill
  • K-State Department of Agricultural Economics
  • K-State Graduate Student Council

Ag Economics, Agribusiness Degrees Offer Salary Benefits

By David Lambert, Department Head, Agricultural Economics

New data available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey permits comparisons of earnings by college graduates based on major.

Researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce have collected and analyzed earnings data from the ACS. The full report can be downloaded at the Georgetown site:

The sample contains information on 171 college majors in 15 major categories. The total sample has earnings data for nearly 34 million Americans.

Students receiving undergraduate degrees in business compose the largest group (25.0 percent). Students majoring in agriculture and natural resources comprise 1.6 percent of the sample. Agricultural economics majors comprise 6 percent (32,427 graduates) of the students graduating within the agriculture and natural resource category.

The unique feature of the report is the characterization of earnings’ distributions by major. Instead of such frequently reported figures as average earnings of a college graduate are 84 percent higher than individuals with just a high school diploma, lifetime earnings from individual majors are reported.

For example, lifetime earnings for students majoring in engineering are $1,090,000. Education majors earn on average $241,000 over their working lifetimes. Correlated with these lifetime earnings estimates are median incomes by major. Median income for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering is $120,000 per year.

Median income for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in counseling/psychology, the lowest reported median income, is $29,000 per year. The income figures are for all full-time workers regardless of graduation date, and thus do not represent starting salaries.

Within the agriculture and natural resource category, the highest median income is earned by people with degrees in Food Science ($65,000). Agricultural economics graduates are tied in second place (with Forestry), with a median income of $60,000 per year. Earnings at the 25 percent (75 percent) percentile for agricultural economics graduates are $39,000 ($92,000).

This initial report suffers from many of the problems of preliminary analyses, such as failing to account for time in the workplace, current occupations, and other conditioning factors. However, these failings aside, the report provides preliminary estimates of the value of a graduate (i.e., post-B.S.) degree (40 percent salary boost), and gender and racial characteristics of agricultural economics graduates. Unfortunately, sample sizes were too small to determine income gaps due to gender and race. On a positive note, 98 percent of the respondents with undergraduate degrees in agricultural economics are employed, tied for first among the agriculture and natural resource majors.

Although these results might persuade a high school student to focus on university studies in petroleum engineering, the report strengthens the argument for studying agricultural economics (and, by extension, agribusiness). The earnings distribution is high relative to all agriculture and natural resource fields. Median incomes also compare favorably with those reported for business majors. Employment prospects are good.

These findings just support the conclusion that 350 K-State students choosing to major in agricultural economics (and agribusiness) have already exhibited fantastic critical thinking and decision making skills!

Team Leads Review of USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey

Two faculty members are helping lead a nationwide team of researchers in a review of the USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey, which annually measures the financial health of farms and ranches.

Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics, and Christine Wilson, assistant dean of the College of Agriculture, have teamed up with Chuck Moss, professor of food and resource economics at the University of Florida, to lead the year-long review. Their task is to review the survey and make recommendations for improvements.

“Basically when the USDA constructs income statements and balance sheets, we want to make sure that they’re measuring what they should be measuring,” he said.

So far, the team has found that changes to depreciation methods might need to be considered, as the survey has historically used tax depreciation which tends to overstate expenses, Featherstone said.

The team began reviewing the survey in September 2010 and expects to complete their review by this fall, Featherstone said.

Ag Econ Graduate Pursues Country Music Dream

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University

How did you spend spring break? Some college students went to a sunny beach, a family trip or just caught up on their sleep. One student spent his spring break going to Nashville – not just to listen to country music singers, but to identify a studio where he could sing himself. This is an up-and-coming country western singer with deep roots in rural Kansas.

Rusty Rierson, a native of El Dorado, grew up on the family farm near Leon in Butler County.

“I was really shy growing up,” Rusty said. “I wouldn’t even sing in front of my mom and dad.”  But he did enjoy singing, and he started out singing along with the radio on the tractor while working in the field.

“That’s where I learned to harmonize,” Rusty said.

At age 14, he started singing in church. At age 16, his dad got him a guitar and suggested they take guitar lessons together.

“I suspect this was all Dad’s strategy to get me started on the guitar, and sure enough it worked,” he said. He found he loved playing the guitar and singing.

Meanwhile, he went on to K-State and got a degree in agricultural economics. In spring 2011, he will complete a master’s degree in animal science. But at the same time, his music career has blossomed.

In 2005, he went to the Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Talent Find and won the contest. He got to play at the state fair and has been invited back since. In 2007 Rusty won the “Colgate Country Showdown” at the state level and placed in the top 15 nationally. Now he is actively traveling and touring.
Rusty has played in Kansas, Missouri, Las Vegas, Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and California. He played in Mexico while on a church mission trip and in Central America while on a K-State study abroad program. Traveling with the Better Horses radio network, he has played rodeos, barrel races and horse events all over the Midwest, including at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in 2009.

Rusty has produced three albums, with more than 20,000 copies now in print. In 2009 he released “Good Morning Glory,” a patriotic single and tribute to veterans that also includes a song written for legendary bull rider Lane Frost.

While Rusty is writing and performing songs for the modern country-music market, he enjoys gospel and the old-time cowboy singing as well.

“My mom and dad loved Don Williams, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard, so we got to listen to the older style of music,” Rusty said.  “I know lots of songs that were popular 20 years before I was born.”

During spring break, Rusty visited Nashville to select a studio to produce his new album. It happens that the producer he selected is Dolly Parton’s cousin. More importantly, the producer generates high quality production and helps market the album once it is produced.

“It was awesome. I had never been exposed to that quality of professional musicians before,” Rusty said.

For more information on his upcoming album, his upcoming performance schedule and more, visit