Monthly Archives: July 2013

Agricultural economics and other College of Agriculture programs rank in top 10 doctoral programs

A website that compares university programs across the United States has ranked several Kansas State University College of Agriculture programs in the Top 10 as compared with similar programs at peer institutions.

The rankings, at, use data from the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Education Statistics to provide information about quality measures or graduate programs. The rankings are based on university doctoral programs. In total, eight doctoral programs associated with K-State’s College of Agriculture were evaluated.

The council’s most recent Ranking of Plant Sciences Graduate Schools lists Kansas State University’s plant pathology program at No. 10 nationally among 162 plant sciences departments. K-State is the top ranked plant pathology doctoral program on the list, which puts it ahead of plant pathology programs at Cornell University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California-Davis.

“These rankings, which include numerous renowned universities across the United States, are a testament to the incredible work being done across the college’s doctoral programs,” said John Floros, dean of K-State’s College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “It affirms that our students and faculty are among the best and brightest. We are in the process of finalizing our college strategic planning for the campuswide K-State 2025 process. These rankings provide at least one external benchmarking guide for us as we seek to become a top five college of agriculture by the year 2025. Clearly, we have some very strong programs.”

K-State’s agricultural economics program is ranked No. 4, ahead of similar departments at Purdue University and Cornell.

In addition, K-State’s entomology doctoral program is ranked No. 8 and the interdepartmental food science program No. 9, compared with other universities’ programs.

In the “Research Productivity category,” the university’s animal science doctoral program ranked No. 5 among animal and dairy science programs nationally.

Overall rankings are based on a variety of criteria including research productivity, student outcomes, student resources, diversity and a National Research Council quality measure.

One of the programs that was not included in the rankings was K-State’s department of grain sciences and industry, which is the only institution in the country that offers college degrees in all three areas of baking, feed and milling science and management.

“K-State’s grain science doctoral program provides the lion’s share of research scientists working on cereals, cereal processing, cereal chemistry and storage worldwide, and has done so for a long time,” said Jon Faubion, professor and graduate program director in the department. “Our concentration of faculty with this expertise provides all of our graduate students, including doctoral students, with a breadth of expertise and experience in these cereal grain areas that doesn’t exist elsewhere.”

“The National Research Council rankings reflect the quality of educational experience our doctoral students receive at K-State, as well as the quality of research conducted as those students are mentored through their respective degree programs in the college,” said Ernie Minton, associate director for research and technology transfer with K-State Research and Extension.

Graduate scholarly experience is one of the goals of K-State 2025, the university’s new strategic plan. K-State’s College of Agriculture has a graduate enrollment of more than 500 students, including students seeking both master’s and doctoral degrees. About a third of the graduate student enrollees are students seeking doctoral degrees. The college has about 200 faculty members and many of them have time dedicated to mentoring graduate students. More information is available at


Written by Mary Lou Peter, K-State Research and Extension news.




Undergraduates earn Kansas Livestock Foundation scholarships

Merck Animal Health, through the Kansas Livestock Foundation, has awarded six Kansas students Ralgro Wheels for Bucks Scholarships for the 2013-14 school year. Funding for these awards was generated from empty Ralgro wheels turned in by KLA members. For every empty wheel collected, Merck donated $1 to KLF to help fund scholarships.

Douglas Shane, Manhattan, has been chosen to receive a $1,500 WFB Scholarship, which recognizes Kansas State University veterinary school students with a career goal of being a large animal veterinarian. Shane, a first-year veterinary student, is the son of Scott and Beverly Shane of Louisburg.

Five students were awarded $1,000 WFB Scholarships. Kurtis Clawson is the son of Kenby and Lana Clawson from Satanta. He will be a junior at K-State majoring in agronomy and agriculture economics. Beth Haflinger, daughter of Fred and Gretchen Haflinger from WaKeeney, will be a sophomore at K-State majoring in agriculture economics. Brady Jensen is the son of Kevin and Sheila Jensen of Courtland. He will be a junior at K-State and is majoring in animal science. Brady Rundel, son of Pam and the late Bob Rundel of Colby, will be a junior at K-State majoring in agribusiness. Nathan Stinson is the son of Brian and Renee Stinson from Allen. He is majoring in agriculture economics and will be a junior at K-State in the fall.

Article from:

Congress and Bears and Bulls, Oh My! – K-State Risk & Profit Conference Set for Aug. 21-22

July 11, 2013 – Kansas State University’s annual Risk & Profit Conference – this year themed, “Congress and Bulls and Bears, Oh My!” will be at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan Aug. 21-22.

The conference, which starts with registration at 10:30 a.m. and lunch at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 21, includes two keynote speakers, livestock and grain market outlooks and 20 breakout sessions.

“We work to ensure that the topics we cover are relevant to what’s happening right now in agriculture – and with an eye toward the future,” said Rich Llewelyn, agricultural economist with K-State Research and Extension. “The livestock and grain market outlook sessions are always popular because they recap market conditions for livestock and crop producers but also convey what our specialists expect down the road.”

Scott Irwin, professor of agricultural economics at the University of Illinois, will give a keynote address, “Grain Markets and the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standards): All Eyes on the EPA.”

Northwest Kansas farmer, Terry Kastens, who is a K-State emeritus professor of agricultural economics, will take center stage for “A Conversation with a Kansas Producer” after the Wednesday evening meal.

Conference participants will be able to attend eight of the 20 breakout sessions, which include:

  • Kansas Land Values – How do Survey Values Compare with Transaction Prices?;
  • Kansas Rental Values – What Cash Rent Information is Right?;
  • Pasture Lease Pricing: Comparing Methods;
  • Basics of Futures and Options;
  • USDA Crop and Livestock Reports: What, When, and Where?
  • Ethanol and Biodiesel Impacts and Grain Markets in 2013-2014;
  • U.S. Beef Demand: Recent Project Synthesis and Expert Views on the Next 10 Years;
  • World Supply and Demand for Food: An Historical Perspective and Future Prospects;
  • Risk Rating Kansas Farmer Cooperatives: An Application of the Moody’s Rating Methodology;
  • Estate Planning Basics; and
  • Economic Impacts of the Ogallala Aquifer Depletion in West-Central Kansas.

The fee for the full conference is $210 per person if paid by Aug. 15, and $230 after that date. The rate for a second person from the same farm or business is $190 for the full conference (by Aug. 15). The fee includes access to all sessions, four meals, a CD of all conference proceedings and parking.

More information, including online registration, is available at Risk & Profit Conference. Information is also available by contacting Llewelyn at or 785-532-1504.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter

Kansas State University’s Master of Agribusiness offers professional development conference

July 3, 2013 – The agricultural industry has come off a period of sustained profitability, and history has shown that periods of high profitability don’t continue indefinitely. High prices often cure high prices. The Kansas State University Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program is hosting Agribusiness: What Could Go Wrong, an event to interact with experts in the agribusiness industry regarding potential black swans on the horizon.

The MAB Professional Development Conference will be August 8 and 9 at Cargill’s Headquarters in Wayzata, Minn. The agenda includes key topics addressed from different perspectives: food pricing and risk, decision making uncertainty, productivity, and the potential for expansion of arable land.

“We are pleased to put together a program that addresses some issues that agribusinesses may face in the future. Given the outstanding performance of the sector, there is always an opportunity for complacency to be built into decision making.  Attendees will be able interact with industry experts along with each other,” said Dr. Allen Featherstone, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Director of the Master of Agribusiness program at K-State.

To open the event on the afternoon of Thursday, August 8, Terry Garvert, Corn and Customer Risk Manager, Cargill, will provide a short overview of the agriculture industry; he will be followed by Emery Koenig, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, Cargill, who will discuss food pricing and risk; Dr. Featherstone will give a synopsis of factors to consider in the agriculture industry; and Dr. Bryan Schurle, Professor at Kansas State University will end the day with a discussion on how decisions are made in a risky environment.

The program will continue on Friday with a session by Bill Even, Global Lead for Industry Relations, DuPont Pioneer talking about improving crop yields and technology; followed by a series of perspectives regarding global implications with perspectives on land availability and technology adoption from Constanza Valdes, Markets and Trade Economics Division, Economic Research Service, USDA on the MERCOSUR Region, Pavel Sorokin, Professor, Russian State Agrarian University on Russia and the Former Soviet Union, and Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Professor, Kansas State University, on Sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to providing professional development and continuing education, there will be plenty of opportunity for networking with agribusiness colleagues at the event. Wendell Hockens, MAB Graduate from the Class of 2001, is looking forward to gaining a greater understanding of these complex issues while networking.

“Business professionals attending the upcoming MAB Professional Development Conference will learn about topics affecting the food and agriculture industry in a setting that promotes ‘thinking out of the box’, a free exchange of ideas and learning about trends that may have escaped attention in your day-to-day activities. You will also have the opportunity to renew friendships and make new acquaintances by networking with the other professionals attending the conference,” Hockens said.

The event is open to agribusiness professionals interested in learning more about the current global agriculture industry. Registration fee for the conference is $175 until July 19th ($225 after July 19) and includes meals and materials. Interested individuals can register online at or contact Mary Bowen (, 785-532-4435) for more information.

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

Dick receives Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award

June 28, 2013 – Kansas State decathlete Devin Dick is one of the best in the nation at what he does. But he also is a testicular cancer survivor.

Devin Dicks

Devin Dicks going the distance with K-State Track and Field

For his amazing achievements in overcoming the devastating disease and pushing himself to continue a highly successful career in college athletics, Dick received the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award on June 8 at the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics Convention in Florida.

Dick is one of five student-athletes to receive the award this year and follows a long list of predecessors who have overcome a lot in their careers as well. The award is given annually to student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics. The award winners have all persevered to make personal strides to succeed.

“You get a sense of pride for knowing that you went face to face with a giant and actually beat it,” Dick said. “It does give you a great amount of pride because you can’t say everybody goes out and beats cancer because there are a lot of people that do lose their lives to it and that’s a very serious thing.

“It’s been four years since I finished chemo and I’ve made progress. I’m not to where I want to be. It’s gonna be slow, but we’re gonna get there sometime.”

Diagnosed with testicular cancer during his freshman year at Wichita State, Dick went through a grueling chemo-therapy program that would attack the cancer but not too aggressively to cause significant damage to his lungs so he could possibly one day compete again in athletics.

After taking time off for his treatment, Dick decided to make a change academically and transfer to K-State where the College of Agriculture has a strong tradition. He reconnected with his love for the ag industry while working on his family farm and helping out at his father’s veterinary practice during his treatment.

It was upon arriving at K-State that Dick began to consider resuming his athletics career and approached head coach Cliff Rovelto about the possibility of competing.

“I really don’t think a lot of people had an appreciation for exactly what he went through, and I don’t know if I did,” Rovelto said. “I have heard more and more as time has gone on and it’s nothing short of amazing what he has been able to do. I think it is nothing short of remarkable. I have been extremely impressed with how he has handled everything. He has never asked for a favorable treatment. He has never asked for anything other than an opportunity.”

In his two seasons at K-State, Dick has made a major impact in the combined events. He finished third in the decathlon at the Big 12 Championship last year when the Wildcats hosted the meet and claimed second place in the heptathlon indoors this season at the Big 12 Championship. His score at the Big 12 Indoor Championship this season was high enough to grab the final qualifying spot in the heptathlon for the NCAA Championship.

At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Dick finished in a tie for 14th place and earn USTFCCCA Second Team All-America.

This season outdoors, he finished seventh at the Big 12 Championship in the decathlon.

Recognition of his journey has come from his peers as well with Dick receiving the Most Inspirational Award at the Powercat Choice Awards in April that are nominated and voted on by K-State student-athletes.

The Wilma Rudolph Award is named in honor of one of the greatest female athletes in American history. Rudolph was born premature and stricken with polio as a child and wore a brace on her left leg. Through physical therapy she overcame the disability and went on to become the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s and the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Games in 1960 in Rome. She even qualified for the 1956 Olympic Games when she was only 16 years old.

Past winners of the Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award include: former Rutgers football player Eric LaGrand, who was paralyzed during a game in October of 2010 and has since become an inspirational speaker, and Arizona basketball player Kevin Parrom, who overcame the loss of his grandmother and a gunshot wound to his right leg on September 23, 2011, while visiting his mother who was in the final stages of a battle with cancer.

Written by David Wiechmann. Visit for more information. Picture provided by K-State Sports Information.