Monthly Archives: August 2013

Former faculty highlights his farming and economic strategies at Risk and Profit conference

August 28, 2013 – Terry Kastens, professor emeritus and farmer in Atwood, Kan., was the featured producer at the 2013 Risk and Profit Conference held August 21 and 22. Kastens was introduced via the following video before he had a candid and open discussion with the audience Wednesday evening.

In this video, Kastens discusses his farming background, current crop production practices, transitioning out of beef production, noticeable differences in production after switching to crop production only, his Ph.D. experience, staying competitive in today’s market, optimizing production, adopting new technology, and his on-site grain storage and management systems.

For more information about this conference and next year’s schedule, visit


New ACCC fact sheet outlines rising and changing costs of production agriculture

August 13, 2013 – In the latest installment to the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center (ACCC) fact sheet series, Brian Briggeman and Chuck Mickelsen explore the evolution of the costs of agricultural production, and peer into the future evolution of these costs.

“Today, the costs of agricultural production have surged to the historically high levels of the late 1970s,” said Briggeman, director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center at Kansas State University.

Briggeman and Mickelsen, both from the Department of Agricultural Economics at K-State, compared these elevated costs to the 1970s, showing that technological costs have surged for today’s producers. On an inflation adjusted basis, total costs of producing an acre of corn are just 2 percent higher today than they were in 1975. Where the differences lie between these two time periods is in the cost of seed, nearly 200 percent higher, and cost of machinery and equipment, nearly 100 percent higher.

“While some costs have risen sharply, land rental costs remain below their 1970s highs,” said Briggeman. “Looking ahead, economic conditions suggest costs may continue their rise, especially land rents.”

These added costs have provided benefits to farmers, such as improved yields and farm efficiency. And at today’s commodity prices, these benefits have led to solid profit opportunities for crop farmers.

However, history has shown that these profits are often short-lived. So, the question is will these profits hold if these sizable costs continue to grow?

For more information about what producers can do in the face of rising costs, interested readers should read the new ACCC fact sheet titled, “Rising and Changing Costs of Production Agriculture,” available online at

More information is available by contacting Briggeman at or 785-532-2573.

Story by:
Amanda Erichsen
Communications Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Economics
785-532-6994 or
K-State Research and Extension News

Risk & Profit Conference Early Registration Deadline Coming Up

Grain Markets and Renewable Fuel Standards Topic of Keynote Address

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Aug. 15 is the early registration deadline for Kansas State University’s annual Risk & Profit Conference, which will be Aug. 21-22 at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan.

University of Illinois professor of agricultural economics, Scott Irwin, will give the 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 present “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:

  • Short-dated corn and soybean options;
  • Inefficient Commodity and Equity Markets and Why Most Economists Drive Dodge Neons;
  • The Farm Bill and Crop Insurance;
  • Tackling Big Issues in the U.S. Cattle Industry: An Interactive Clicker Session;
  • Strategic Risk Management;
  • Are the Most Profitable Farms Consistently the Most Profitable?;
  • There is More to an Estate Plan Than a Will or Trust; and
  • Rural Grocery Initiative.

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. Partial conference rates are available for those who can only attend one day.

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

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Tim Dalton awarded $13.7M competitive grant to support research on sorghum and millet and decrease hunger in Africa

July 25, 2013 – The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has announced that Kansas State University is the recipient of a $13.7 million grant from the agency to help end poverty and increase food supplies in semiarid Africa. The award was made under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

The five-year grant establishes the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet at Kansas State University. With it, the university will serve as the nation’s leading center for international sorghum and millet research, as well as a key component in Feed the Future’s mission to advance solutions to hunger, poverty and undernutrition in developing countries.

“With its selection, USAID has strongly validated Kansas State University’s preeminence in sorghum and millet research and agricultural science,” said Timothy Dalton, associate professor of agricultural economics, who will serve as director of the Feed the Future Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab.

As director, Dalton will oversee the development and management of a sorghum and millet research network led by Kansas State University. The network — for which the university will act as the research and information leader — will be comprised of USAID, various agriculture-centric U.S. universities, and universities, research centers, industries and nongovernmental organizations in three African countries.

Through the research network, leading U.S. scientists at partnering universities and institutions will focus on improving the productivity, disease resistance, agronomy and value of sorghum and millet crops in Ethiopia, Senegal and Niger. Additionally, the researchers will help train scientists in those countries and will develop improved crop varieties that will benefit other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sorghum and millet are important food crops in the arid African lands, Dalton said. The technologies and innovative approaches developed through this program will build resilience in farming communities subject to frequent drought and help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change.

Ethiopia is the most important sorghum-producing nation in East Africa because it has the largest acreage of sorghum crops on which millions of impoverished farmers rely, Dalton said. It also is one of the centers of genetic origin for sorghum, which may lead to new germplasm for U.S. farmers.

Senegal and Niger are both in West Africa. Senegal grows pearl millet, the most widely grown subspecies of the grain, as it has adapted to the harsh semiarid environment. Niger is one of the largest sorghum-producing countries in West Africa and neighbors several other important sorghum-producing countries in the region.

“The overall goal with those three key producing nations is to improve farmers’ productivity with sorghum and millet, which will reduce poverty and hunger,” Dalton said. “Additionally, we want to help the farmers with value-added product development to increase benefits to consumers, the private sector and farmers.”

Although the consortium’s efforts are focused on helping Africa, Dalton said he anticipates benefits for American farmers and universities as well. Research on food security, production and value-added products could also improve U.S. crops and products. Additionally, the assistance of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers will be integral in strengthening national research and development capacity in each of the target nations.

Feed the Future Food Innovation Labs are part of Feed the Future’s efforts to encourage multidisciplinary research, training and capacity building that address the problem of food insecurity and undernutrition in developing countries. The labs support leading researchers and students in the U.S. and around the world in seeking solutions to overcome hunger and poverty in developing countries.

Feed the Future is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduces hunger, poverty and undernutrition. More information is available at

Faculty and staff earn 2013 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association awards

August 6, 2013 – The 2013 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) & Canadian Agricultural Economics Society (CAES) Joint Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. was held August 4 – 6.

As in the past, the Department of Agricultural Economics has earned several awards.

Allen Featherstone, professor and program director for the Master of Agribusiness program, and Christine Wilson, professor and Assistant Dean of Academic Programs for the College of Agriculture, with co-author Charles Moss of the University of Florida; received the AAEA’s Quality of Communication Award for their 2012 project, “Presenting the Financial Condition of Agriculture using the Agricultural Resource Management Survey”.

The graduate student team of Will Callis, Jon Brammer and Marcus Brix earned second place honors in the AAEA Case Study Competition.

Dave Lambert, professor and department head, began his one year term as Chair of the National Association of Agricultural Economics Administrators at these August meetings.  Lambert will succeed Damona Doye as the new Chair of the Council for Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics (C-FARE) starting in January 2014.

A number of papers and posters were presented by faculty and students. Information about these and other awards will be provided soon.