Catch up on the latest industry and government updates contributed by Agricultural Ecomics alumni, faculty and staff

Agricultural economics alumnus is Paraguay’s new Minister of Agriculture

September 9, 2013 – Our Manhattanites wouldn’t normally be interested in a new cabinet officer in Paraguay.

But at least one local family is keyed up about the naming of K-State alum Jorge Gattini as that nation’s minister of agriculture.

Gattini, who in 1998 earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics at K-State, was sworn in Aug. 15 under new President Horacio Cartes. He has held several positions mostly in the agriculture ministry’s marketing department under three agriculture ministers.

He also earned a master’s degree in applied economic environmental at University of London, Imperial College.

Gattini came to Manhattan from Paraguay in a cultural exchange program with Kansas 4-H, staying with Norman Schlesener and his wife, Mary Alice, for about a month during the early 1990s. Schlesener is a member of Kansas Paraguay Partners, an international volunteer organization promoting people-to-people exchanges between Paraguayans and Kansans.

Click here to read the rest of the article, written by Bryan Richardson of the Manhattan Mercury.

Refine Your Records: Systems to improve your bottom line

September 5, 2013 – You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This common saying is especially true when discussing farm records.

“Record keeping can be time-consuming, tedious and complex,” says Kevin Herbel, Kansas Farm Management Association program administrator. “But a good set of farm records is invaluable.”

He says young farmers, especially, can benefit from collecting and regularly reviewing these financial data points. A complete and updated set of farm records, which should include production, inventory, legal data, finances and other information, can help you evaluate your business’ performance, compare your business to others and better plan for the future, Herbel explains.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Climate change may affect wheat yields

September 4, 2013 – Growing a healthy, high yielding wheat crop takes years to master and requires hard work and commitment. Climate change brings on a series of problems, and a quality drought-resistant variety that is resistant to pests and diseases is essential.

Over a 26-year period, Kansas State University examined wheat variety yield data from performance tests, along with location-specific weather and disease data. The tests were done to quantify the impact of genetic improvement in wheat, disease, and climate change. Through the years of 1985 through 2011, wheat breeding programs boosted average wheat yields by 13 bushels per acre, or 0.51 bushels each year, for a total increase of 26%. A simulation also found that 1.8 degree Fahrenheit in projected mean temperature was found to decrease wheat yields by 10.64 bushels per acre or nearly 21%.

“Kansas wheat producers are challenged by weather, pests, and disease,” said Andrew Barkley, Professor of Agricultural Economics “Fortunately, the Kansas wheat breeding program produces new varieties of wheat that increase yields over time.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Study: Cutting Ogallala water use now will benefit Kansas later

August 27, 2013 – Since intensive farming began in the 1950s, some 30 percent of the water in the Kansas portion of the Ogallala Aquifer, a primary irrigation source, has been pumped out. How the remainder is used will determine the state’s agricultural fate for the next century, according to a new study from Kansas State University that analyzes the aquifer’s decline and its consequences for agriculture in Kansas.

The Ogallala, which stretches from South Dakota to Texas, is essentially a finite source because pumping is so great and the rainfall that would refill the aquifer is so scarce. At current trends, pumping for irrigation will decrease in Kansas over the next two decades as farmers pull water from deeper in the ground and wells dry up, and agricultural production will crest in the 2040s. At this same rate, nearly 70 percent of the aquifer in Kansas will be gone by 2060.

But there is a different path, the study argues, a path that requires conservation now to add years to the aquifer’s productive future. Total agricultural production over the next century will be greater than current trends indicate if farmers today reduce water withdrawals by 20 percent.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Corn price seen falling, spread widening

August 20, 2013 – Global corn prices are expected to decline significantly over the next three months, despite concerns about dry weather in parts of the U.S., and corn’s discount to soybeans may widen, a top U.S.-based farm economist said Tuesday.

Cheaper exports in global markets by Ukraine and Brazil, a slowdown in U.S. domestic demand for corn to make ethanol for blending with gasoline and a major recovery from a drought in the U.S. will all contribute in dragging down prices, Jay O’Neil, senior agricultural economist at Kansas State University, told Dow Jones Newswires here ahead of an international grain conference.

“There are pockets of below-normal rain [in the U.S], but by and large, the crop looks beautiful, and we’re expecting higher yields [than last year],” Mr. O’Neil said.

East Kansas, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Ohio and Nebraska are among major corn-producing regions that have benefited from the rain in recent weeks, he said.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


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