Monthly Archives: February 2014

College of Agriculture updates

The latest College of Ag News Now is out.  Use the link below to view this edition.

  •  Eyestone Lecture set for March 11
  •  K-State Ag is looking for “voices” for FFA promotional videos
  •  Blueville Nursery now hiring full-time and seasonal workers
  •  Apply to participate in a Canadian Beef Industry Tour!!



Schroeder and Tonsor to present The Cattle Industry Outlook at K-State Cattlemen’s Day

Kansas State University will host the 101st annual Cattlemen’s Day on Friday, March 7 in Weber Hall in Manhattan.

The day starts at 8 a.m. in Weber Arena with a commercial trade show and educational exhibits, and the program beginning at 10 a.m. in 123 Weber Hall.

In the keynote address, “The Future of Beef Export Demand,” Paul Clayton, senior vice president of export services for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, will discuss the changing landscape of beef exportation, including barriers to foreign trade, maintaining current markets, the creation of new marketing channels, and the importance of beef exports for the future of the U.S. beef cattle industry.

“The Cattle Industry Outlook,” presented by K-State agricultural economists Glynn Tonsor and Ted Schroeder, will focus on the cattle and beef market outlook and the economic implications of production and animal health technologies. Tonsor and Schroeder will address evolving regulations and the expectations of customers and consumers, as well as economic issues related to the reintroduction of zilpaterol, as well as impending antibiotic restrictions.

Lunch, sponsored by U.S. Premium Beef and commercial exhibitors, will be followed by breakout sessions, including:

  • Sunflower Supreme: Riding the Expansion Wave – Jaymelynn Farney, K-State Research and Extension beef systems specialist;
  • Avoiding Catastrophic Disease – Bill Brown, Kansas Commissioner of Animal Health;
  • Methods for Heat Stress Abatement – Lindsey Hulbert, K-State Research and Extension animal well-being specialist;
  • Salmonella in Beef Lymph Nodes – Sarah Gragg, K-State Olathe assistant professor of food science;
  • Control and Management of Genetic Defects in Commercial Beef Herds – Bob Weaber, K-State Research and Extension cow-calf specialist; and
  • Synchronization Programs for Beef Cow-Calf Operations – Sandy Johnson, K-State Research and Extension livestock production specialist.

Cattlemen’s Day participants have the option to take a tour from 1:30-3 p.m. of K-State’s new O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center, led by K-State associate professor, Charles Stark.

Registration for Cattlemen’s Day is available online at or by sending $20 per attendee (if registered by Feb. 28) to Cattlemen’s Day Registration, Kansas State University, 139 Call Hall, Manhattan, Ks., 66506-1600. The fee after Feb. 28 and at the door is $30 per person.

Cattlemen’s Day activities will be followed by the 37th Annual Legacy Sale ( at 3:30 p.m. in K-State’s Purebred Beef Teaching Center. The sale includes more than 70 Angus, Hereford, SimAngus and Simmental bulls, five show heifer prospects, 20 bred females, and six American Quarter Horse Association-registered horses. A social at the Stanley Stout Center follows the sale.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter, K-State Research and Extension,

For more information: Eve Clark is at 785-532-1280 or

Now’s the Time to Update Records, Learn about New Programs in Farm Bill

K-State to Host Webinar on Feb. 21

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The long-awaited Agricultural Act of 2014, otherwise known as the farm bill, signed into law on Feb. 7 ends direct payments to farmers but still provides some safety net programs – and that’s just for starters.

“This new five-year legislation means the beginning of several new programs for agricultural producers,” said Kansas State University agricultural economist Art Barnaby. “It also means the end of some familiar programs, including SURE (Supplemental Revenue Assistance) and ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election).”

While the new legislation does away with direct payments, it includes two new safety net programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, designed to help farmers when crop prices or revenue are low. Producers will have to make a one-time irrevocable decision this year to select one of the two programs. If they do not choose, the PLC is the default option and they would give up any 2014 payment.

The two programs are separate from traditional crop insurance programs, which remain largely unchanged, but with some significant improvements, Barnaby said. Improvements include separate enterprise units for irrigated versus dryland agriculture and farmers may select different coverage levels for a dryland enterprise unit versus an irrigated enterprise unit on the same crop. If the county suffers a 50-percent yield loss, then farmers in that county and contiguous counties are allowed to exclude that low yield out of their actual production history and avoid a reduction in their APH.

K-State Research and Extension will host a one-hour webinar, “The New Farm Bill,” on Friday, Feb. 21 in which Barnaby, a risk management specialist, will discuss the legislation and what it means to producers. The presentation will include National Agricultural Statistics Service prices and yield used for the calculation of payments, as well as changes to crop insurance. More information and registration is available online at or by contacting Rich Llewelyn at or 785-532-1504.

Barnaby will also discuss the new farm bill on Thursday, Feb. 27 in Scott City, Kan. in a two-part workshop, “New Farm Bill Commodities Programs and Risk-Assessed Marketing II Workshop.” More information and registration for those programs is available by contacting John Beckman at or 620-872-2930.

Agriculture Risk Coverage – This new program covers what farmers would lose before their regular crop insurance kicks in. It provides protection when crop revenue falls just 14 percent below a five-year rolling Olympic average benchmark. A farmer chooses whether the benchmark is based on county yield times crop year average prices or his or her individual crop yield times the price. The county payment is based on 85 percent of the farmer’s base acres, but if they elect individual coverage they must enroll all crops in to ARC and payments are made on 65 percent of base acres.

“If producers think prices will trend at or near current levels over the next five years, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) is more likely to pay because the five-year Olympic market average price for many crops are above current prices,” he said. “But producers can only collect 10 percent of their coverage under the ARC program, and lower prices will cause the Olympic average price to decline over the life of the ARC program.”

Olympic averages are found by removing the high and low price before calculating the average of the remaining prices.

Price Loss Coverage – In the PLC program, farmers will receive payments if the crop price falls below certain “target” or reference prices. The USDA has set a $5.50-per-bushel reference price on wheat, for example, Barnaby said. If the cash wheat price falls below $5.50, farmers will be paid the difference between $5.50 and the lower price times their updated program yield times 85 percent of their base acres.  Reference prices set as part of the new legislation for some other commodities (per bushel) include $3.70 for corn; $3.95 for grain sorghum; $8.40 for soybeans; $2.40 for oats; and $4.95 for oats.

“The (PLC) potentially has the bigger payout, but is less likely to happen than an ARC payment,” he said. If prices stay above the reference price, the PLC program will not make payments to farmers.”

Farmers who select PLC will be eligible for the Supplemental Coverage Option, as well, although that program will not be available until the 2015 crop year because the crop insurance contract change date has passed for 2014. Because it is insurance, it will follow insurance rules and payments will be based on county yields and insurance prices. It will cover a share of a farmer’s deductible in their farm level crop insurance, there is no payment limit, and the payments cannot be sequestered. SCO payments will be made six months earlier than ARC or PLC payments, but farmers must pay 35 percent of the SCO premium costs.

“Producers don’t have to make decisions right away, but now would be a good time for them to gather their records together. They’ll need acreage and yield data to update their information because many farmers will want to reallocate their base acres and update their program yields when they sign up,” Barnaby said. He expects updating base acres will increase feedgrain base acres and reduce wheat base acres; in both Kansas and at the national level.

“A lot of farmers will benefit from updating their program yields because their production has increased from yields used to set those program yields many years ago,” he said.

USDA has not issued signup dates yet, but Barnaby believes that given the changes that come with the new legislation, June 1 is the earliest that farmers will have to make a decision about which program to choose. Signups could be as late as August, he added, noting that the Farm Service Agency has much work to do before signup, including writing and publishing implementation rules, software development for enrollment, and training for their county personnel.

New programs available under the new legislation include the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) for cotton and a new program for dairy producers.

Total commodity support program payments under the new farm bill (independent from crop insurance payments) will be limited to $125,000 per individual or $250,000 per couple.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter, K-State Research and Extension

For more information: Dr. Art Barnaby – 785-532-1515 or

What’s on the Consumer’s Mind?

When it comes to buying livestock products, consumers value freshness and safety most, according to a recent K-State study.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A look around the local grocery store might show images of consumers reading meat labels or checking the expiration date on a gallon of milk. Each consumer has a set of values when making food purchases, and the level of importance placed on each value by consumers allow for food producers and distributors to better meet the needs of their end user.

A recent nationwide online survey of U.S. consumers by Kansas State University found that freshness and safety were the most important values consumers placed on buying popular livestock products—milk, ground beef, beef steak and chicken breast. The findings for livestock-specific products were consistent with prior research ( examining consumers’ general food values.

Ted Schroeder, professor and livestock economist for K-State Research and Extension, worked with other faculty and graduate students in the Department of Agricultural Economics on this research. Schroeder said as consumers make decisions to purchase food products, they might think about taste, underlying production practices, concerns they have about production, safeness, freshness, quality and price, to name a few.

“It’s about a host of things that might go through consumers’ minds as they purchase a product,” he said. “As you compile those into a list, how do they rank? And, do they rank the same for different products?”

Details of the study
The prior research by Lusk and Briggeman in 2009 found that safety, nutrition, taste, price and natural were the top five values consumers desired out of the 11 total values assessed for general food products. Schroeder and his graduate students wanted to see if similar results could be found when consumers considered buying specific livestock products.

“We wanted some diversity among those (livestock) products,” said Garrett Lister, a K-State graduate student who worked on the study. “We also wanted them to be specific, which is why we kept them in the livestock sector.”

The popular products they chose to examine included milk, ground beef, beef steak and chicken breast. The 11 food values they chose to examine included freshness, health, hormone-free/antibiotic-free, animal welfare, taste, price, safety, convenience, nutrition, origin and environmental impact. These are similar to the general food product study, aside from a few modifications that apply to livestock products. Adding freshness was one of those modifications.

“There’s more issues with spoilage in some of these livestock products than food in general,” Lister said.

A total of 1,950 people responded to the livestock products survey, which was a big jump from the 176 respondents included in the prior general food product survey. This was mainly due to the online nature of the livestock products survey versus the mailed method of the general food products survey, said Marcus Brix, another K-State graduate student who worked on the study.

Safety was the most important value in the general food products study, and it was either first or second most important for milk, ground beef, beef steak and chicken breast. Freshness was the other top value for livestock products. In contrast, the values of environmental impact, animal welfare, origin and convenience were less important for the livestock products, and this was also comparable to the prior research.

Price fell in the middle of the list, Lister said. This was because some consumers valued price as one of their key components in making a decision on what foods to buy, while others felt it was less important.

Brix said economists often presume that price is the most important factor in choice, because price is an important driver of purchase behavior. Researchers tend to assume food is going to be safe when purchased at a retail outlet. However, consumers in general don’t necessarily have that presumed trust in food safety.

“A majority of consumers still question some things about their food,” Brix said. “If they think that one product is more safe than another at a different price point, they are going to be less responsive to the price and more responsive to the product freshness or safety of said product.”

Needs in the industry
Consumers want products that deliver a high-quality eating experience, Schroeder said, and this study, as well as prior research, reflects that.

“Freshness, nutritional components and health attributes are desirable, and consumers absolutely demand a product that is safe,” he said. “These are messages we’ve been saying for a long time, and they’ve shown up remarkably strong across all four of these particular products.”

The social values, including animal welfare, environmental impact and origin, for example, aren’t irrelevant, Schroeder said. Some segments of society hold those as more important than others, but overall they aren’t the major drivers that lead the average consumer to purchase a particular product.

Understanding some of these consumer food value preferences helps the food industry know where to focus its marketing and production energy to ensure that high-quality eating experience.

A research paper explaining all of the findings from the livestock products consumer survey is available at

Story by: Katie Allen, Communications Specialist, News Media and Marketing Services – or 785-532-1162

For more information: Ted Schroeder – or 785-532-4488

Agricultural Economics alumni updates

The following are alumni updates.  To view the latest department e-newsletter for more updates, click here.

Matt Wolters earns Alumni Association’s Distinguished Young Alumnus Award

Matt Wolters, a 2003 graduate in agricultural economics, has earned the Distinguished Young Alumnus award from the K-State Alumni Association.

The Distinguished Young Alumni program recognizes two Kansas State University graduates who are excelling in their professions and contributing to their communities. The program is sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Board and the Board of Directors.

Wolters is co-founder and co-owner of SureFire Ag Systems Inc., a company that designs and manufactures solutions to apply fertilizer and chemicals to crops and fields throughout Kansas, the U.S. and the world. In addition to SureFire Ag Systems, Matt and his partners founded the Dream Big Foundation, which promotes and provides resources to enhance science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math education in the Rawlins County USD 105 school district.

He also helped reorganize the Kansas FFA Foundation and serves as a member of the Rawlins County Hospital Board and the Kansas Agricultural Rural Leadership Program.

While at K-State, Matt served as a College of Agriculture ambassador as well as a member of Blue Key Honor Society and Student Governing Association, among other roles.

Wolters will be on campus in late February to speak to students.

Jake Worcester selected as assistant secretary for Kansas Department of Agriculture

Acting Secretary of Agriculture, Jackie McClaskey has announced Jake Worcester has been hired as an assistant secretary.

Worcester, a native of Hill City, Kan., has a diverse business background and is a skilled relationship builder with a solid understanding of agriculture.

“We are excited to have Jake join the Kansas Department of Agriculture team,” said McClaskey. “He brings extensive knowledge of agriculture to the agency and is an innovative thinker when it comes to working through challenges. He will be an asset as we work together with our farm and ranch families and agribusiness to grow the state’s largest industry,” she said.

Worcester is a graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in agricultural economics. He was active in student government, serving as KSU student body president. He has close ties to agriculture having worked on his family farm as a youngster and was an active member of 4-H, FFA and served as a State FFA officer.

Most recently he worked as vice president for Peak Solutions USA, a leadership and management consulting firm with specializations in agriculture and manufacturing industries. He also served as the first full-time executive director for the Kansas FFA Foundation and the director of development for the K-State School of Leadership Studies.

Worcester and his wife Hilary currently live in Fort Collins, Colo. and will be moving to Manhattan, Kan. in the spring.

From the Kansas Department of Agriculture News Service

Click here to view these and other news items on the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics news page.  For more information, contact Amanda Erichsen at

Agricultural Economics student honors updates

The following are student updates. To view the latest department e-newsletter for more updates, click here.

Agribusiness student Reagen Kays runs for Student Government Association president

February 10, 2014 – College is about more than getting a degree.

That’s what Student Governing Association president and vice president candidates Reagan Kays and Garrett Kennedy said they believe, and they are focused on enhancing that experience.

Kays, senior in agribusiness, and Kennedy, junior in secondary education and math, have begun their campaign for the SGA president and vice president positions with the “Your Education. Your Passion. Your Life.” platform.

“I’m definitely students first,” Kennedy said. “That’s one of the biggest things that Reagan and I can bring together, but that I am definitely passionate about. I want to do what I can to invest in that person.”

Their platform, Kennedy said, works to enhance the overall college experience. “We are setting them up for what is possible for their future,” he said. “Yes, that’s a degree and everything like that, but it also comes from everything else as well … Our three platforms help you plan and prepare yourself for the future.”

Kays and Kennedy bring with them almost six years of combined experience in SGA; Kays served as a student senator for the College of Agriculture for three years, and Kennedy served as a student senator for the College of Education for two years.

Kennedy currently serves as the treasurer of SGA; Kays serves on the Privilege Fee and Tuition Strategy committees.

“My motivation (for running for office) was sitting through a lot of meetings dealing with student dollars and being very passionate about making sure we are very conservative and accurate with those dollars, and making sure we are running programs that can help the student body the best we can,” Kays said.

Click here to read the rest of the article written by: Jena Sauber, The Collegian.

Devin Dick captures Big 12 honor

February 7, 2014 – Agribusiness Senior Devin Dick was named Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week for his stellar performance this past weekend in the heptathlon at the Bill Bergan Invitational in Ames, Iowa. The win marked his first career win in the heptathlon, as well as the first by a K-State athlete since the 2009 indoor season when Moritz Cleve won the Big 12 title.

Dick becomes the first track and field athlete to win the accolade this indoor season and the first Wildcat on the team since Laura Galvan, who won Big 12 Runner of the Week this past September, to earn Big 12 weekly honors. The Hutchinson, Kan., native’s performance in Ames was an impressive one, as Dick won three of the four first-day events, four of the seven events overall and finished top three in all seven.

The Outdoor All-American in the event last year was buoyed by strong performances in the shot put (13.72m/45-00.25), long jump (7.01m/23-00.00) and high jump (1.98m/6-06.00) with the latter two being season bests. Dick’s 5,505 points scored is the top mark in the Big 12 and 10th-best in Division I. His total score nearly eclipsed his career best total of 5,603 points set at last year’s Big 12 Championship as well.

Dick and the rest of the Wildcats will look to continue a strong start to the season, as one group heads to Lincoln, Neb., for the Sevigne Husker Invitational and the other to Albuquerque, N.M., for the New Mexico Classic. Both meets are scheduled to run from Feb. 7-8. For more information, visit

Undergraduates earn Kansas Livestock Association scholarships

December 18, 2013 – Fourteen scholarship winners for the 2013-14 school year were recognized during the annual Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Convention Dec. 6 in Wichita. A total of $16,000 was presented by the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF).

Five Kansas students each have been awarded, through KLF, $1,000 Wheels for Bucks Scholarships. Kurtis Clawson is the son of Kenby and Lana Clawson from Satanta. He is a junior majoring in agronomy and agriculture economics at K-State. Beth Hafliger, daughter of Fred and Gretchen Hafliger of WaKeeney, is a sophomore at K-State. She currently is majoring in agriculture economics. Brady Rundel, son of Pam and the late Bob Rundel of Colby, is a junior at K-State. He is majoring in agribusiness. Nathan Stinson is the son of Brian and Renee Stinson from Allen. He is a junior majoring in agriculture economics at K-State. This scholarship is presented to any student entering or returning to a Kansas community or senior college and pursuing a degree in agriculture or a related field. Preference is given to K-State and Fort Hays State University students entering their junior or senior year and majoring in Animal Science with a career goal of being actively engaged in livestock production.

Student from Satanta earns College of Business Administration’s Outstanding Senior Award

December 18, 2013 – When it comes to dedication and involvement at the Kansas State University College of Business Administration, Kendal Clawson is at the head of his class.

Clawson, a December 2013 bachelor’s graduate in finance and agricultural economics, is the recipient of the college’s fall 2013 Outstanding Senior Award. Clawson, Satanta, was recognized at the college’s commencement ceremony Dec. 14 on the Manhattan campus.

The award is based on service contributions students have made to the college as an undergraduate, including involvement in the college, engagement in the university community and personal academic success. A committee from the college dean’s Student Advisory Council selects the recipient.

“Kendal has a been a great student of extremely high character who has made significant contributions to the college’s key initiatives,” said Scott Hendrix, finance instructor, Gates Capital Management faculty fellow, Edgerley outstanding instructor fellow and adviser to the Kansas State University Student Finance Association.

“He’s been a great representative of the college in his many dealings with finance professionals, employers and alumni on campus and during many college trips in the United States and abroad,” Hendrix said. “Whenever the college or a fellow student has had a need, Kendal has always stepped in to help in a selfless way and I’m thrilled to that he is being recognized.”

Clawson has been actively involved in the college, serving as the information technology chair for the Student Finance Association, student senator for the College of Agriculture, president of the Financial Management Association and a part of the first Student Fellows class for the university’s Center for Risk Management Research and Education.

He has represented the university in sales and marketing competitions across the country, and was a member of the team that made it to regionals at the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“The CFA Research Challenge was one of my most memorable experiences at K-State,” Clawson said. “I was able to work with three other individuals, all smart. Being surrounded by them helped me focus more on finance, pick up on details that I was missing and applying what we learn in the class. Application makes everything more fun and enjoyable.”

During his time at the university, Clawson has participated in several study abroad programs, including faculty-led trips to London, Paris, Munich and Dublin. He completed internships with Koch Industries Inc. in Wichita and at Western Bank in Garden City.

Clawson recently took the level 1 Charter Financial Analyst test and is considering applying to Master of Business Administration programs at a later time.

The son of Kenby and Lana Clawson, Satanta, Clawson will join Koch Pipeline as a market analyst.

Lucas Sudbeck earns honors from Phi Kappa Phi

Kansas State University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the multidisciplinary collegiate honor society, is recognizing several undergraduate scholars at the university.

Phi Kappa Phi has selected 15 students as sophomore scholars. Selection is based on the grade point average of work done at the university and is awarded to students with the highest GPA in each college. One of the students is Lucas Sudbeck, sophomore in agricultural economics, Seneca. To be eligible, students must have at least 30 graded hours — and have less than 59 hours of total academic work. One to two students are selected per college, based on the college’s enrollment. Scholars from the College of Veterinary Medicine are selected based on their first-year grades in the college.

Click here to read more.

Click here to view these and other news items on the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics news page. For more information, contact Amanda Erichsen at

Agricultural Economics updates

The following are College of Agriculture, department and faculty updates. To view the latest department e-newsletter for more updates, click here.

The New Farm Bill: A Webinar by Art Barnaby

Art Barnaby, professor of agricultural economics, will discuss what is in this legislation. The new Farm Bill provides a one-time irrevocable farmer decision to select the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Those who elect PLC will also be eligible for Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The presentation will cover NASS prices and yield used for calculation of the payments. The Farm Bill changes to crop insurance will also be included.

When: February 21, 2014 | 12 noon, CST (apx. 1 hour)
Registration Fee: $25
Deadline to Register: February 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm CST or when full (250 lines).
Instructions for login will be sent following registration. If you are unable to register with a credit card or have problems registering, contact Rich Llewelyn: or 785.532.1504.

A recording of the webinar will be available for those unable to participate on February 21. Register for the webinar and receive instructions of how to access recording, following the webinar.

For more information: Rich Llewelyn | 785.532.1504 | Art Barnaby | 785.532.1515 |

2014 Winter Master of Agribusiness Syllabus newsletter is now online

Click here to view the MAB Syllabus.

Click here to visit the MAB website.

Ag News Now – Updates from the College of Agriculture

  • Interested in International Ag Development? Agri-Corps is hosting an informational session THIS WEDNESDAY
  • K-State Proud booth will be in Waters Hall on February 17
  • Still looking for an internship? Consider making a difference by working at Camp War Eagle.
  • Apply to be a Peer Instructor with the Academic Assistance Center

Click here to read more about these College of Agriculture headlines.

Flinchbaugh delivers a history of farm programs

January 6, 2014 – When you think of Washington these days, lots of words come to mind. Some of those words include “myth, confusion, misinterpretation, dysfunction, partisan, mean-spirited, ideological, demagoguery, damned lies, and dishonesty,” says Barry Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., professor emeritus of agriculture economics at Kansas State University.

The veteran farm bill mover and shaker said there is “an abundant supply of wingnuts on the right and the left,” and “a president who absolutely refuses to lead, wants to be professorial, and Congress has no idea how to lead because few if any moderates remain.”

At the recent American Bankers Association National Farm Bankers Conference, at Minneapolis, Minn., Flinchbaugh went into professorial mode when he explained, “Harry Truman once said there was one thing new in this world and that is the history we have not learned.”

Click here to view the rest of the article, written by Larry Dreiling, High Plains Journal.

Click here to view these and other news items on the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics news page. For more information, contact Amanda Erichsen at

Planning to Pass Down the Farm

A K-State farm management specialist explains commonly held beliefs about farm succession and makes recommendations for developing a steadfast succession plan.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The average age of a farm operator in the United States is 57 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest census of agriculture ( The majority of farm operators are between 45 and 64 years old, but the fastest growing group is 65 years and older.

The many farmers in their 50s and 60s remember what it was like when the farm was handed to them initially, and in earlier times, maybe not much planning had gone into the transition, said Gregg Hadley, a farm management specialist and current assistant director for agriculture, natural resources and community development for K-State Research and Extension.

“Today, a lot of farmers and ranchers are realizing, especially with the dollar amounts that the farms and ranches are worth now, that there needs to be more of a business approach to passing on the family farm or ranch,” Hadley said.

Passing down the farm successfully requires much planning, Hadley said, and it’s never too early to begin the planning process. He will speak on this subject in detail at the upcoming Women Managing the Farm Conference, Feb. 13-14, at Manhattan’s Hilton Garden Inn ( K-State Research and Extension is a sponsor of the conference.

Hadley said that while every farm or ranch situation is different, all should have a succession plan in place. Through his career in dealing with farm management and succession issues, he identified 10 common succession beliefs, some of which are true, while others bring forth misconceptions. The 10 common beliefs include:

1. We don’t need a detailed succession plan.
The current farm owner likely doesn’t have the same business and management philosophies as the next generation’s owner, Hadley said. The same is often true that the next generation’s owner often has different opinions. Detail is essential in making a smooth transition.

“When you disagree about a family business that could be worth millions of dollars, you need to start planning how you’re going to transfer the farm, the assets, the decision-making process and the responsibilities to the next generation,” he said.

2. Most successions fail due to the lack of a good estate plan.
There are subtle differences between estate planning and succession planning, Hadley said.

“The truth is that other issues contribute to the failure of farm succession, other than the estate plan,” he said. “In fact, 85 percent of the time by some research estimates, it’s not the estate plan. It has to do with family communication, relationships and business philosophy issues.”

3. Estate planning is succession planning.
Estate planning is about how assets and wealth of the farm or ranch will be transferred to the heirs, Hadley said, while succession planning involves discussing the estate plan in addition to establishing business philosophy rights, management and workload transference, partnership details and succession feasibility.

“Farm succession planning does take into consideration the estate planning, but it’s really about the overall business,” he said. “How are we going to transfer this big thing called a farm or ranch and that philosophy behind that farm or ranch to the next generation?”

4. Estate planning is the first step of the process.
Hadley said most people he talks to about farm succession planning believe they are finished with the process because they have an estate plan in place.

He recommends estate planning as the last step. Learning how to communicate should be the first step in farm succession, followed by dealing with emotional roadblocks, and developing a business plan, financial plan and estate plan.

“Go to the estate planner with a succession and business plan, and that person can develop a synchronistic estate plan that transfers the assets in a way that fits your farm succession needs, rather than coming up with the one that fits most farms,” Hadley said.

5. Succession planning should be conducted when the owner wants to retire.
It’s not too early to start, and it’s an on-going process, as the plan should be reassessed frequently, Hadley said.

“A good point in time (to start) is when son or daughter are considering coming back to the farm as a significant part of their professional career, but really it is something that you should start as soon as possible,” he said. “You never know when the five Ds—unexpected death, disease, disability, disagreements or divorce—are going to haunt you. You need to start planning, and you need to continue throughout the life of the farm or ranch, because things change along the way.”

6. Developing a succession plan is a lengthy process.
Developing a succession plan usually takes at minimum one year, Hadley said. Several meetings should take place that involve team building, conflict management, business philosophy and strategy issues, operations, finances, decision making, transitioning work responsibility, estate planning and plan finalization.

“Even in a time when there’s not a huge work demand (on the farm), carving out a half a day or so each month is a major undertaking for many farms, but that’s what it takes to plan a succession,” he said.

7. Only blood relatives should be involved in succession planning.
This subject is controversial, but Hadley said it is better to be inclusive, as it eliminates emotional roadblocks. Possible participants might include the current owner or manager, the next generation owners and managers, non-farming heirs and spouses.

“If you exclude people from the planning process, you might be making the front-end of the discussions easier, but you’re building a bigger roadblock down the road,” he said. “What I tell people is, bring everybody together that you think may need to be involved at the beginning. I encourage people to have the in-laws present, and have the blood relatives who aren’t interested and those who are interested in the farm present. They are all going to be affected by this, and they can always elect not to participate down the road.”

8. Our farm won’t have to change.
It is rare that a farm won’t have to change, Hadley said. The farm or ranch has to pay for itself, its investment, the current owner’s labor and management, and the next generation owner’s labor and management. The farm or ranch might have to grow, perhaps not in size but usually economically.

“In reality, every time you come in with a new family unit to be paid, the farm needs to change in some ways,” he said. “(Everyone involved) needs to be getting a competitive wage with the industry, taking into consideration that they are also building ownership equity along the way.”

9. Farm succession planning sessions can be stressful.
Succession planning can be stressful, and it helps to have rules that govern the planning process. Farm families, Hadley said, do a lot of things great, such as getting work done and taking care of the animals and the land. Communication among family members might not be as effective, especially if there are emotional roadblocks, past disagreements, or perceptions that parents favor one sibling over another.

“One example might be that one son drove an old model pickup, while the daughter who is also going into the farm got to drive a brand new pickup,” he said. “Most people looking at that might not see it as a big issue, but it could be something that really disgruntles the people who are trying to succeed the farm.”

10. All we need to make this work is a good lawyer.
“To think that an attorney is going to be able to cover all of the issues is really short-sided,” Hadley said. “It’s important to get the best human resources there to use at your disposal.”

In addition to a lawyer or lawyers present, he said families should use experts that might include communication specialists, conflict management experts, counselors, mediators, financial analysts and succession planning facilitators.

A video interview with Hadley is available on the K-State Research and Extension YouTube page ( To read more about how K-State succession-planning experts are helping Kansas’ farm and ranch families, visit

Story by: Katie Allen, Communications Specialist, News Media and Marketing Services – or 785-532-1162

For more information: Gregg Hadley – or 785-532-5838

The New Farm Bill: A Webinar by Art Barnaby

Art Barnaby, professor of agricultural economics, will discuss what is in this legislation. The new Farm Bill provides a one-time irrevocable farmer decision to select the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Those who elect PLC will also be eligible for Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). The presentation will cover NASS prices and yield used for calculation of the payments. The Farm Bill changes to crop insurance will also be included.

When: February 21, 2014 | 12 noon, CST (apx. 1 hour)
Registration Fee: $25
Deadline to Register: February 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm CST or when full (250 lines). Instructions for login will be sent following registration.
If you are unable to register with a credit card or have problems registering, contact Rich Llewelyn: or 785.532.1504.

A recording of the webinar will be available for those unable to participate on February 21. Register for the webinar and receive instructions of how to access recording, following the webinar.

For more information:
Rich Llewelyn | 785.532.1504 |
Art Barnaby | 785.532.1515 |

K-State researcher to discuss economics for students of natural resources and environmental sciences

Jeffrey Peterson, professor of agricultural economics at K-State, will give a public lecture at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the Little Theater at the K-State Student Union.

Peterson will discuss the role of economics in the context of natural resource and sustainability studies. His talk is being presented for students participating in the capstone course of the natural resources and environmental science secondary major and is open to the general public as part of the secondary major’s new Sustainability Science Seminar Series. Undergraduate students interested in natural resources, environmental science and sustainability issues are especially encouraged to attend.

The presentation is sponsored by the natural resources and environmental science secondary major and the office of sustainability.