Wichita Farm Bill meeting videos now available online at AgManager.info – 4 meetings left to attend

Coverage from the 2014 Farm Bill meeting held in Wichita (Jan. 12, 2015), is now available online at http://www.agmanager.info/policy/commodity/2012/default.asp.

There are 4 videos that include Art Barnaby’s presentation, 1 video including Jody Campiche’s cotton presentation (Oklahoma State University Agricultural Economics), 1 video of Mykel Taylor’s presentation, and 1 video of Wichita’s FSA representative, Sean Rafferty.

On this page, click the link in the “download” column to view these videos in a new window.  When in the new video window, select the “info” button in the video browser to show links to more information. If you have questions about these videos or need assistance, please contact Rich Llewelyn at rvl@ksu.edu.

Remaining meetings occur:
Feb. 10 - Phillipsburg
Feb. 11 - Hays
Feb. 12 - Frankfort
Feb. 13 - Atchison
These events are free, however have been full at every location.  Reserve your seat by contacting the local county extension agent for each location, details can be found here.

Health Care Access ‘Doctors Up’ Local Economies

Many thoughts go into choosing a place to live and work. Access to affordable housing, high-quality schools and a comprehensive health care system are among those considerations that typically rise to the top of the list.

“Access to health care service is one thing you want for yourself and your family,” said Blaine Miller, administrator for the Republic County Hospital in Belleville, Kansas. “If you have a robust hospital with doctors and the health care services you would need, the likelihood of going there is better than going some place that doesn’t have those health care services.”

Economic development, particularly for rural communities, relies on quality of life attributes such as health care, which can include access not only to hospitals, but also physician offices, pharmacies, ambulatory care, dental care, nursing care, and wellness and fitness centers.

These establishments can contribute directly to the local economy through employment and income from items such as retail sales and tax revenue, said John Leatherman, professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University and director of the Office of Local Government, K-State Research and Extension. A sustainable health care system has many other indirect economic benefits, including attracting and maintaining other business and industry growth, and keeping retirees in the local area.

“The local health care industry contributes about 10 to 15 percent of the total economic activity in any given Kansas county,” Leatherman said. “Hospitals are often the second largest employer in a county, followed only behind local government and the school system. Indirectly, it allows other businesses to have access to a healthy and productive workforce.”

Leatherman, a specialist in community and regional economics, studies the health care industry in Kansas by analyzing three main items: the economic contribution of local health services in Kansas’ counties and the state as a whole, the health care needs in rural communities and the direct feasibility of various health services brought into a community.

His work is part of the Kansas Rural Health Works (http://www.krhw.net/) program, and his most recent state report, “The Importance of the Health Care Sector to the Kansas Economy,” (http://www.kha-net.org/Communications/MediaReleases/101030.aspx) was released January 2015 with funding provided by the Kansas Hospital Association and K-State Research and Extension.

Building local economies
The report shows the estimated total economic contribution of health services in Kansas. Health services directly and indirectly support 357,408 jobs in the state, which is up nearly 9,000 from a year ago and have gradually increased over time following national trends. National employment in health services has increased 75 percent from 1990 to 2010 and by about 350 percent since 1970.

The Kansas health care industry contributes an estimated $17.5 billion in income, retail sales of $5.5 billion, and sales tax revenue of at least $340 million for the state alone, according to the report.

Nationally, the health sector is projected to continue growing in its share of the gross domestic product. In 1970, Americans spent $74.9 billion on health care, which was 7 percent of the GDP. In 2012, health care costs increased to about $2.82 trillion, or 17 percent of the GDP. If trends continue, the cost by 2023 will be $5.16 trillion, or 19 percent of the GDP.

Leatherman said even during the U.S. economic recession in 2009, all industries shrunk except for health care, which may have slowed in growth but continued on an upward trend despite tough economic times.

“When you think about the kind of spending we do for health services, it’s quite considerable, and spending continues to grow,” he said. “For communities to have greater economic viability, they will want to capture a piece of that growth.”

Building healthy communities
During his career in the medical field, Miller said he’s noticed that an aging baby boomer population combined with issues associated with obesity and other lifestyle choices have made health care a growing demand.

“We’re also seeing a younger population bring in mom and/or dad into the community so they can be closer and take care of them,” he said. “That increases our older population.”

Leatherman agrees that health care access tends to attract and retain a population of older adults, who tend to control, even at modest levels, economic dollars made possible through government assistance programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“Many of these older people rank health services No. 1 or No. 2 for community importance, only behind protective services such as law enforcement,” Leatherman said.

Miller said people of all ages in the community need to have access to primary care services. These services might include such practices as health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, counseling, patient education, and diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (http://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/primary-care.html).

In addition to primary care services, each community typically has specific needs, which is where the community health needs assessment comes in to help inspire change and make a community overall healthier. Miller said about 10 years ago, the needs expressed included more specialist doctors and facilities, but the most recent assessment showed the need for wellness activities.

“People were asking, ‘Where can we go when weather is bad and walk for exercise?’” Miller said. “With our city and county, we are now working on a trails program to create opportunities where people can go out and safely walk as a form of exercise.”

Key challenges in rural areas
Having access to sustainable health care is something people shouldn’t take for granted, Leatherman said, but many don’t think about health services until they need them. Many challenges remain to keep local health services intact, such as acquiring and retaining qualified health professionals to rural areas, and properly defining priorities and resources.

Miller said getting physicians and other health professionals to come to rural communities and stay is always an issue. To help with this, his hospital and hospital board supports scholarships funded by a bequest and provided to health staff members to advance their education and certification if they plan to stay and work in Republic County.

Additionally, Miller said Republic County participates in the Rural Opportunity Zones program through the Kansas Department of Commerce (http://www.kansascommerce.com/index.aspx?nid=320), which has allowed the hospital to support a physical therapist and medical technologist on student loan repayment.

Telemedicine, or providing health care at a distance, also helps increase health care access to people who live in rural areas, he said. The Republic County Hospital partners with Pawnee Mental Health in Manhattan, for example, for patient evaluations via telemedicine.

“Those technologies allow you to stretch the physician’s capabilities and keep those patients from having to travel as much,” Miller said. “They may have an initial face-to-face evaluation, but the follow ups can be done via telemedicine. We are exploring this option for oncology services.”

Miller added that in Republic County, he’s been fortunate to have a fairly stable medical staff and community support to allow for building projects and advancements to the hospital. But, differences exist in the health services and financial support available in communities throughout the state.

“The Kansas Hospital Association has a technical advisory group looking for an alternative care delivery system for hospitals that are struggling financially to maintain primary care services and keep people in the community,” he said. “Distance really is our enemy out here in the rural areas.”

Leatherman said he has witnessed rural communities coming together and developing initiatives to keep their health care services strong. In addition to hospital administrators, it takes government, business and civic leaders to join in the effort.

“Many communities value health services similarly, but when you have a gap, it is keenly felt,” Leatherman said. “When it’s important, there is money to be had, but it takes defining priorities despite resources.”

Through these and other challenges, however, come many more rewards, Miller said. Working in the health care industry, particularly in rural areas, is a call to service. It means caring for friends, relatives and people you know, which is likely why the motto of the Republic County Hospital is, “Our family caring for your family.”

“Health care is getting more and more challenging with all of the budget cuts, the cuts to Medicare and all of that,” he said. “The reward is being able to continue providing those necessary services in spite of all of those financial challenges, being able to embrace change and being able to do a better job at what we do with less. When you accomplish that, it’s a job well done.”

Story by:
Katie Allen
K-State Research and Extension

For more information:
John Leatherman – jleather@ksu.edu or 785-532-4492, http://www.ksu-olg.info/
Blaine Miller – bkmiller@rphospital.org or 785-527-2254

I Had to Go to Guatemala to Learn to Listen: Grunewald to give Last Lecture

Grunewald lightenedIn 1978, Orlen Grunewald joined the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics.

An expert in agribusiness, Grunewald will deliver his last lecture, “I had to go to Guatemala to learn to listen” on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 3:30 p.m. in room 328 Waters Hall. Refreshments will be served.

The lecture is one of several planned as part of a “Last Lecture” series in which several K-State Department of Agricultural Economics faculty members will give one last lecture for the campus community and the public shortly after retiring.

“Dr. Grunewald had an outstanding career at Kansas State University and in the agribusiness area,” said Allen Featherstone, professor and head of the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics. “One of his lasting legacies is the initiation of the commodities trading course where students take actual market positions.

Through his career, he has studied and contributed to our understanding of commodity markets.  He and the other retiring professors that are a part of this Last Lecture series have had a great impact on thousands of students and agriculture in the state of Kansas. The Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture and the university are very grateful for their contributions and dedication to Kansas State University and agricultural economics. It is always inspirational to hear from one’s colleagues as they reflect upon their careers.  We encourage everyone to attend this series so they can reflect on their career.”

Grunewald, professor emeritus in the agricultural economics department, taught many undergraduate courses in agribusiness management, agribusiness marketing, and computer applications. He authored a textbook on food and agribusiness management for beginning students. His research activities focus on investigating the impacts of identity-preserved crops and livestock on supply chain management and agribusiness structures.

Grunewald earned his bachelor’s degree in regional planning at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1973.  He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky in 1975 and 1980, respectively.

His research included investigating the structural efficiency of agricultural producers and agribusinesses in the supply chain; learning about entrepreneurship and integration in agri-food supply chains to understand the innovation processes that shape the supply chains; identifying key success factors in value-added enterprises; creating a series of educational modules based in applied research on value-added agriculture; and developing commercialization protocols to facilitate producer participation in wealth-creation value-adding initiatives.

He belonged to the American Agricultural Economics Association; Southern Agricultural Economics Association, serving on the editorial board for four years; and the Food Distribution Research Society.  He also served on the International Committee for the American Council on Consumer Interests in 1990.

Grunewald also was a Kansas State University Presidential Lecturer in 1986.

More information about his lecture or any in the “Last Lecture” series is available by contacting Judy Maberry at judym@k-state.edu or 785-532-4493.


Story by:
Elaine Edwards
K-State Research and Extension, http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/

K-State Survey Indicates Lower Farmland Prices, More Non-Performing Loans in the Short-Term Outlook

The agricultural lender sentiment for the end of 2014 shows that lenders have decreased expectations for the short- and long-term outlook. Respondents of a Kansas State University Agricultural Lender Survey expect farmland prices to decline and non-performing loans to increase.

The five areas surveyed include farm loan interest rates, spread over cost of funds, farm loan volumes, non-performing loans and farmland values. Brady Brewer, agricultural economics doctoral candidate, outlined the major themes and implications for the agricultural sector that were found.

“One of these themes is the continued expectations that farmland values will decrease; growing sentiment that farmland values will decrease in the short- and long-term,” Brewer said.  “Additionally, only 2 percent more respondents indicated that land values in their service territory increased during the last quarter, indicating that values have already stagnated.”

Brewer pointed out that lenders expect interest rates to increase in the short- and long-term. Rising loan interest rates was expected on all loan types considered, operating, intermediate, and farm real estate.

“However, more lenders felt these increases would occur in two to five years instead of the coming year,” added Brian Briggeman, associate professor and director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center.

Another theme Brewer discovered is that while the long-term expectation for non-performing loans saw little change from the spring 2014 survey to the fall 2014 survey, more lenders expect non-performing loans to rise in the short term. Potentially, lenders are expecting tighter profit margins to strain loan repayment rates sooner than previously expected. However, it is important to recognize that non-performing loans are currently at a historically low level.

“The financial health of the livestock and crop sectors appears to be headed in different directions,” said Brewer. With lower commodity prices and higher farmland values, lenders expect non-performing loans to increase in the short- and long-term for crop sectors, while the livestock sectors, bolstered by high market prices and lower feed costs, are expected to see a decrease in non-performing loans.

“As with the spring 2014 survey, lenders continue to express less optimism than they did during 2013,” said Christine Wilson, professor and assistant dean of academic programs, for K-State’s College of Agriculture. “They continue to expect interest rates to increase, non-performing loans to increase, and farmland values to decrease. They do however also still expect farm loan volume to remain strong.”

The research and series of surveys was developed by Brewer, Briggeman, Wilson, and Allen Featherstone, department head and professor of the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics. For more information about the outlook for agricultural credit conditions and commentary on areas of concern within agriculture, go to the K-State Agricultural Lender Survey http://www.ageconomics.k-state.edu/research/ag-lender-survey/index.html.

K-State Research & Extension News

For more information:
Dr. Allen Featherstone – afeather@ksu.edu or 785-532-4441

87 Employers to attend Jan. 28 Agri-Industry Career Fair

It’s that time of the year when the internship application frenzy kicks into full gear. Whether it’s required to complete a degree or just to build personal experience, students are searching for their perfect-fit internship and the Agri-Industry Career Fair is the best way for College of Agriculture students to shape their summer plans.

Open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28, in the Student Union Ballroom, the career fair will feature 87 employers, including many sought out companies like Cargill, CHS, Land O’ Lakes, Farm Credit and more (see the full list here).

How can students prepare to attend the career fair?

  • Utilize the “Career Closet” of gently used professional attire to dress to impress! Available Monday, Jan. 26, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Union Courtyard. Discover how to best dress to impress here.
  • Make a first impression the employer won’t forget – it is important to exude confidence and be able to exhibit personal strengths.
  • Build and/or update your resume and print off several copies to hand out to interested employers.
  • Map out the employers to visit and be knowledgeable about the operation of the company; this allows you to ask critical questions and better understand what the employer is looking for.
  • Take notes at each booth you visit and try to collect business cards or pamphlets.
  • Visit the drop-in resume critique at the College of Agriculture Welcome Back Social on Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 5:30-8:00 in Waters 106.

See the Career and Employment Services full list of tips here.

Contact Mary Ellen Barkley with career fair questions at mebark@ksu.edu or (785) 532- 1680.


Latest Ag News Now

The latest release of Ag News Now features many opportunities for jobs, internships, scholarships and volunteering.

  • The Scoular Company is looking for sophomores and juniors to shadow merchandisers in the corporate office and tour one of the grain-handling facilities. The company also has openings in the following positions: commodity merchandising and facility operations, both for either a job or internship. Visit Scoular’s website at www.scoular.com/careers or find them on social media.
  • Volunteer for Farmer to Farmer of East Africa, find out more at farmertofarmer.crs.org
  • AgVenture is offering scholarships, due online by March 27, 2015. The Earl H. Passwaters scholarship is worth $1,000 and is open to full-time agriculture students with a 3.0 GPA. Requires writing an essay. Email farmscholarship@gmail.com with questions or find the AgVenture Facebook page.

Read the full Ag News Now here.

Dan O’Brien to share farm bill decision tools at Cover Your Acres 2015

In its 12th year strong, the 2015 Cover Your Acres Winter Conference will meet in Oberlin Jan. 20-21. University specialists and industry representatives will provide educational sessions on factors affecting farm management in northwest Kansas and surrounding regions.

Dan O'Brien is one of the presenters at the upcoming Cover Your Acres conference

Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien, KSU associate professor and extension economist, is one of the presenters who will be in attendance. To learn how the farm bill choices and crop insurance can be applied to situations specifically in northeast Kansas, attend one of his workshops at 8:30 a.m. or 4:10 p.m. either day of the conference.

Other sessions include weed control and its effect on the environment and in fallow situations, soil microbiology and carbon, oil sampling, phosphorous management, drought tolerant corn and wheat yield development.

Attendees can choose to attend one day or both days. Fees, if registered by Jan. 14, are $40 for Jan. 20, $35 for January 21 or $50 for both days. Later registration moves the cost to $50 each day. The fees cover educational materials and lunch.

Commercial applicators and certified crop advisors may also choose to receive continuing education credits.

The conference draws around 600 attendees from in and out of state.

Sponsors for the event are Bayer CropScience, Frontier Ag, Hoxie Implement, Lang Diesel, Monsanto, National Sunflower Association, Pacleader Technology, Plains Equipment Group, SImplot Grower Solutions, Sims Fertilizer, Simpson Farm Enterprises and Surefire Ag Systems.

Full conference details and registration options are found here.

First of Farm Bill Informational Meetings to cover New Cotton Program

First of Farm Bill Informational Meetings to Begin Mid-January
The new cotton program will be covered in the Jan. 12 Wichita meeting only.

Though the Midwest isn’t booming with cotton fields, plenty of farmers and lenders in and out of state have expressed interest in the new cotton program found in the farm bill. For this reason, the January 12th Farm Bill Meeting will be the only meeting to examine and explain the program, which differs from the grain and oilseed programs.

The January 12th meeting in Wichita commences the series of sponsored half-day meetings across the state. K-State agricultural economists, Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby, will lead the sessions, which provide vital information encompassed in the 2014 Farm Bill. Commodity programs, trade-offs of choosing one program over another, decision aid tools and major changes in crop insurance are on the agenda for discussion.

Attendees will also hear from representatives of the Farm Service Agency, a subsidiary of the USDA, about the commodity program procedures.

The goal of the series is to provide assistance in making key decisions required by the farm bill, with a deadline for decisions set at the end of March.

Common concerns of producers will also be addressed, including word that prices used in the USDA’s calculation did not represent accurate data.

Art Barnaby put these concerns at rest, saying, “The prices being used to calculate payments are not random. There is good data being used. With regard to wheat yield, we also know a lot about the numbers being used. To say ‘it’s a flip of the coin’ is not true.”

Sponsors for the series include Ag Risk Solutions, ARMtech Insurance Services, Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, ProAg and various local sponsors for individual locations.

Jan. 12 – Wichita
Jan. 13 – Pittsburg2014 Farm Bill logo
Jan. 14 – Emporia
Jan. 15 – Ottawa
Jan. 20 – Salina
Jan. 21 – McPherson
Jan. 22 – Pratt
Jan. 26 – Goodland
Jan. 27 – Scott City
Jan. 28 – Liberal
Jan. 29 – Dodge City
Feb. 10 – Phillipsburg
Feb. 11 – Hays
Feb. 12 – Frankfort
Feb. 13 – Atchison

More detailed information, including how to register at a preferred location and details about supporting sponsorships, is available at http://www.agmanager.info/events/FarmBill/. Further information also is available by contacting Rich Llewelyn at rvl@ksu.edu.

Happy New Year from the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics

The Department of Agricultural Economics wishes you a very happy New Year!!

Merry Christmas from the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics

091208campus059-1-(ZF-4967-34223-1-021)The Department of Agricultural Economics wishes you a very merry Christmas!!!


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