Reagan Kays awarded Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

ReaganKaysReagan Kays, May 2015 graduate in agribusiness, received a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellow ship to study agriculture, business, and public policy law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

“I feel blessed to have received this honor,” Kays said. “The Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship will allow me to work less and dive deeper into the material presented to me in law school. I am excited for the next step in my academic career.”

Universities nominate one candidate for the national competition. The candidates are selected based on the expected success of the nominee in either graduate school or professional studies. The student’s academic achievements, service, leadership experience and career goals are all under consideration in selecting a fellow.

“I am so pleased that Phi Kappa Phi has chosen to recognize Reagan Kays for all of his hard work and service here at Kansas State University,” said Daralyn Gordon Arata, coordinator of the university’s Office of Pre-Law Advising. “I am very proud that he will be continuing his education at Georgetown University Law Center, a wonderful law school, and look forward to all of the good that Reagan will accomplish as he enters the legal profession.”

Kays served as the 2014-2014 student body president at K-State and took an active role in the 2015 Kansas legislative session. Kays worked hard for an medical amnesty bill for underage students who reported life-threatening situations while intoxicated. The Kansas Senate passed the bill, nicknamed the Lifeline 911. The bill died on the House floor due to other legislative actions on the state’s House of Representatives. Kays overcame the hardship and was able to enact parts of bill into the University’s policy.

“During the past year, I discovered creating policy has a deeper purpose and I want to be a positive change agent in the policy arena in my future,” Kays said.

While at K-State, Kays helped rework the Academic Freedom Statement, a referendum for student money to be used for academic buildings. He also started interest in adding non-academic misconduct to transcripts.

“Reagan has a bright future ahead of him,” said Barry Flinchbaugh, professor of agriculture economics. “He has wonderful people skills and a deep belief in the democratic process. The future of Kansas — and perhaps the nation — will benefit from his outstanding leadership.”

In addition to servicing as the Student Governing Association president, Kays served as the president K-State’s chapter of Blue Key, a senior honor society, a College of Agriculture ambassador, a member of the Kansas State University Student Foundation, and the national undergraduate director of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

“Reagan Kays displays the finest qualities of a leader: He listens, he cares, he strives for understanding and he seeks compromise,” said John Crespi, professor in agricultural economics.

Phi Kappa Phi, established in 1897, is one of the oldest and most selective collegiate honor societies. The organization honors excellence in academic in higher education. The fellowship will apply to Kay’s first year at Georgetown University Law Center.

“I have a great deal of people I would like to thank for their help during my years at K-State,” Kays said. “In short, I’d like to thank James Hohenbary, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships; Daralyn Gordon Arata, Barry Flinchbaugh and John Crespi.”

Students interested in learning more about competing for future Phi Kappa Phi awards or other scholarships can contact Hohenbary at

Original Article by: K-State Communication Services

‘Improved Management, Improved Nutrition, Improved Profit’ Focus of the 2015 State Beef Conference

The 2015 K-State Beef Conference, Aug. 11 and 13, will be held at different locations throughout Kansas. The conference will focus on a search for opportunities to enhance the management of a beef operation in this time of record returns on calves that many cattle producers have experienced this year. The conference theme and focus for this year is “Improved Management, Improved Nutrition, Improved Profit.”

“The idea of continuous improvement is an important management principle beef producers should employ, even when the cow-calf sector is profitable,” said Bob Weaber, cow-calf specialist for K-State Research and Extension. “Profitable times are good ones for managers to evaluate their operation and deploy new profit-improving practices, recognizing at some point ahead we’ll experience leaner times.”

Rich Porter speaks with students of the Risk Management class in the spring 2015 semester.

Rich Porter speaks with students of the Risk Management class in the spring 2015 semester.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Rich Porter, rancher and author, Reading, Kan. Porter has earned many awards for his operating a cattle ranch in Kansas. Under Porter, the ranch has grown and includes about 6,000 head of cattle and 2,800 acres of corn and soybeans. Porter was recognized for his work and awarded the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award by the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics. In 2008, he was awarded the K-State College of Agriculture’s 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Porter was awarded two years later the 2010 National Stocker Award from BEEF Magazine.

Joining Porter at this year’s conference will be Justin Waggoner, beef systems specialist, and Chris Reinhardt, feedlot specialist, both from K-State Research and Extension. Waggoner will lecture about low-stress cattle handling principles and techniques through the development of stockmanship skills. Reinhardt will discuss the benefits of a year-round mineral supplementation strategy, covering both motivations for the strategy and cost.

Locations and Dates:
Aug. 11: Melvern Community Center, Melvern, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Aug. 11: 4-H Center, Pratt County Fairgrounds, Pratt, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Aug. 13: American Ag Credit, Salina,  9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Aug. 13: Nemaha County Community Building, Seneca, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Registration should be completed with the hosting county or district office. Deadline for the Aug. 11 meeting is Aug 5. Deadline for the Aug. 13 meeting is Aug. 7. The registration fee includes a meal.

Read more about the conference. Cattle

Original Article by: Katie Allen,

K-State Research and Extension


K-State to host Dairy Sessions for producers

Kansas State University will host “Summer Dairy Herd Challenges: Managing Price and Production Risks” in two locations this year.

The sessions will provided dairy producers with up-to-date production and economic information as part of the Dairy Margin Protection Program.

K-State Research and Extension animal scientists and agricultural economists will present on July 31 in Hutchinson at the Amish Community Center, and again on Aug. 4 in Seneca at the Nemaha County Community Building. Presenters include Gregg Hadley, associate professor at Kansas State University and assistant director at K-State Research and Extension, and Mike Brouk and Luis Mendonca, K-State dairy specialists. Members and representatives of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency will available to discuss details of the Dairy MPP.

Both sessions start at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. The Kansas Dairy Commission will provided a free lunch.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Dairy Margin Protection Program Basics and 2016 Election Decisions;
  • Relationships Between Heat Stress and Reproductive Performance in Kansas Dairy Herds;
  • Reducing Heat Stress on Transition and Post-Fresh Cattle;
  • Improving Transition and Post-Fresh Performance with Feed Additives; and
  • Culling in the First 60 Days of Lactation and Transition Cow Challenges in Kansas Dairy Herds.

To register for the Hutchinson session call the Reno County extension office at  620-662-2371. Register by July 24 (to ensure a lunch).

To register for the Seneca session call the Meadowlark Extension District’s Seneca office at 785-336-2184. Register by July 31 (to ensure a lunch).

Original Article by: Mary Lou Peter,

K-State Research and Extension

Weekly update from

In case you missed the latest update, here are some of the highlights!

In the Cattle Marketscattle on prairie

June 15, 2015
“A Return to Normalcy”, by John Michael Riley, Mississippi State University.

Rain and Crop Insurance – Radio Interview 
June 17, 2015
Art Barnaby talks about the crop insurance options available to row crop growers who have either been prevented from planting or have had to re-plant because of the excessive wet weather the last few weeks….he stresses that it’s a very complicated matter that is best discussed in detail with one’s insurance agent.

Complicated Prevented Planting Rules
June 16, 2015
As a result rain, farmers have gone from drought-damaged crops to too wet to plant the crop. Art Barnaby notes that there are a large number of underwriting rules for prevented planting, so farmers need to call their agent if their soybeans are not planted by June 15, the final planting date in the northern tier of Kansas.

Featured Contributor20150205_terry_griffin_0005

Dr. Terry Griffin is the cropping systems economist specializing in big data and precision agriculture. Current projects include farm management decision-making under weather uncertainty, profitable irrigation, and farmland values. He developed methods to analyze site-specific yield monitor data from field-scale experiments using spatial statistical techniques. Terry is a charter member of the International Society of Precision Agriculture. He recently received the 2014 Pierre C. Robert International Precision Agriculture Young Scientist Award for his work in data utilization. He has also received the 2012 Conservation Systems Precision Ag Researcher of the Year and the 2010 PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence for Research.

Weekly AgManager.Info update

In case you missed the latest update, here are some of the highlights!

In the Cattle Markets

June 8, 2015
“Forward Contracting Calves”, by Matthew Diersen, South Dakota State University.

Farm Liquidity: KFMA – Radio Interview Kevin Herbel
June 10, 2015
KFMA administrator Kevin Herbel looks at farm and ranch liquidity measures from the Kansas Net Farm Income Report for 2014. Herbel talks about the cash flow situation that Kansas farmers and ranchers are now working with, and compares it with the past.

World Supply & Demand Estimates (WASDE)

June 10, 2015
USDA supply and demand estimates for corn, soybeans and wheat. Includes graphs of historical data and spreadsheets with raw data.

Dan PortraitGrain Outlook Radio Program 
June 12, 2015
Dan O’Brien sees some surprises coming out of the USDA’ grain production and World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates reports earlier this week, and how they influence his latest marketing-year grain price projections.

FEATURED CONTRIBUTORgregory_ibendahl_0005-20130716

Greg Ibendahl joined the faculty in fall 2012 as an associate professor of agricultural economics with a major appointment in extension. Prior to joining the K-State faculty, he served as an associate extension professor at Mississippi State University. His specialty areas are farm management and agricultural finance.

Weekly update from

In case you missed the latest update, here are some of the highlights!

Big Data In Agriculture Is Here To Stay (Video) 20150205_terry_griffin_0005

June 5, 2015

Terry Griffin comments on understanding and leveraging “Big Data”, calling it “the most elusive farm asset”.  Griffin is working on bringing big data techniques to the producers and gain efficiency in farming operations.

Dan Portrait

Grain Outlook Radio Program

 June 5, 2015

Dan O’Brien remarks on recent changes in the value of the dollar and the ensuing effect on grain price trends, and talks about his latest analysis of grain production costs and forward contract bids, as topics during his weekly grain market segment.

Robin Reid

2014 Kansas ARC-CO Estimated Payments – Interactive Map and Data  

June 4, 2015

Robin Reid and Terry Griffin provide estimates of 2014 ARC-CO payments for Kansas, in an interactive map format, with the ability to download the data if desired. These estimates are based on NASS yields and current MYA prices, which are subject to change.

Brian Briggeman


Brian C. Briggeman joined the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University in July 2011 as an Associate Professor and Director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center. His research interests include agricultural finance, agribusiness and cooperative management and macroeconomic implications for U.S. agriculture.

Weekly update from

In case you missed the latest update, here are some of the highlights!

2014 KFMA Farm Income Enterprise Reports
May 26, 2015 – The 2014 KFMA Farm Income Enterprise reports are out and Kevin Herbel and his KFMA associates provide income enterprise reports to your table.

This week on the Livestock Outlook Radio Program
May 26, 2015 – Derrel Peel of Oklahoma State University provides analysis of the cattle market, and reviews the latest USDA cattle-on-feed report.

Crop Basis Maps
May 28, 2015 – GIS maps show this week’s basis and deviation from 3 year average for corn, wheat, soybeans, and milo in the central plains.

Grain Outlook Radio Program:
May 29, 2015 – Dan O’Brien comments on why the grain markets haven’t reacted much to the ongoing wet weather in central and the southern plains as part of his weekly update.

Other highlights include
May 29, 2015 – Feature profile from Kansas Farm Management Association Administrator Kevin Herbel.  Herbel’s focus is helping farmers manage resources efficiently.  Herbel received his B.S. degree and Master’s from Kansas State University’s Agricultural Economics program.

K-State Spring 2015 Survey Indicates Lower Farmland Prices

Agricultural lenders are reporting decreased farmland values and increases in non-performing farm loans. According to the results of an Agricultural Lender Survey conducted by the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics in March, this is a continuation of a trend witnessed in the end-of-year survey conducted in 2014.

Allen Featherstone July 2014“For the first time since we began this survey, the majority of respondents thought land values declined,” said Allen Featherstone, professor and department head of the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics. Additionally, he mentioned that the long-term expectation also pointed to declines in land values.

Researchers pointed to uncertainty in the markets regarding interest rates and competition amongst the lenders as some of the long-term factors in the results, which still showed a strong credit market for producers. Lenders cited lower commodity prices, rising operating costs and the softening of cash rents. Combining these with a decrease in farmland prices created concern in the long-term financial health of the farming sector.

However, in reference to the increase in non-performing loans, Featherstone said he believes the market is just cycling back to a normal state. The study indicated a stronger market of loan availability in the agricultural market, which would benefit producers in the future. Research shows that bankers are still interested in agricultural investments, but experts say the farmers are going to have to show a strong investment plan.

“Producers are going to encounter cautious lenders,” Featherstone said. “Farmers will have to be well-prepared and document plans going forward to continue to access credit at good rates.”

The Agricultural Lender Survey included 39 lending institution responses. Lenders in the survey considered five key areas: farm loan interest rates, spread over cost of funds, farm loan volumes, non-performing loan volumes and agricultural land values.

Various K-State Department of Agricultural Economics researchers developed and conducted the survey, including Brady Brewer, recent doctoral graduate; Brian Briggeman, associate professor and director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center; Allen Featherstone; and Christine Wilson, professor.

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

This news release from K-State Research and Extension is posted at

For more information:
Allen Featherstone – or 785-532-4441

Kansas net farm income slipped further in 2014

Lower crop prices weighed on farmers’ bottom line

Lower prices paid to farmers for their crops in 2014 pulled average net farm income in Kansas below previous year levels and well below the five-year average, according to the Kansas Farm Management Association.

Net farm income across 1,175 KFMA member farms averaged $122,190, down from $140,356 the previous year and below the five-year average of $149,114, KFMA’s annual PROFITLINK Analysis showed. An executive summary of the report is available online at

“Average net farm income for the state was down about $18,000 in 2014 compared with 2013,” said Kevin Herbel, KFMA program administrator, adding that most of the pressure came from lower crop prices.

kfma_Feb14map_KSKFMA divides the state into six regions. Net income last year was down in four of the six regions while southeast Kansas and northwest Kansas farms had higher income than the previous year.  South central Kansas farms had the lowest at $52,996, a sharp drop from $151,464 a year earlier. Southeast Kansas farms had the highest net income last year at $183,899.

Not all Kansas farms are KFMA members, but the annual report is a barometer of financial conditions for producers, especially when comparing one year to the next, Herbel said.

While crop prices were down in 2014, livestock prices were higher, which aided producers who raise cattle, particularly.

One state, different regions

“Historically, whatever the wheat crop does, that’s how the KFMA numbers move,” said Bryan Manny, KFMA economist in south central Kansas, where the average farm income was the lowest. “Last year the average wheat yield (in south central) was about 26 bushels per acre, whereas in 2013, the average yield was 47 bushels per acre. Last year’s yield was the lowest since 2007 when there was a late freeze and the average yield was 14.6 bushels per acre.”KFMA_4-17-2014

Despite the slide, most producers are weathering the storm well, Manny said of farmers in his area. Over the last few years, some producers have shifted some of their acres to crops other than wheat and the rains in June and July last year helped those spring-planted crops.

“Farmers are also not spending a lot on equipment right now,” he added.

Average net farm income in northeast Kansas last year tallied $149,476, not much change from the previous year of $160,350, said Clay Simons, a KFMA economist in that area.

“Primarily, producers had tremendous yields in the face of lower prices which helped,” Simons said, adding that some cattle producers in northeast Kansas received Livestock Forage Disaster payments ( because of drought conditions. Those payments, along with historically high cattle prices provided a boost last year.

“The average (cattle) farm in northeast Kansas received $29,010 in forage loss payments,” Simons said. “That was a nice economic shot in the arm for them.”

Despite the relatively strong net farm income last year in northeast Kansas, however, producers know things can change and are being cautious, he said.

“Corn with a $3 (price) in front of it is certainly different than with a $6 or $7 in front of it,” he added, noting that fertilizer and other input prices, as well as rent and land prices, have not dropped in tandem with crop prices.

The average price paid to U.S. farmers for their corn in the 2013-2014 marketing year was $4.46 per bushel, down from $6.89 the previous year. USDA projects the 2014-2015 average price to dip even further, to $3.55 to $3.75 per bushel.

“We (northeast Kansas) had a nice buffer with yields and livestock prices last year but we can’t count on that forever,” Simons said, adding that most producers have been prudent with their finances and that balance sheets are generally in good shape.

Dave Rempe, KFMA economist in north central Kansas said that area did not have a great wheat crop in 2014, where average net farm income slipped to $102,508 from $137,633 the previous year. “That, along with feedgrain commodity prices were the reasons we were down. We would have been down more if not for the livestock prices. Fortunately that helped our income.”

Despite lower income in 2014, $102,508 was a good year considering the size farms in that part of the state, Rempe said.

“Our farms are in really good shape to weather this storm financially,” he said. “We’ve seen this coming. People are cautious. A lot of economic activity, such as equipment purchases, has slowed as people are anticipating a drop in income. There’s a chance we’ll see deterioration of our balance sheets, but we’re going into it in a very strong position.”

Net income by operation

The KFMA member data for 2014 also showed:

  • The value of production across Kansas farms came in at an average of $613,243, down from both $631,437 a year earlier and $639,282 two years earlier. The 2014 number was, however, above the five-year average of $606,792.
  • Net income for dryland crop producers averaged $91,811, down from $161,069 in 2013.
  • Net income for producers who irrigate averaged $118,608, down from $125,628 in 2013.
  • Average net income for 36 producers whose operations are primarily cow herds jumped to $177,047 from $92,612 a year earlier.
  • Net income for producers who grow crops and have a cow herd averaged $155,677 compared with $73,005 the previous year.
  • Net income for the 19 KFMA member producers who grow crops and background calves averaged $321,206, sharply higher than a year earlier at $71,719.

For more information:

Kevin Herbel, KFMA program administrator – 785-532-8706 or

Story by: Mary Lou Peter,

K-State Research and Extension,


K-State Alumni Association honors two agricultural economics graduates

Youwei Yang

Youwei Yang

Students who demonstrate strong leadership were nominated by professors to be honored at the International Graduation Celebration on May 1 for outstanding international leadership, and on May 5 at the Multicultural Graduation Celebration for excellence in multicultural leadership.
Youwei Yang (pictured left), Baiyin City, China, earned the inaugural International Leadership Award. Yang was one of four students to receive this award at the International Graduate Celebration. During his time at K-State, Yang has been a student ambassador for K-State Libraries, as well as the Student Governing Association International Affairs Director. Winners of this award not only demonstrate strong leadership but also excellence in academic achievements.

Justine Floyd

Justine Floyd

Justine Floyd (pictured right), Wichita, received the Multicultural Leadership Award. Floyd was one of four graduates to receive this award for outstanding achievement and leadership during her time here at K-State. Floyd served as the Head Delegate for the Black Student Union, and as a member of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science.
The Alumni Association honored a total of eight K-State graduates for excellence in leadership and achievement within multicultural and international organizations and communities during their time as a student.

Read more about the K-State Alumni Association Multicultural and International awards.

Original article by Tim Schrag, Kansas State University


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