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Department of Agricultural Economics

E-Newsletter Archives

Use the following links to jump to a specific issue of these archives.

Spring 2014
December 2013

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Spring 2015 E-Newsletter

View this E-Newsletter as a PDF or the E-Mail version.

A Note from the Desk of Allen Featherstone

New Faculty Members
Terry Griffin
Elizabeth Yeager

Undergraduate Student News
Justine Floyd Recognized for Enhancing Multiculturalism and Diversity on Campus
Halli Wigger Earns Delegate's Choice Award at the 55th MMUN Conference
New College of Agriculture Ambassadors Include Eight from Department of Agricultural Economics
Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Club News
NAMA Chapter News

Graduate Student News
Department Hosts Three Zamorano Interns
Graduate Student Achievements
GSAE Club Update

Faculty News
Nathan Hendricks Earns Emerging Scholar Award from SAEA
Bryan Schurle Receives Mugler Award
Christine Wilson Completes FSLI Program
Christine Wilson Named Faculty of the Semester
Amanor-Boadu and Dalton Earn Promotions
Grants Announced to Support Economic Growth for Rural Communities

Alumni News
Corey Fortin
John Niemann

Josh Roe
Wayne Stoskopf
Matt Wolters
Jake Worcester

Department News
K-State Farm Bill Team Reaches More Than 4,000 Kansans
Program of the ACCC Celebrates 20-year Milestone
Master of Agribusiness Program Event: Risky Business!
This Year’s Risk and Profit Conference to Focus on Drought

Save the Date for the Scholarship & Tailgate Weekend: September 18 & 19

Foundation Update: Q&A with Fred Delano

Upcoming Events

Other Articles of Interest By or About our Agricultural Economics Faculty, Alumni and Students


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A Note from the Desk of Allen Featherstone

As we fly through April, we are preparing to send an outstanding class of students to the “real world”. This spring has brought continued success to our department. Our undergraduate students have a 98 percent employment rate with an average starting salary of nearly $45,000 for our department.

allenPart of this success is due to our department’s dedicated supporters and alumni. As tuition increases, and our state support remains level in nominal terms, your continued commitment is even more essential and appreciated to continue our department’s success and ranking at the top among other agricultural economics departments in the country.

In September, we will honor a new distinguished alumni member to recognize at our annual scholarship and awards banquet.  We hope you will join us for the scholarship banquet Friday, September 18 and at the tailgate event in Cat Town before the Football game September 19 against Louisiana Tech.

Our faculty continue earn academic and research honors among their peers at the University and national level.  In this newsletter you will learn about honors received by Nathan Hendricks, Bryan Schurle, Christine Wilson, Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Tim Dalton, and several others receiving USDA grant dollars to support economic growth in rural communities.  

Our students are competing for and receiving national, university and college awards.  This year’s new College of Agriculture Ambassador’s include eight of our department’s students.  Justine Floyd is recognized for her outstanding efforts for leading multiculturalism and diversity on campus. Halli Wigger earned conference recognition and the 55th Midwest Model United Nations Conference.

Other highlights include an introduction to new faculty members Terry Griffin and Beth Yeager, updates from our graduate students, alumni, department programs, events, many alumni updates, department programs, events, and more!

Please take time to learn more about the activities of our department. We also encourage you to share your career and family developments so we can keep your fellow alumni informed. Please email me at afeather@ksu.edu or Amanda Erichsen, our communication coordinator, at aerichsen@ksu.edu with information you would like to share with your fellow alumni.

Go Cats!

Dr. Allen Featherstone,

Department Head, Professor, Master of Agribusiness Program Director

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New Faculty Members

Terry Griffin

He’s seen his share of the Midwest by growing up in Arkansas, working at the University of Illinois and studying for his doctorate in Indiana. Now, Terry Griffin has joined the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics as an assistant professor and cropping systems economist.

tgriffinGriffin’s new position entails 80 percent extension work and 20 percent research in cropping systems economics and precision agriculture. With these responsibilities, he is looking forward to working with the Kansas Ag Research and Technology Association, a group that strives to keep up with and share trends in production agriculture. Griffin is interested in technology and is excited to see how it can combat the unique agricultural problems Kansas farmers deal with.

Griffin will also represent the department on the precision agriculture multidisciplinary team. “K-State is now one of the few (maybe only) universities with a truly interdisciplinary team devoted to precision agriculture,"Griffin said. "There are many issues with precision agriculture and big data that need to be addressed in Kansas as well as across the United States. One enticing aspect of K-State was the existing interdisciplinary precision agriculture team including the Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy departments.”

K-State caught Griffin’s attention because he was looking for a top-ranked department at a university that excels at interacting with agricultural clientele. The balance of research and extension mixed with the opportunity to work with graduate students also contributed to his decision to be a Wildcat. Griffin is excited to be joining the K-State family.

“I’ve been away from the departmental culture for nearly a decade; and look forward to hallway conversations with some of the best minds in agriculture and attending Brown Bag seminars to learn fresh perspectives. Essentially I am excited to be in an ‘iron sharpens iron’ environment again.”

Manhattan has already been a great experience for the Griffin family. Ty, 12, Austin, 9, and Briley, 7, love the KSU Chess Club events. Terry and his wife, Dana, appreciate the accessibility of Manhattan businesses and attractions.

Griffin grew up in Greene County, Arkansas, near Paragould. Both his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and master’s degree in agricultural economics came from the University of Arkansas. Following these degrees, he worked as a regional economist for University of Illinois Extension. He then received a doctorate in agricultural economics, with a specialty in farm management and spatial econometrics, from Purdue University. After his doctorate, Griffin went back home to Arkansas as a cropping extension economist at the University of Arkansas before joining the private sector at Cresco Ag.

Elizabeth Yeager

A familiar face will be seen re-circulating the hallways, although this time as part of the Department of Agricultural Economics faculty, rather than as a student. Elizabeth Yeager, a department alumna, joined the faculty as an assistant professor in January.

eyeagerYeager’s appointment is 60 percent teaching and 40 percent research, two areas she is highly anticipating. She is excited about collaborating with graduate students and faculty on research projects and teaching Farm and Ranch Management.

“I am most looking forward to teaching AGEC 308 Farm and Ranch Management in the fall,” Yeager said. “We have a large population of students from Kansas and many that maintain an active role in their family’s farm or ranch or hope to work in the agricultural industry in the future. This course provides a great foundation for our students in this area. It is also an area I am interested in from a research standpoint as well.”

Yeager’s research goals include working with the Kansas Farm Management Association research data on farm efficiency and risk management, and studying student classroom performance and extra-curricular activity effects on success.

K-State was a clear choice for Yeager and her fiancé, Eric. Both consider K-State home. Yeager received her bachelor’s degree from K-State in agricultural economics with an emphasis in farm management and a minor in animal science. She continued her K-State education, receiving her doctorate in agricultural economics.

The department attracted her because of its strong history in research and quality teaching in farm management, production and finance; all subjects Yeager specialized in for her doctorate and still finds to be valuable in Kansas.

“Now is also an exciting time for the department as we are hiring a number of faculty positions to replace key faculty retirements,” Yeager said. “This really provided me with an opportunity to showcase my teaching and research efforts and make a strong impact right away.”

Prior to K-State, Yeager was an assistant professor at Purdue University for three years, where she taught agribusiness marketing and research method courses. She advised the Purdue National Agri-Marketing Association and was the honors coordinator for Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics. Yeager partnered with both the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and the Center for Commercial Agricultural at Purdue University on the large commercial producer survey and a risk management initiative sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance.

Yeager is originally from Cottonwood Falls in Chase County. Much of her family still lives in that area, where her grandparents are active in the livestock industry.

“Eric and I are excited to be back in Manhattan, Kansas, where we first met,” Yeager said of moving back. “I love the pride the community has for the university. It is a wonderful city with a small town feel.”

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Undergraduate Student News

Justine Floyd Recognized for Enhancing Multiculturalism and Diversity on Campus

Justine Floyd, senior in agribusiness, received the Commerce Bank Presidential Student Award for Distinguished Services in Enhancing Multiculturalism at Kansas State University.

Zelia Wiley, assistant dean of diversity and director of diversity programs in the College of Agriculture, nominated Justine for the award, which was established in 1997 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to diversity enhancement.

“I nominated her because of her academic excellence and compassion for social justice for all,” Wiley said.

jfloyd1Following the nomination, Floyd presented for 10 minutes on the subject of Multicultural Student Organizations (MSOs) bridging and bonding on K-State’s campus to a selection committee consisting of at least 10 K-State faculty and student leaders. Following her presentation were 10 minutes of Q & A from the selection committee. To demonstrate how MSOs bridge and bond, Floyd spoke to the recruitment, retention and graduation of multicultural students as a result of being members and leaders of various MSOs such as the Black Student Union (BSU), Asian American Student Union (AASU), Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) and many more. For many multicultural students, their first college experience is Multicultural Academic Program Success (MAPS). This is a 6-week academic and professional developmental program for high school graduates attending K-State in the fall in the Colleges of Agriculture, Business, and Engineering. Because of this, Floyd suggested that MAPS was the first step on the bridge, followed by joining MSOs and by finally receiving their mortarboard and graduating. Thus, the theme, “From MAPS to Mortar Board.”

 “Justine has demonstrated exceptional character, leadership, and service toward the enhancement of multiculturalism and diversity in the Department of Agricultural Economics, the College of Agriculture, and Kansas State University,” said Andrew Barkley, agricultural economics professor and Floyd’s advisor. “Justine is dedicated to the service of others, an outstanding role model and mentor to other students, and a true pleasure to work with and be around.” 

jfloyd2A reception honored Floyd after the committee selected her for the award; the reception video can be viewed here. Floyd gave a second presentation at the ceremony to talk about the importance of multiculturalism and diversity and how the two subjects, though different, work together.

“Being a student leader at Kansas State has taught me to understand and value the difference between diversity and multiculturalism. More importantly, it has taught me that when you pair the two, there lies great potential for success,” Floyd said in her speech. “I believe that multiculturalism and diversity are a dynamic duo that have been and will continue to be the framework by which students on this campus find themselves.”

She gave thanks to Commerce Bank for their support of K-State’s diversity initiatives; her parents, Tarrance and Jacqueline; Bryon Williams, assistant director of undergraduate admissions; Zelia Wiley; Andrew Barkley; Brandon Clark, program assistant in the office of diversity; and Myra Gordon, associate provost in the office of diversity.

Floyd was joined at the reception by her parents, friends, various department representatives, members of the Black Student Union, and advisors and members of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). A representative from Commerce Bank and Pat Bosco, Dean of Student Life, also attended.

jfloyd3“It has been a pleasure having Justine as a student in our college and most specifically as a student in the K-State MANRRS chapter,” Wiley said. “She takes pride in her personal demeanor and takes responsibility for actions. I witnessed her growth both personally and academically. I am very proud she will become a graduate of our college and represent the diversity programs office.”

“I felt really honored and I felt overwhelmed. I feel like I won an award for something I actually care about... It wasn’t so much academic as it was social activities. It felt like I was actually making a difference,” Floyd said.

She described the process of receiving the award as fun and challenging. In May, Floyd will be the third African-American to receive a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness from the Department of Agricultural Economics. She has also been a communications assistant for the department since June 2014. 

Top right picture: Floyd spoke about the dynamic duo of multiculturalism and diversity during her speech at the award ceremony. Second picture: Department representatives Arlo Biere, professor emeritus, Jeff Williams, professor, and Cherie Hodgson, academic coordinator, were on hand to congratulate Floyd at the award ceremony. Bottom right picture: Barkley, Department Head Allen Featherstone and Wiley joined Floyd at her award ceremony.


Halli Wigger Earns Delegate’s Choice Award at 55th MMUN Conference

One Kansas State University student brought home outstanding recognition from the 55th Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference. Halli Wigger, freshman in agricultural economics from Troy, Kansas, earned the delegate’s choice award at the conference, which is an all-collegiate event where students work with pressing international issues.

hwiggerOther students at the conference selected Wigger for the award based on her representation of Cuba on the International Fund for Agricultural Development committee, which comprised student representatives of United Nations countries from around the world.

“I was very pleased to have won an award considering all the time and effort that I put into it,” Wigger said. “It was very rewarding to have that kind of payoff, especially at my first conference.”

Wigger brought the committee together and led the organization of ideas to compose policy based on the specific topics—hunger, food, and nutrition security in post-2015 development framework and the international year of family farming. The students chose to implement education and trade programs, improve technology at the production level and advocate rural farming to support the topics.

The group attended sessions up to 12 hours per day to discuss the topics and draft the policy, which Wigger typed and submitted it for her committee, then made the necessary corrections. The policy was then presented at a plenary session.

When Wigger told Taylor Bates, a student in political science, about her interest in international agriculture, Bates introduced her to MMUN. The conference provides a hands-on perspective of world politics to broaden student awareness. Because they represent a country’s delegation, the students experience the complexities of international relations.

Wigger went with 22 other K-State students to the conference, which was Feb. 18-22 in St. Louis. She was one of a few agriculture students in attendance at the conference among political science and pre-law students from 37 colleges in the Midwest.

She recommends that anyone interested in international agriculture or business should register for the conference because it is a great way to get experience in these areas. Learn more about the conference.

Wigger has already paved a path to success in her first year at K-State. She joined the College of Agriculture Ambassador team in February and is a member of K-State’s National Agri-Marketing Association team and National Society for Collegiate Scholars. She is also in Sigma Alpha, the professional agricultural sorority.

Wigger aspires to join the Peace Corps or work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture so she can reach out to developing countries and help improve rural agriculture strategies.

New College of Agriculture Ambassadors Include Eight Students from Department of Agricultural Economics

On February 24, 2015, 34 Kansas State University College of Agriculture students joined the ambassador team. Newly selected department students serving as ambassadors are Nolan Allison, Eureka; Coleman Forst, Marysville; Abigail Horn, McCoy, Colorado; Anna Setter, Humboldt; Kristin Stiebe, Kinsley; Halli Wigger, Troy; and Youwei Yang, China; and Rachel Zimmerman, Ulysses.


The ambassador team aids in recruitment of prospective students and will represent the College of Agriculture at various events throughout the year. More than 800 prospective students are anticipated to visit the college this year to tour campus, sit in on classes and hear personal K-State stories from the ambassadors.

Student ambassadors are key to attracting prospective students to the college because the ambassadors have relevant testimonials from the different classes and activities in any of the 16 College of Agriculture majors. The ambassadors also represent the college when speaking with alumni and other stakeholders.

“The ambassadors are the ones that are experiencing college,” said Cherie Hodgson, agricultural economics academic coordinator. “They are the ones that are in the clubs and organizations. They are in the classroom and they experience the environment so they are our best representatives.”

A prerequisite to the application process involves passing the 8-week College of Agriculture Training program aimed at teaching the students about the college’s departments and programs. The application process included a written application and a simulation of a situation students would potentially face as ambassadors followed by an interview.

Currently, the department is home to 26 of the 94 ambassadors. Hodgson attributes much of this participation to the personality of the students.

“Leadership is something that we promote in the department,” Hodgson said. “Think about it in the job market. They are going to be managers and presidents of organizations. They like the interaction with people, they see the value in leadership and they want to develop those leadership, management and communication skills because they’re going to need those in the workplace.”

Hodgson also sees a lot of value in the ambassador program because of how it benefits the students. She says they learn more about the college and have more opportunities to connect and interact with students, faculty and staff on campus as well as alumni and industry professionals. They practice time management and communication skills while coordinating activities and events.

More information about the ambassadors is available at http://www.ag.k-state.edu/current-students/clubs-and-activities/ag-ambassadors/.

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Club News

The Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Club’s current officers are

Michael Porter, president;
Nick Wineinger, vice president;
Cody O’Brien, secretary;
Shannon Maxwell, treasurer;
Casey Thyer and Nathan Smart, membership co-chairs;
Bryan Otott and Lucas Sudbeck, social co-chairs; and
Ryan Goetzmann, Ag Council representative.

bakesaleThe club advisors are Alex Shanoyan, assistant professor, and Keith Harris, professor.

From April 30 to May 2, the club will take a spring trip to visit Gavilon and John Deere. These events encourage interaction with fellow students, department faculty and staff, and industry leaders.

NAMA Chapter News

The Kansas State University National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) is an organization dedicated to the professional development of its members.

The club meets twice per month to discuss marketing tactics as well as help members prepare for their future careers. There is also a team that develops a marketing plan for a new agricultural product selected in the fall. The marketing plan is presented in the Student Marketing Competition at the national NAMA conference in April.

nama1The club received a portion of the USDA Rural Development Grant called “Project 17”. This semester they made the main focus of the club to reach out to the 17 poorest counties in Kansas by helping different small businesses make effective marketing plans for their products.  The club joined forces in this endeavor with the Pi Sigma Epsilon Marketing Club from the College of Business. While this is a great opportunity for the companies, it is also provides real-world marketing experience for KSU NAMA! Past experiences preparing and exhibiting in the NAMA Marketing Competition gave them a “leg up” as they strive to design effective marking plans for these companies.

namaThis year’s NAMA competition was held April 14-16, so the team was very busy getting their marketing plan ready this semester. This year’s team made it to semi-finals in competition.  The department’s faculty and staff are very proud of their efforts.  Please follow the club on Twitter @KansasStateNAMA and “Like” them on Facebook at K-State NAMA to keep up with all that they are doing!

Top right: NAMA team members have fun while working on Project 17. Bottom right: NAMA president, Marie Annexstad, leads discussion on the 2015 SafeNut Butter marketing plan. 

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Graduate Student News

Department Hosts Three Zamorano Interns

Zamorano University, located just outside of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is 2,500 miles from Kansas State University, equivalent to 47 hours by car or 11 hours by plane. For graduate interns Ricardo Auz, Ecuador; Lauren Benavidez, Nicaragua; and Paul Leiva, Honduras; the trip to Kansas has been well worth it.

zamoranoThe students’ internships are part of a partnership between K-State and Zamorano. Many Zamorano alumni have spent time in K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics. The interns enroll in classes and work with professors on research projects.

“I think this is a good experience for us and also it opens doors to future interns from Zamorano to have the same experience,” Benavidez said. “Also, working with grad students is good because they provide us with advice about how we can get a master’s degree or how we can be better in some areas.”

All three students share a course schedule that includes AGEC 599, Food and Agribusiness Management Strategy with Aleksan Shanoyan, assistant professor; and AGEC 712, Optimization Techniques in Agricultural Economics, with Jason Bergtold, associate professor. Shanoyan’s class is a requirement for the students, however Bergtold’s class was chosen based on interests and recommendations from former Zamorano interns.

Auz, whose interests are in stop markets, works with Christine Wilson, professor, to update research about stop markets for some companies in the food industry.

Benavidez studies international trade with Tian Xia, associate professor, looking specifically at exports of hard red winter wheat to Asia and how the Asian culture uses the exported wheat.

Leiva, who is interested in studying production economics at K-State, researches geographic information systems to study the distance from farms to ethanol plants in Kansas with Mykel Taylor, assistant professor, and Allen Featherstone, department head and professor.

The school system at Zamorano is set on a strict schedule of five classes in the morning followed by a specific lunch hour and work experience in the afternoon, whether it be in the fields, beef unit or elsewhere. The school provides the students with food and uniforms with laundry services so that the university serves as its own community. The students agree that despite the tight schedule at Zamorano, studying is much more time consuming at K-State.

Auz says the classes here take more focus, especially with the language difference. The emphasis on graduate student research at K-State rather than the emphasis on work experience at Zamorano also makes a big difference for the students because it presents a different type of learning opportunity.

“In my case, I studied in my same country,” Leiva said. “I had been to the U.S. before but never for so long, so for me it’s like a new experience to be with other people, other cultures and live in another country in a really different way from how I would live in my country. It has been really helpful and I have learned lots of things.”

Both Auz and Benavidez said that responsibility is one of the biggest lessons they have gotten out of studying here at K-State. Auz said that in addition, timeliness had been a big adjustment for him because arriving early is not a custom in South America. Benavidez added that she has learned the importance of patience in reviewing long lists of data to compile her weekly reports.

The students found many differences in the communities as well. Coming from the closed Zamorano community to a community 50 times larger, the students have seen more opportunities for interaction, especially with the graduate students. They have spent time with the Graduate Students in Agricultural Economics for breakfast club meetings, bowling and brown bag lunch sessions. They also interacted with other Zamorano alumni on campus.

The students have had a great time at K-State so far. All echoed that the K-State community is definitely like a family, and that they would recommend the program to other Zamorano students.

“K-State should maintain this program because it is so helpful for us and it is a good opportunity for us,” Auz said. “The people here are so kind.”

Top right picture: Ricardo Auz, Lauren Benavidez and Paul Leiva (L to R) call Waters Hall home this semester during their graduate student internship, which is possible through a partnership between K-State and Zamorano University.

 Graduate Student Achievements

Awards and Honors

  • Veronica Pozo – Outstanding Dissertation Award of 2014.  “Effects of Meat and Poultry Recalls on Firms’ Stock Prices.”  Major Professor:  Ted Schroeder.  2015.
  • Claire (Luensmann) Hilscher – Outstanding Thesis Award of 2014.  “Implied Volatility Spillover in Agricultural and Energy Markets.”  Major Professor:  Ted Schroeder.  2015.
  • Hannah Miller – National Society of Accountants, Coops Silver Pen Award.
  • Melissa Lynes – Richard Elmore Brown Outstanding College of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching Award

Jobs taken by recent graduates in 2014 and 2015

  • Graciela Andrango – National Institute of Agricultural and Livestock Research of Ecuador, Coordinator of the Agricultural Economics R&D Team.
  • Brady Brewer – University of Georgia, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. 
  • William Callis – Topcon Precision Agriculture, Business Development Analytics Specialists.
  • Elizabeth Canales – Roll Global, Strategy Consultant.
  • Michelle Estes – Smithfield Farmland, Associate Category Planner.
  • Garrett Lister – Innovative Livestock Solutions in Kansas, Risk Management Trainee.
  • Claire (Luensmann) Hilscher – Cargill, Feed Associate.
  • Hannah Miller – Dow AgroSciences, Sales Trainee.
  • Cooper Morris –  Rabo AgriFinance in Kansas, Credit/Relationship Analyst.
  • Veronica Pozo – Utah State University Departmentof Applied Economics.
  • Brian Sancewich – University of Florida, Postdoctoral.
  • Dustin Shearer – Gordon L. Brown & Associates Inc. in Pennsylvania, Engineering Trainee.

GSAE Club News

Graduate Students in Agricultural Economics (GSAE) is an organization which promotes the academic, professional and social interests of all graduate students majoring in agricultural economics at Kansas State University.

The organization consists of more than 30 active members who meet once a month to discuss development opportunities, plan social events and establish professional relationships.  In addition to monthly meetings, the GSAE hosts bi-weekly social events, monthly breakfast socials with the Agricultural Economics faculty and staff and hosts brown bag seminars. 

gsaeEach year, GSAE members compete in numerous professional competitions. This year there are two teams from GSAE competing in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s (IFAMA) case study competition in June in Minneapolis.  At the Applied and Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) and Western Agricultural Economics Association (WAEA) joint conference in July in San Francisco, students will participate in the case study and extension competitions and present their research papers and posters.  Throughout the year, the members present at other professional and K-State events such as the Risk and Profit Conference. 

GSAE strives to not only create a community amongst our graduate students but to also develop members’ ability to apply economic knowledge and skills to real world agricultural issues.

Please visit the NEW website to learn more about club events, research and awards. Follow GSAE on Facebook at /ksugsae

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Faculty News

 Nathan Hendricks Earns Emerging Scholar Award from SAEA

The Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) awarded Nathan Hendricks, assistant professor in K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, the Emerging Scholar award for 2015.

nhendricksThe award is granted to high-performing, early-career professionals who have had their terminal degree for less than seven years. The department’s faculty nominated Hendricks and he was selected based on his qualifications, presentation proposal and curriculum vitae sent in with his nomination.

Winners are invited to give an empirical or conceptual presentation in a symposia session at the SAEA annual meeting, which was Feb. 1- 4 in Atlanta this year. Presentations address issues on the frontier of knowledge in either research, extension or instruction.  Winners are then recognized at the SAEA business meeting, which is in conjunction with the annual meeting, and receive a $250 honorarium.

Bryan Schurle 

Bryan Schurle was announced as this semester’s recipient of the Mugler Outstanding Teaching Award.

Christine Wilson: Completion of Food Systems Leadership Institute through the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities honored Christine Wilson, professor in agricultural economics, for completing the Food Systems Leadership Institute’s (FSLI) Executive Leadership Development Program along with the 21 other fellows in her institute cohort.

cwilsonThe FSLI is a 2-year program of the APLU designed for experienced leaders in academia, government, and industry. Through a dynamic curriculum that includes three executive style residential sessions, individual coaching, mentoring, and personal projects, the FSLI seeks to enhance personal leadership ability, develop skills and knowledge for organizational change, and broaden perspectives on integrated food systems. 

“The FSLI was a tremendous professional development and growth opportunity for me.  It has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career,” Wilson said. 

FSLI is in partnership with North Carolina State University, Ohio State University and California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo. Financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation helped establish FSLI in 2006.

Learn more about FSLI. For a full list of the fellows recognized at the meeting, visit http://www.fsli.org/fellows.html#cohort-8.

 Christine Wilson

Christine Wilson was announced as this semester’s recipient of the College of Agriculture Faculty of the Semester for Spring 2015.

  Agricultural Economics Faculty Earn Promotions

Kansas State University faculty promotions include 30 faculty members to the rank of associate professor with tenure, 31 faculty members to the rank of full professor, one faculty member to the rank of clinical associate professor and two faculty members were granted tenure. Two of these campus promotions were awarded to department faculty. Promotions and tenure go into effect at the beginning of the 2015 fiscal year on June 8.

President Kirk Schulz and Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason will congratulate all newly tenured and promoted faculty members at a reception this spring.

"Each of our new tenured and promoted faculty members have made significant contributions through their teaching, scholarly endeavors and service to their departments and colleges, as well as to the university, and we celebrate these outstanding achievements with them," Mason said.

tdaltonboaduEarning promotion to full professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics are Vincent Amanor-Boadu and Tim Dalton. Amanor-Boadu began in this department in 2002 as a visiting scholar.  He specializes in agribusiness, business development and entrepreneurship. Dalton began in this department in 2008.  He is currently the Director for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet.  His areas of specialization are international economic development and agricultural production.

Grants Announced to Support Economic Growth for Rural Communities

Kansas State Agricultural Economics faculty Receives $2.5 Million with Five Projects

Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is expected to assist communities and regions in creating self-sustaining, long-term economic development through research and strategic planning.

Nearly $14 million in grants was awarded. Three agricultural economists at Kansas State University and a fourth at Purdue University who will join the K-State department later this year, received more than $2.5 million of those grant dollars to promote rural community development, economic growth and sustainability.

“These awards will allow our department to conduct research that can impact and improve the lives of rural Kansans,” said Allen Featherstone, professor and head of the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics. “The research areas of water management, voting and buying behavior, international trade and global climate variability, and value-based supply chain production on farms have various impacts to our Kansas farmers and rural citizens. We want this research to impact their livelihood and rural communities in a way that makes them sustainable and continuously moving forward.”

The projects for Kansas State, each totaling around $500,000, include:

Aquifer depletion and water management

Chatura AriyaradneThe project director for this grant is Chatura B. Ariyaratne, research assistant professor. He will study how the reduced availability of irrigation water and rising pumping costs due to groundwater depletion make management decisions more critical for the sustainability of agriculture.

“The economies of large regions such as the Great Plains are dependent on groundwater availability, making aquifer depletion a much-discussed policy and research issue,” Ariyaratne said. “Greater volatility in crop and energy prices has added more uncertainty to farmers' cropping and irrigation decisions.”

This project focuses on the role of changing prices, technology, and climate on aquifer depletion, and the performance and impacts of different water management policies in the face of these uncertain trends.

Other co-project directors from K-State’s agricultural economics department include Jeffery Peterson, Nicolas Quintana Ashwell, Nathan Hendricks, Brian Briggeman and Bill Golden. Bridget Guerrero is a collaborator on the project.

Voting and buying behavior

Glynn TonsorAccording to Glynn Tonsor, agricultural economist with K-State Research and Extension and project director for this award, the U.S. public increasingly sends mixed signals in their voting and buying behaviors resulting in 'unfunded mandates' that significantly add complexity to society's challenges of feeding a growing population.

“The consumers’ mixed signals are providing a knowledge gap among our industry leaders and decision-makers,” Tonsor said. “This limits informed decision-making when it comes to key decisions in the agricultural industry that make a difference in how we are feeding our growing population.”

The long-term goal of this project is to substantially increase understanding of the existence, drivers, and implications of differences in voting behavior and consumer food buying behavior.

Co-project directors for this award are Kathleen Brooks and Bailey Norwood.

Understanding and forecasting changes in consumer demand for disaggregated meat products

According to Glynn Tonsor, co-project director for this award, there is an increasing need to better understand changing consumer preferences for meat products. To date, most consumer research either uses very aggregated, nationally representative data or involves surveys at a single point in time that convey a "snap shot." This research will further develop and build upon existing consumer tracking surveys.

Tonsor will work with collaborators at Oklahoma State University to assess how stable consumer preferences are when assessed in regular nationwide monthly surveys and compared to other more commonly available data and information sets. This research ultimately will provide more accurate and timelier information on key issues regarding consumer food preference and lead to better decisions among producers and policy makers.

Jayson Lusk is the project director for this award.

The role of international trade in adapting U.S. agriculture to increased global climate variability

Nelson VilloriaNelson B. Villoria, an agricultural economist at Purdue University who will join the K-State faculty later this year, was awarded monies to study how more frequent extreme weather events are expected to increase the volatility of U.S. crop yields and the income stability of agricultural sectors.

“Global trade is an important source for stabilizing markets. Our study hypothesizes that climate shocks simultaneously affecting the U.S. and other global regions during a given marketing year reduce the ability of the trade system to mitigate shortages resulting in sudden sharp price changes,” he said. “Our study seeks to understand how stockholding and international trade can help adapt U.S. agriculture to a changing climate, particularly to disruptions associated with increased variability.”

Co-project directors for this award are from Purdue University. They include Thomas Hertel, Dev Niyogi, Paul Preckel and Hao Zhang.

Impacts of values-based supply chains on farms

Hikaru PetersonHikaru Hanawa Peterson, project director of this grant and K-State agricultural economics professor, will study the impacts of values-based supply chains (VBSCs) on small- to medium-sized farms.

“These supply chain alliances are distinguished by two sets of values: one based on product attributes and the other based on shared ethics among participants in the chain,” Peterson said. “While there is a growing understanding of the organizational dimensions of VBSCs, very little has been documented to date about their extent or characteristics and the actual impacts for farmers.”

Researchers will work to better understand, evaluate, and improve the performance of VBSCs as profitable outlets for diverse, small and medium-sized farms. “The project outcomes include new opportunities for farms and VBSCs to build farm profitability, expand access to healthy foods for communities, and contribute to the development of more environmentally sustainable and equitable regional agrifood systems,” Peterson said.

Co-project directors for this grant include Gail FeenstraMarcy Ostrom and Keiko Tanaka.

NIFA made the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's (AFRI) Foundational Program, which supports projects that sustain and enhance agricultural and related activities in rural areas and to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and alleviate poverty. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

A fact sheet with a complete list of awardees and project descriptions is available on the USDA website.

Story by | Elaine Edwards, K-State Research and Extensionelainee@ksu.edu

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Alumni News 

Corey Fortin

Corey Fortin, 2006 graduate, received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Young Alumni award for 2015.

cfortinFortin is a commissioned officer of the U.S. Foreign Service with the United States Agency for International Development. He is stationed in Kampala, Uganda, where he works with rural farmers to innovate farming practices and fulfill USAID’s mission to end extreme poverty. He returned to campus February 23-25 to visit classes, present about his work in Uganda, and mingle with K-State faculty.

Fortin’s bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and animal sciences and industry came from K-State in 2006. He proceeded to receive a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas.

Fortin was extremely involved in college. He was in Student Senate, Alpha Zeta agricultural honorary, Agriculture Council and Collegiate 4-H along with being an Agriculture Ambassador.

Since the Distinguished Young Alumni award began three years ago, an alumni of the department of agricultural economics has won the award each year. Matt Wolters (’03) won in 2014 and Justine Sterling (’07), who received a minor in agricultural economics, won in 2013.

Winners of the award are graduates younger than 35 who excel in their professions through service and leadership and contribute to their communities.

 John Niemann

John Niemann, 1993 BS Agribusiness, was just announced As the College of Agriculture Outstanding Young Alumnus.

Josh Roe

The Kansas Department of Agriculture hired Josh Roe, 2003 graduate, as an assistant secretary to Jackie McClaskey, Secretary of Agriculture, in February.

jroeRoe has served as the staff economist for KDA since 2013. Prior to that he worked in K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, where his research and extension activities included water quality and quantity, agricultural finance, farm management and biofuels.  

He earned a bachelor’s degree from K-State with cum laude honors in agricultural economics with a specialty in finance and a minor in statistics. He has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Iowa State University.

Wayne Stoskopf

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts announced Wayne Stoskopf, 2010 agribusiness graduate, as one of his senior staff selections. Stoskopf was named to the Professional Staff position for commodities, crop insurance and dairy on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

stoskopfPrior to this announcement, Stoskopf worked as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Roberts handling agriculture, nutrition, and water issues since June 2012. He also served as the liaison between Robert’s personnel and Agriculture Ranking Member offices. He previously worked for U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins handling agriculture policy and was a Field Director in central Kansas for U.S. Senator Jerry Moran’s 2010 campaign. Stoskopf interned with Senator Moran the year before the campaign.

Stoskopf was born and raised on his family’s wheat, sorghum and livestock farm near Hoisington, Kansas. While at K-State, he served as Student Government Vice President from 2009-2010 and was active in Blue Key, the senior leadership honorary, among other organizations.

Read about Senator Robert’s full selection of new staff members.

Matt Wolters

Matt Wolters, 2003 graduate in agricultural economics, was selected as one of five Leaders of the Year for 2015 by the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development. Efforts in outreach, innovation and service leadership determine the recipient for each of the five categories: agribusiness, business and entrepreneurship, community service, multicultural diversity and tourism, hospitality and retail.

mwoltersWolters’ recognition came in agribusiness based on his role in leading 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. Based outside of Atwood, Kansas, Wolters, his brother, Josh, and friend, Blaine Ginther, opened Surefire Ag in July 2007.

Almost eight years later, the business has developed many custom products including Quickdraw, which is anticipated as one of the top five game changers of 2015 by Farm Industry News. Quickdraw is an automated, electronically controlled spray tender system that mixes batches of crop inputs. SureFire has seen great success, employs 35 people, and has sold its products in 47 states and Canada.

In addition to SureFire Ag Systems, Wolters and his partners founded the Dream Big Education Foundation, which provides resources to enhance science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and math education in the Rawlins County USD 105.

Leaders of the Year were chosen by entrepreneurship students in the K-State College of Business and are based on the Huck Boyd Institute’s Kansas Profile features during the past year. The institute is a partnership between K-State Research and Extension in Manhattan and the Huck Boyd Foundation in Phillipsburg, Kansas.

Wolters is a 2014 Distinguished Young Alumni and recipient of the Vance Publishing 2014 40 Under 40 Award. He was in Blue Key Honor Society and Student Governing Association and was an Agriculture Ambassador during college. Wolters has key roles in the Kansas FFA Foundation, Rawlins County Hospital Board and the Kansas Agricultural Rural Leadership Program.

Jake Worcester

Jake Worcester, 2001 graduate of agricultural economics, left his position as assistant secretary at the Kansas Department of Agriculture to join the 4-H Foundation as the new President and CEO. He is stationed in Manhattan, where his role with the 4-H Foundation began March 2.

worcesterAgriculture and 4-H are strongly entwined in Worcester’s interests. He attributes his 4-H experience in Graham County as a key in much of his success, in addition to serving as K-State Student Body President in college.

While earning his degree in agricultural economics, Bryan Schurle was his advisor.

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Department News

Department Updates: K-State 2014 Farm Bill Team Reaches more than 4,000 Kansans

Farm producers and ranchers are facing many decisions regarding the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill.

To help with this decision-making process, K-State Research and Extension held meetings throughout the state in January and February. Recordings of presentations are available online.

“More than 4,000 people attended the meetings, with many attending more than one to improve their understanding,” said Mykel Taylor, assistant professor of the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics. “Surveys at these meetings asked people to rate the value of the information presented on the programs details and the tool. An average of 89% of attendees rated the information as Valuable or Very Valuable on a four point scale (‘Not Valuable’, ‘Somewhat Valuable’, ‘Valuable’, or ‘Very Valuable’).”

The Farm Bill deadline closed Tuesday, April 7. To view full coverage of the videos and updates from the K-State Farm Bill team visit the AgManager webpage.



ACCC Conference Celebrates 20-year Milestone

Brian ACCCThe CEO Roundtable for Cooperative Managers celebrated its 20th anniversary in March with another strong program.  In 1995, then Arthur Capper Cooperative Center Director, David Barton, professor emeritus, was approached by local cooperative managers about creating a new educational program for cooperative CEOs. He saw this as an exciting opportunity and reached out to Russ Nelson of CoBank who agreed to partner, and the CEO Roundtable was launched in 1996. The focus of the program has remained on providing these CEOs an educational opportunity where they can learn from industry experts, learn from each other, network and further develop as leaders of progressive, successful local cooperatives.

The strength of the program lies in a group of actively engaged CEOs who help develop the program each year. To ensure the topics are timely and relevant, Brian Briggeman, ACCC Director and associate professor; and CoBank Regional Vice President, Alan Woodard; work closely with a planning committee comprised of CEOs who regularly attend the roundtable. Evidence of the CEO Roundtable’s success can be found in a few of the comments from the CEOs and Board Chairs who attended the 2015 CEO Roundtable:

 “The CEO Conference is one of the highlights of the year.  I always look forward to the conference, the program/speakers, and the discussions with fellow CEOs and Board leaders.”

“Fantastic conference and very well planned.  It was my first year and really enjoyed the program.  I see the networking benefit and idea sharing as a huge plus.”

“The best meeting I attend all year!”

alanThree other educational programs have evolved out of the CEO Roundtable and additional opportunities await. CoBank continues to be an outstanding partner as they value the impact of strong education on the cooperative system. The ACCC looks forward to providing effective and relevant cooperative education to help the cooperative community meet the challenges of the future. 

More information about the ACCC is available on its website and Facebook or Twitter pages.

cakeTop Right: ACCC Director, Brian Briggeman, welcomes attendees to the Roundtable. Left: Alan Woodard, CoBank, responds to questions from CEO Roundtable attendees. Bottom Right: CEOs celebrate the milestone with cake.

Master of Agribusiness Professional Development Event: Risky Business!

The Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program is pleased to announce the dates for its 7th Professional Development and Alumni Reunion Event. The event, “Risky Business: Managing Risk,” will be Sept. 17-19, 2015 in Manhattan, Kan. The event will include sessions on multiple angles in managing risk and possible tours of the K-State campus, Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) and O. H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center, as well as the opportunity to network with classmates and industry partners. It will also include a pre-game tailgate before the K-State vs. Louisiana Tech football game on Saturday, Sept. 19.

riskybusinessNot just for MAB students and alumni, the event is open to all interested individuals in the food, animal health and agribusiness industry.

Be watching for more information about speakers, sessions and registration on MAB social media channels and the website (www.mab.ksu.edu).

Registration materials will be available on the website in late July/early August. Room reservations must be made through the Holiday Inn at the Campus by Friday, Aug. 28. For rooms call 785-539-7531 and mention KSU Master of Agribusiness or ‘MAB’.

2015 Risk and Profit Conference Focuses on Drought

The annual Risk and Profit Conference is scheduled for Aug. 20-21, 2015, at the K-State Alumni Center.  The focus of the conference will be drought and water. 

One of the featured speakers is Elwynn Taylor, a professor from Iowa State University.

IrrigationTaylor specializes in Ag Meteorology with a vision of mega-trends in technology, climate and society that opens the horizons of our enigmatic world. His extensive knowledge and understanding of the world around us enlightens and entertains. His insightful presentations are immediately useful in the management of business and life.  Few can explain the complexities of our world in a manner as clear, concise, and pleasant, as does Taylor, who received his doctorate in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Scholars internationally recognize his expertise in interactions of the biological and physical environment.

Further conference details and registration information will be announced later this spring.  Check the AgManager.info website for those details and other extension events.  Rich Llewelyn is also available to contact at 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu. View previous Risk and Profit Conference Featured Producers online at our YouTube Channel

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Save the Date for the Scholarship Banquet & Tailgate Weekend: September 18 & 19

2014 Scholarship GroupScholarship Banquet
When: Friday, September 18, 2015
Where: Bluemont Hotel

When: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Where: Cat town

More information will be announced this summer. If you have questions, please contact Judy Maberry at judym@ksu.edu or 785-532-4493. http://www.ageconomics.k-state.edu/alumni-resources/banquet/index.html

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KSU Foundation Fund Spotlight

Agricultural Economics Emeritus Faculty and Friends Scholarship fund – A Q&A Session with Fred Delano

The Agricultural Economics Emeritus Faculty and Friends Scholarship (EFFS) fund is established by departmental emeritus faculty to provide scholarships for graduate students or prospective graduate students, or undergraduate student admitted to the graduate program in agricultural economics at Kansas State University whose graduate program benefit the Kansas agricultural economy.

Amanda Erichsen: As an Emeritus Faculty of this department, what importance does this fund represent towards strengthening the caliber of students that graduate from our degree programs?

Fred Delano: The value is at the margin, to use a term from Ag Econ 101. The Founders of the EFFS fund envisioned providing the Department with a competitive edge financially to attract top graduate school candidates to enhance our nationally recognized K-State program. The Founders also recognized a desire of non-alumni to ‘give back’ to a department and an institution providing a career of benefits.

AE: How will the knowledge enrichment funded by this support, provide a better outlook for the Kansas agricultural economy?

FD: Annually, the department provides beneficial Kansas agriculture research activity by Fund recipients to the donors. An accumulation of research results vindicate the premise that added financial funds are providing a competitive edge for attracting the top minds to K-State.

AE: What do you want students that receive this scholarship to understand about the importance and expectations of this scholarship?

FD: Agriculture is vitally important to Kansas and to feeding a hungry world. It is an honor to be selected to receive EFFS funding. The honor signifies that we believe in the student, but also comes with elevated expectations.

AE: What do you think potential donors should know about what this scholarship can do for students that receive this honor and for the Kansas agricultural economy? Why should they give towards this fund?

FD: The fund provides a direct cause and effect tangible benefit. The fund allows donors who have benefited career-wise from a nationally recognized department and university to give back to ensure continued and enhanced success by winning the competition for top quality graduate student. The benefit of the contribution is recognized in a relative short period of time.

AE: Please provide any other comments regarding the importance of this fund and what it means to the students that receive it and why we need further donor support.

FD: Public funding continues to decline in Kansas and Nationally. It is essential that private funding fill the void. KSU is in direct competition for top quality graduate students, not only in Kansas, but nationally. For the department and university to maintain and enhance the competitive edge, it is essential to be in the running to attract the best and brightest to KSU.

For information about the opportunity to give to the Department, please contact Allen Featherstone at afeather@ksu.edu or 785-532-4441. https://www.found.ksu.edu/agriculture/onlinegiving.html

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Upcoming Events

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Other Articles of Interest By or About our Agricultural Economics Faculty, Alumni and Students


For more information about the Department or this e-newsletter, please contact Amanda Erichsen at 785.532.6994 or aerichsen@ksu.edu.

Article contributions by: Amanda Sales, Communications Assistant, Sophomore in Agricultural Communications & Journalism; and Elaine Edwards, K-State Research and Extension News Media Services.

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Fall 2014 E-Newsletter


Jorge Gattini, Paraguay's Minister of Agriculture, delights K-State with campus visit
Introducing Ben Schwab
Summer Internship summary
2014 Scholarship recipients
New class of Risk Management Student Fellows
Lynes attends fifth Lindau Meeting
Andrew Barkley's new book
Office of Local Government market approach to pollution reduction
MAB program and staff awarded honors
Farm Bill meetings led by Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby
Upcoming events
Gifting opportunities

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From the Desk of Allen Featherstone

allenThe fall semester 2014 has certainly quickly passed. As we wrap up the fall semester, we want to bring you up to date on Departmental activities. First of all, we would like to thank the many faithful and dedicated alumni that provide scholarships to our undergraduate and graduate students. During the last year, the Department was able to provide in excess of $250,000 in scholarships to our well deserving students. As tuition continues to increase and as the number of undergraduate majors continues to increase, scholarships are certainly an important mechanism that many students use to further their education. The Departments appreciates your generosity.

During the fall semester, we were pleased to welcome Jorge Gattini back to campus to allow him to interact with our students. Jorge Gattini originally came to Kansas on a 4-H exchange program, came back to Kansas State University to receive his master’s in Agricultural Economics, and now serves as Minister of Agriculture in Paraguay. Mr. Gattini is responsible for formulating and executing agricultural policy for the country of Paraguay where agriculture ranges all the way from subsistence to precision agriculture that is competitive on the global scale.

Transition continues to occur as Dr. Arlo Biere and Dr. Joe Arata will retire at the end of the semester. They have both left a lasting legacy on the Department and will certainly be missed. We thank them for the many years of service to the State of Kansas in educating future generations of Agricultural leaders. We will be welcoming Dr. Elizabeth Yeager to the staff. She will be joining us from a faculty position at Purdue University and will teach in the undergraduate program in the areas of farm management, agricultural finance, and grain and livestock marketing.

I encourage you to examine a taste of the many other exciting developments in the Department. We would love to hear about your career and family developments and share them in upcoming issues of our quarterly E-Newsletter. Please email me at afeather@ksu.edu or Amanda Erichsen, our communication coordinator, at aerichsen@ksu.edu with information you would like to share with your fellow alumni.

Go Cats!

Dr. Allen Featherstone, afeather@ksu.edu
Department Head, Professor, Master of Agribusiness Program Director

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Jorge Gattini, Paraguay's Minister of Agriculture, delights K-State with campus visit

gattini_allenHistory was written this year in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. For the first time, a Minister of Agriculture received the department’s Distinguished Alumni award. This year’s recipient, Jorge Gattini, is Paraguay’s current Minister of Agriculture, and a 1998 alumnus of our department.

Jorge Gattini arrived in Manhattan Sept. 24, to reconnect with his former professors and accept his award Sept. 26. Gattini credits his successes as the Minister of Agriculture to his education at K-State, saying, “I am sure that if I were not a student here at Kansas State University, I would not be a Minister of Agriculture. I met the President [of Paraguay] two days before he appointed me, but he says he chose the best that he can get. I think K-State gave me the skills that helped develop my professional career.”

Gattini was no stranger to agriculture prior to his venture to Kansas. As an adolescent, Gattini lived on a ranch working in the fields, and learning to love the lifestyle. He moved back to Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguay, when he was 17. He then discovered the 4-H program’s partnership between Paraguay and Kansas State University. That was the first time Gattini came to Kansas, as an undergraduate student of K-State. He was back in Paraguay for a few years before returning to Kansas at the age of 25, this time to complete a master’s degree in the Agricultural Economics program.

 “I had the pleasure of having Gattini as a Masters student, as I was his adviser," said Allen Featherstone, agricultural economics department head. “I still have a copy of his final paper over the Economic Credit System in Paraguay… I’ll have to talk to him to see if he has followed through with his recommendations in his paper. Jorge was an outstanding student, he was inquisitive. It certainly shows what anyone can do if they put their mind to it.” 

Following Gattini’s graduation from K-State, he returned to his home country and began working as a financial consultant in the government. A few years after leaving that job, Gattini had his next big achievement when the president of Paraguay, who hardly knew Gattini at the time, appointed him as the Minister of Agriculture. In this position, Gattini strives to keep small-operation farmers in Paraguay afloat in the economy. He said, “Our main challenge is to develop modern technologies for small farmers.”lecture

The Department of Agricultural Economics hosted a scholarship and alumni banquet Sept. 26 that recognized Gattini for all his efforts, along with 70 agricultural economics students that earned scholarships. “The banquet is a great opportunity to recognize our students in the department for their accomplishments and hard work, and it is a great time to recognize our alumni, especially this year’s distinguished alumnus, Jorge Gattini,” said Amanda Erichsen, the department’s communications coordinator. “It’s a great time for everyone to interact together.”

Several faculty and staff members of the agricultural economics department meet early in the year to determine who will be selected as the distinguished alumni. Criteria of the award include proactive actions to make a difference in a community or enacting programs that influence the well- being of others.

“It’s a great opportunity to have one of our alumni that is in such a high-level decision making process and using his education to help him think through certain difficult  situations in his career,” Featherstone said, of having Gattini receive the award.

Though Paraguay is a top exporter of many crops, the agriculture industry of the country still keeps farmers fearing poverty daily. Gattini lectured Sept. 24 in the K-State Student Union’s Forum Hall regarding this issue. He spoke about the statistics of the difficulties of agriculture in Paraguay and how he envisions working with K-State to create tailor-made programs to bring back to Paraguay.

He also convened with many other departments during his visit, including the offices for diversity and international outreach.

He said he plans to return to Manhattan more, as the partnership between Kansas State University and Paraguay continues growing. Gattini is proud of where he is now, and summed up the feeling of receiving the award as being very exciting.


Top Right: Gattini stands with Allen Featherstone, department head, holding the plaque that will hang in the hallway of Waters Hall. Middle Right: Gattini addresses the agricultural situation in Paraguay at his Sept. 24 lecture. Bottom: Gattini gives thanks for his award at the Scholarship Banquet on Sept. 26.

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Introducing Ben Schwab

schwabBen Schwab joined our department as assistant professor in July 2014. He grew up in southern New Jersey and earned his bachelor of art’s degree in economics and Middle Eastern studies from Rutgers University, and his masters of art’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Schwab’s research focuses on international development, health and nutrition. While at Wisconsin, he was a National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) trainee in Health Economics and wrote his dissertation on the adoption and impact of vitamin D fortified milk. Before joining the faculty at K-State, Schwab worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). At IFPRI, his research centered on the design and implementation of large scale evaluations of international development projects in East Africa and the Middle East. 

With much of my research centered on international issues, the University’s orientation towards Global Food Systems was a major attraction for me. The four Innovation Labs recently awarded from USAID’s Feed the Future program demonstrate the abundance of expertise on global food topics in the College of Agriculture. For a young researcher, that critical mass of talented people working on related topics is quite helpful. This department not only has great professors conducting leading research in their fields, but also an astoundingly collegial environment. From my short time here thus far, I’ve been very pleased with the atmosphere here. Schwab is currently teaching AGEC 615, Global Agricultural Development.

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2014 Summer internship summary

From Brazil to Colorado to Texas and right back here in the heart of the United States, eight students from the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics embarked on memorable internships during the summer of 2014. The students utilized their education in a variety of industry sectors including agricultural lending, bioenergy, grain, livestock and machinery. 

Many of the companies these students interned with operate on a global basis and work with a diverse set of commodities. The students applied their education through research, hands-on work, office work and stepping into leadership roles.

katie Katie Campbell spent her summer based in Colorado. She interned at the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) under the director of activities. Campbell’s responsibilities included planning three regional shows and the Jr. National show. In order to plan these shows, she organized entries, and put together show books and packets. Campbell believes the biggest lesson she took from the summer is the ability to multi-task on big projects and conduct herself in a business setting.
fred Frederick Kerr traveled south, to Plainview, Texas, where he worked with cotton, a crop new to his repertoire. Duties of Kerr’s internship with Monsanto varied from working in the seed testing lab to updating the company's operating procedures. He was also able to get out in the field to survey the cotton. Kerr valued his internship because he was able to get hands-on experience and he developed better interpersonal skills that he hopes will help him in his career.
masi Pedro Masi traveled to Brazil to spend his summer at Agro.Icone researching bioenergy in different scenarios. One component of bioenergy involved the use of palm oil produced in northeastern Brazil as a source of energy. Masi also looked at bio-ethanol production occurring in Mozambique and soybean sustainable production in south-central Brazil. He researched profit objectives, costs and prices on each of the three projects. Increased patience and perseverance were the biggest rewards of the experience, says Masi.
arissa Arissa Moyer interned in Pratt, Kan., at High Plains Farm Credit. Her experience involved various tasks including working with credit, appraisal, crop insurance, operations, finance, accounting and technology. Moyer says some of the things she learned could never have been taught to her through coursework. She learned to work through loan documents, analyzed financial statements and completed a field report. Overall, she built a basic knowledge of diverse agriculture operations.
kooper Kooper O’Brien got a taste of the corporate life during the summer in his internship at Agrex, Inc. The company does commodity trading that deals with grain, oilseeds, feed ingredients, hay and other food ingredients. O’Brien saw the entire process from origination to marketing to finance and logistics. He also really enjoyed the opportunity to get some hands-on work as a commodity merchandiser. O’Brien hopes to apply some of these new skills in his classes.
jake Jake Ohlde did not spend very much time in the office. Ohlde found himself in the agronomy and grain units of MidKansas Cooperative during the summer, instead. Some of his responsibilities were to monitor weed populations in the fields, take soil samples, maintain the elevator, and document truckloads of wheat. The cooperative services 15 Kansas counties with 38 grain elevator locations. Ohlde believes the experience he had cannot be taught in a classroom.
taylor Taylor Peterson didn’t work with too many numbers during the summer. Her internship at John Deere in Olathe, Kan., was in the Media Relations Department. Her position dealt with writing news releases, coordinating a media event for a product introduction, and updating the dealer price books and kiosk systems. Peterson says that learning communication skills with customers, coworkers and media personnel are better learned in the professional world than in a classroom. She also gained a lot of perspective on professionalism and building a brand.
silvera Sebastian Silvera interned with the Cotton Distributors, Inc., as a cotton trading trainee. His responsibilities included proofreading contracts, and calculating average prices and logistics. He was also able to visit producers in Bahia, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, which are states of Brazil. Silvera believes that the best part about the experience was being able to work in a different country because it allowed him to view business in a different setting. His internship was unpaid, and Silvera says these types of internships can still be beneficial because the professional skills gained pay off in the future.

Derek Betcher, marketing manager for John Deere in Moline, Ill., supervised Taylor Peterson’s internship in the Rental Marketing department in the summer 2013.

“Taylor came to John Deere with good work habits, an engaging, outgoing personality, and energy for representing the brand with a great balance of warmth and professionalism,” Betcher said.

He added that she grew in many areas including customer relations, “Analytical skills and Excel proficiency are two areas I think she grew the most.”

Betcher offers the following advice for students, “What you know is a great foundation, but how much you care about your work and your co-workers is probably an even bigger early career differentiator.”

He concluded that his division has hosted multiple K-State students during the past two years and they have been consistently high quality, ready to work and easy to engage with.

A few of the learned skills that the students attributed to their internship experiences include confidence, motivation, strong work habits, and skills that transfer between companies. The students shared the following advice to fellow undergraduates about how to grab ahold of a beneficial internship.

It is important to realize that no one is ever too young for an internship; attending all of the career fairs can open a lot of unforeseen doors. Setting up interviews with employers at the fairs is a great idea because it makes each following interview a little easier, which can lead to stellar interviewing skills following graduation.

These students are just eight of our many students that complete internships. For more pictures and quotes from the students, and information about the companies our students interned with, visit our student internship page.

More testimonials from these students can be found on the department's internship experience page.

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Congratulations to this year's scholarship recipients!

View the full list of this year's scholarship recipients.

Thank you very much to all of the donors that make these scholarships possible. It is great to know that our students can reach their goals with the help of wonderful supporters. Visit our alumni section for more information about our funding opportunities.
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K-State Center for Risk Management Education and Research announces a new class of Student Fellows

The Kansas State University Center for Risk Management Education and Research has announced its third class of student fellows. The center works to enhance the understanding of economic risks inherent in the global society through experiential education and research.

The 18 students selected for this class represent both undergraduate and graduate levels and include:

Dustin Aherin, master’s student in animal science and industry, Phillipsburg, Kansas
Cheyanna Colborn, public relations, Iola, Kansas
Christa Deneault, mathematics/economics, Concordia, Kansas
Ryan Goetzmann, agricultural economics, Gardner, Kansas
Adam Hancock, master’s student in agricultural economics, Indianapolis, Indiana
Emily Harris, agribusiness, Abilene, Kansas
Brady Heidrick, finance and accounting, Olathe, Kansas
Pedro Masi, agricultural economics, Asuncion, Paraguay
Christa McKittrick, finance and accounting, Mission Hills, Kansas
Claire Newman, master’s student in agricultural economics, Auburn, California
Cody O’Brien, agribusiness, Cherryvale, Kansas
Samuel Power, finance and accounting, Lenexa, Kansas
Nicholas Scherrer, economics, Overland Park, Kansas
Jayce Stabel, agronomy, Lakin, Kansas
Kylie Sturgis, public relations, Wilcox, Nebraska
Tucker Styrkowicz, bachelor’s and master’s student, industrial engineering, Leawood, Kansas;
Lucas Sudbeck, agricultural economics, Seneca, Kansas
Morganne Wiltse, agribusiness, Wichita, Kansas

“This is another stellar class of talented and accomplished student fellows. They will be a great group to work with,” said Ted Schroeder, director of the center and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “The new student fellows will experience guest lectures and industry visits, conduct student research projects and receive tremendous interest from industry leaders.”

The new student fellows begin their program in January 2015.

By providing students and business professionals with the information and tools necessary to identify, quantify and manage risk, the center complements K-State’s strategic plan. Additionally, the center supports the greater university mission of advancing the well-being of the state of Kansas, the United States and the international community.

crmer Shown at left are the attendees of the fall 2014 Risk Management Center advisory council meeting, including current student fellows to share their experiences with the council members.
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Lynes attends Fifth Lindau Meeting

lynes headshotPicture the Bavarian countryside of Germany, the quaint little town of Fussen looking out on the Alps, bustling Munich with its Marienplatz centre, and the ancient Bavarian castles. Now imagine that the reason for exploring all of this beauty is to network with several of the most revered economists in the world. This opportunity of a lifetime became a reality for Melissa Lynes.

The brightest economic students from around the world gathered in Lindau, Germany, for the fifth Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting August 19-24. Out of 29 student delegates selected from the United States, Lynes represented Kansas State University and the Department of Agricultural Economics, where she is a doctoral student.

The Lindau Meeting is an open exchange of economic expertise that connects different generations and cultures. The heart of this year’s conference was 18 laureates of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, who addressed the delegates in formal lectures and master classes and hosted panel discussions. In addition to the laureates, Lynes heard words of wisdom from the Queen of Sweden and the Chancellor of Germany.

Though the entire student delegation consisted of 460 students from 80 countries, Lynes was the only economist in an agricultural program. “I did come across some natural resource economists from third-world countries that are focused on farms,” Lynes said.

Lynes’ current research in agricultural economics includes renewable energy policies such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard. She hopes to determine if policies like this increase the price of electricity and whether utility companies are operating efficiently. The outcome of the research will provide information to policy makers about the feasibility of renewable energy policies and their impact.

Jeff Williams, professor for K-State agricultural economics and advisor to Lynes, said prior to the Lindau Meeting, “Melissa Lynes is an excellent and enthusiastic researcher. She will be fully engaged in discussions with the Nobel laureates at the conference.”

Lynes was not only engaged in discussions with laureates, but with other young economists at the meeting. “I wasn’t sure how many people with similar interests would be there and who might be using similar methods I’m using. It was incredible seeing people doing similar things as me from all around the world,” said Lynes.

lynes and shadmaniEvidence of Lynes’ success in economic research is exhibited through her publication in the Journal of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, her forthcoming article in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, and her presentations at various conferences across the country, including the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, International Oil Spill Conference and the United States Association of Energy Economics.

Looking back on her trip, Lynes noted the lasting connections she made with the other delegates, and she hopes to meet up with many of them again. Lynes also enjoyed the theme nights and boat trip that were part of the meeting. Theme nights embodied food, dancing and clothing traditions of many cultures, including the Bavarian region that houses Lindau. Lynes also took a boat trip out on the waters of Lake Constance, which borders several European countries.

Being selected to attend the conference is no easy ride for any applicant. “I applied in October and did not hear back until March so it was a very long time and I had to do two rounds of application,” Lynes said. “I heard back from the first round in December and then applied again and heard back from the second round in March. It was a very long process and we were all anxiously waiting.”

Prior to the Lindau Meeting, Lynes had the opportunity to be a tourist around Germany, spending most of her time in Munich and Fussen. Munich provided more of a city perspective with a lot of traffic, people and tall buildings, while Fussen's location at the base of the Alps and the cobble streets provided more a country feel. Lynes also toured old castles around the Bavarian countryside.

To sum up her entire experience in August, Lynes said, “It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am very thankful that I was able to be a part of, and I was very excited when I found out that I was actually selected.”

Lynes was accompanied to the meeting by a second K-State student, Hedieh Shadmani. Shadmani is a doctoral student in economics from Iran.

Travel and registration costs were sponsored by MARS Candy Company.


castleTop Right: Melissa Lynes. Middle Right: Melissa Lynes and fellow K-Stater, Hedieh Shadmani. At Left: Melissa snaps a picture with some new acquaintances from the meeting. At Right: Melissa viewed many majestic castles on her trip. 



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Barkley's New Book Depolarizing Food and Agriculture

Conventional versus organic? Local production or global food sourcing? For one reason or another, those involved in growing and raising our food are often at odds withbarkley one another.

A new book, Depolarizing Food and Agriculture: An Economic Approach, takes a look at the origins, validity, consequences, and potential resolution of the different and often opposing stances taken by groups involved in the food business.

“Many issues in food and agriculture have become disputes – some of them serious conflicts, with no end in sight,” said Andrew Barkley, a professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University and one of the book’s authors. “The economic approach offers a greater understanding of why these disagreements came about, and how they can be resolved. We wrote this book to share the economic approach, which provides greater appreciation for both sides of these important issues.”
Barkley, who is also a university distinguished teaching scholar at K-State, co-wrote the book with his father, Paul W. Barkley, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Washington State University and adjunct professor at Oregon State University. Paul Barkley earned a Ph.D. at K-State in 1963.

The divide between industry groups often stems from political or legal actions that confuse consumers, many of whom are considering the impact of their food choices on nutrition, health, the environment, animal welfare, and hunger, Andrew Barkley said.

The book summarizes and extends Paul Barkley’s 50 years of research and Andrew Barkley’s research on agricultural labor markets, wheat markets, and public policy in his more than 25 years at K-State. Their research emphasizes that the one constant in food and agriculture markets is change. Changes in technology, production practices, consumer desires, and policies occur constantly, and change is often disruptive. Since change has both winners and losers, it can be polarizing, especially in a rapidly-evolving sector like food and agriculture.

Based on a United Nations prediction that the world’s population will grow from the current 7.2 billion people to 9.6 billion by 2050, it is more important than ever for agricultural producers to figure out the best ways to meet the demand for food, Andrew Barkley added. In some cases that might mean working together or at least understanding a different perspective.

The book is available at http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415714235/ and http://tinyurl.com/mgzxdwl.

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Office Local Government uses market approach for pollution reduction

Since 2007, the Office of Local Government (OLG) has been assisting local Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) stakeholder groups to make conservation investments using an innovative and flexible market-based approach called a best management practice (BMP) auction. A BMP auction encourages producer/landowner conservation participation by offering greater flexibility to implement self-selected BMPs while targeting funds in a cost-effective manner.

To date, OLG has conducted several dozen auctions involving both crop and livestock BMPs, and is currently preparing to conduct two more in the Milford Lake and the Cottonwood River watersheds.

According to Anatoliy Oginskyy, OLG Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist, producers use a field sign-up sheet to identify soil erosion and/or contaminant reduction BMPs they are willing to use in high-priority sub-watersheds. They have the flexibility to identify anything they believed would enhance water quality and name the price they required to install and maintain the BMP.

Working together with the NRCS District Conservationist and county Extension agent, Oginskyy calculates the estimated pollution reduction per dollar invested for the BMP. All of the bids received are then ranked from most pollution reduction per dollar to least. Projects are then awarded using this ranking system until the available budget is exhausted.

This approach ensures that scarce conservation dollars are invested in the most cost-effective manner possible by means of a voluntary pollution reduction program.
To learn more about using a BMP auction as a pollution reduction strategy, contact Anatoliy Oginskyy at 785-532-3035 or aoginsky@ksu.edu.

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MAB Program and staff earn honors

Kansas State University's Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program and communications staff have received regional awards through the University Professional and mabContinuing Education Association. Awards were presented at the association's conference Oct. 22-24 in Denver.

Mary Emerson-Bowen received the association's support specialist award. In her role as a program associate for the Master of Agribusiness program since 2005, Emerson-Bowen develops and executes the program's marketing and communications plan, including online, print and social media advertising campaigns. She also is responsible for coordinating the program's extensive international and on-campus events and meetings, as well as assisting with student recruitment, enrollment and communications.

"We are pleased, but not surprised, at Mary's successful nomination for this award," said Deborah Kohl, MAB program coordinator. "Mary is one of the most loyal and thoughtful professionals I have worked with and she consistently puts the needs of students above her own. She also is innovative and committed to moving the program, its brand and our level of service forward."

Emerson-Bowen has supported the program by designing and maintaining its website, developing and implementing a social media plan and continuing frequent communication with students, alumni and potential students.

"Mary chose to center the capstone project for her master's degree on social media in the MAB program and we continue to reap the benefits of that effort, having just recruited our first student solely through this stream," said Kohl. "She always is on the lookout for ways to improve the service we provide to students, alumni and industry. Her dedication is one of the reasons for the program's enduring success."

That success is evident through a new honor for the MAB program, which received the association's regional mature credit program award. The award recognizes an established credit program that has demonstrated sustained innovation, cost effectiveness, diversity, quality and exceptional measures of success through evaluations and graduate success.

The MAB program at K-State began in 1998 and was the first graduate agribusiness program in the nation offered through distance education. Not an MBA, and not an Master of Science in agricultural economics, the MAB program was developed to teach food and agribusiness professionals working in related fields the strategies for making informed decisions based on a thorough understanding of current issues.

Originally an outreach to largely underserved food and agriculture employees, the MAB program met a need for these employees living in rural areas who needed to complete an advanced education through an online option. Since its inception, the program has attracted more than 375 students from more than 40 states and 30 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Grenada, India, Italy, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Singapore, Uruguay and Venezuela.

"With classmates from North America, South America and Africa all involved in the agriculture industry, I gain a perspective that I would not normally have working for an aid program in Zambia," said Lydia Mtchotsa, Master of Agribusiness student.

The program utilizes online learning technologies and a combination of learning styles including audio, visual, text-based and face-to-face cohort sessions to provide professionals with a global agribusiness experience. The program's on-campus sessions provide valuable experiences for students to interact and connect with each other, program faculty and industry leaders.

During the past 17 years, the program has sustained itself and has had a successful revenue stream allowing for the development of two additional program cohorts: one with an animal health focus at K-State Olathe and an international cohort in Southeast Asia. The program continues a high graduation rate and current student population that is almost equally distributed through the agri-industries supply chain. The knowledge and experience of MAB students create a professional environment for learning and keep discussion focused on industry challenges. The program produces creative leaders with analytical abilities in an increasingly complex global economy.

Learn more about the MAB program at mab.ksu.edu.

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Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby to decipher Farm Bill at state-wide workshops


Congressional legislation can be hard to interpret. So when faced with 357 pages in the form of the Agricultural Act of 2014, it is tempting to skip reading it altogether. However, doing so means a lot of important information would be missed. From the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics, assistant professor Mykel Taylor, professor Art Barnaby, and extension associate Robin Reid are providing the answers producers need to understand the legislation.

The Agricultural Act of 2014, more commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, covers policy on commodity programs, crop insurance, and conservation. Policies on trade and credit, research and extension, rural development and many more are also laid out. 

For producers familiar with the previous version of the Farm Bill, some programs have been eliminated, including direct payments, counter cyclical payments, Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) and Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE). These programs have been replaced with the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.barnaby

The rules of these two new programs are crucial information to know and are not always straightforward to understand. Farmers or landlords who aim to skirt around understanding the bill may actually hurt their operation because failure to choose between the ARC and PLC programs could result in losing their 2014 program payment. 

Taylor and Barnaby’s solution to helping people better understand the rules of the bill are meetings in various locations across Kansas. The meetings are intended to be open-ended discussions between the producers and Taylor and Barnaby, who will be the instructors for all of the sessions. 

Sessions will provide vital information about the Farm Service Agency’s ARC and PLC programs as well as interpretation of market information and economic factors to consider in making program enrollment decisions. Choosing a program becomes simpler with the use of a computer-run decision aid tool, which will also be demonstrated at the meetings. This decision aid tool helps the producer sort through all of his or her options in order to make the most suitable choice.Farm Bill dates

All questions about material not covered by the instructors will gladly be accepted to optimize understanding of the policies by everyone the bill affects.

farm bill logo“Everyone with FSA program base acres can enroll in one of the programs. Other than crop insurance, these programs are the only government support producers will receive in either production or marketing disaster years,” said Taylor of reasons to attend one of the meetings.

Participants will need to contact one of the program sponsors or their local county Extension agent to receive a ticket in advance, which allows free entry to the program.

The AgManager.info website lists much more information about the Farm Bill and these meetings as well. The site is the best resource for finding all the materials presented at the meetings, which may be helpful for anyone unable to attend. For information about times in each location or contact information of area Extension agents, visit http://www.agmanager.info/events/FarmBill/default.asp.

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Upcoming events

Dec. 15-19 | Finals week
Dec. 24 | Grades available online for students
Dec. 24-Jan. 2 | Department office closed for Christmas break and New Year’s Eve holiday
Jan. 4-9 | Master of Agribusiness program week on campus, Manhattan
Jan. 12–Feb. 13 | “The 2014 Farm Bill: Making the decision” see Farm Bill article in this e-newsletter for details.
Jan. 16 | New Student Orientation and Enrollment
Jan. 19 | Martin Luther King Day, University offices closed
Jan. 20 | Spring semester begins
Feb. 1| K-State scholarship application deadline for continuing and transfer students
Feb. 5 | Excel Workshop at Lyon County Extension Office in Emporia
Feb. 9 | Last day to drop a class with a 100% refund
Feb. 13 | Summer/Fall 2015 course schedule on web
Feb. 16 | Last day to drop a class with a 50% refund
Feb. 24 | Last day to drop classes without a “W”
Visit our events page for a full list of our events and more information.

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Gifting opportunities with Agricultural Economics

About our funds 

Agricultural Economics Departmental Support Fund | D15290 | All-around fund for departmental enhancement.
Ag Econ Emeritus Faculty and Friends Scholarship Fund | O50290 | A new fund established by departmental emeritus faculty to
provide scholarships for outstanding graduate students.
Ag Econ Master of Agribusiness Scholarship Fund | O01137 | Master of Agribusiness program
Arthur Capper Cooperative Center | C55950 | Funds for the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center
Coolidge (J.H.) Farm Management Fund | D58235 | Enhancement of the Kansas Farm Management Association, especially recruitment, orientation and training of KFMA economist
Risk Management Center | D84855
Undergraduate Student Funds | If you would like to create a special scholarship for undergraduate students, please don't hesitate to contact Kim Schrier at kims@found.ksu.edu.

Donations can be made online or submitted to the Department or Foundation by Dec. 31 to be included for the 2014 tax deductions. For information about the opportunity to give to the Department, please contact Allen Featherstone at afeather@ksu.edu or 785-532-4441. You are also welcome to mail this form to the office at the attention of Allen Featherstone, Department of Agricultural Economics, 342 Waters Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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Article contributions for the Fall 2014 e-newsletter by Elaine Edwards, Mary Lou Peter, Rosanna Vail, and Amanda Sales (Communications Assistant, Sophomore in Agricultural Communications & Journalism)

For more information about the Department or this e-newsletter, please contact Amanda Erichsen at 785.532.6994 or aerichsen@k-state.edu.

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Spring 2014


Reagan Kays Elected Student Body President
Herrington and Parman earn department honors
Spriggs earns award from Alumni Association
Student earn honorary spots for 2014-2015
Seven department students selected at College of Ag Ambassadors
Harlan and Hopper earn University promotions
Jackie McClaskey recognized at College of Agriculture Outstanding Young Alumni
Cristina Mansfield honored at K-State Alumni Fellow
Agricultural Economics alumni earn Master Farmers and Master Homemakers honors
Congratulations to newly-selected student officers

From the desk of Allen Featherstone

AllenAs we begin to wind down the spring semester, I congratulate all of our graduates. We wish you success as you move into the next stage of life. Please stay in touch with the Department as you move forward. We desire to keep our alumni involved in many different ways within the Department.

Change continues within Waters Hall. The Department Head position recently closed and the search committee is moving forward with that process. We have recently hired an assistant professor with a specialty in international agricultural development, Benjamin Schwab. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and is currently an associate research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Schwab will strengthen

the Department’s international efforts and will be a key contributor to the University’s Global Food Systems Initiative. Schwab will begin at the end of July.

Two faculty members, Orlen Grunewald and Robert Burton, will retire before the next school year begins. They have contributed 34 and 30 years to the Department, respectively. We appreciate their many years of service. Please look forward to reading a dedication to their contributions in the summer newsletter. We wish them success in their retirement.

With those retirements, the Department is beginning a search for two additional faculty positions to help strengthen the undergraduate curriculum. Enrollment continues to be strong with about 450 undergraduate majors for the spring semester.

Several faculty members have received recognition for their outstanding contributions this semester. Glynn Tonsor received the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Extension Award. Jason Bergtold received

K-State’s Presidential Award for Undergraduate Teaching. Hikaru Peterson received the College of Agriculture Student Council Faculty of the Semester Award. Barry Flinchbaugh will receive the 2014 Agricultural Leadership and Excellence from the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City on June 2.

Congratulations are also in order to Reagan Kays, newly-elected University Student Body President. He is the 17th student elected as Student Body President from our Department! Other students from our Department elected to the University Senate to represent the College of Agriculture include Garret Kays, Logan Britton, Kurt Lockwood and Wyatt Pracht.

We would love to hear about your career and family developments so we can share them in upcoming issues of our quarterly E-Newsletter. Please email Amanda Erichsen at aerichsen@k-state.edu with information you would like to share with your fellow alumni.

Go Cats!

Dr. Allen Featherstone


Reagan Kays is elected K-State Student Body President: 17th from Agricultural Economics

KK teamReagan Kays, senior in agribusiness from Weir, Kan. (center of both pictures), is the newly-elected Student Body President for Kansas State University. Kays is the 17th student elected as Student Body President from the Department of Agricultural Economics.

“After serving the College of Agriculture for three years as a Senator, I developed a passion for advocating for students and that led me to want to be Student Body President,” Kays said. “In October, I decided I wanted to proceed on the journey and I asked Cody Kennedy to be my running mate.”

Cody Kennedy, junior in secondary education and mathematics, is the newly-elected vice president.

“I knew that if I was going to go serve the students of K-State for a year, I had to have a great person to serve with,” Kays said. “First, I looked for high moral character in my running mate and someone with student governing experience. Cody has great character with rural Kansas values. He has served as two committee chairs with the Student Government Association (SGA) and was awarded most outstanding senator last year.”

More than 100 students formed an advisory board and staff for Kays’ campaign. “We were blessed to have a great deal of support from students all across campus.”

The campaign team members had specific roles in the success of the campaign.

“The advisory board were our feet on the ground and helped us develop ideas for campus outreach,” Kays added.

Kays’ excitement was ignited by the support his campaign received from so many students from across campus. “I felt so humbled at our meetings to have a basement full of people who believed in our ideas and what we stood for,” he said.

with supportersKays enjoys being a student in the College of Agriculture because of his belief that the College serves a high purpose of feeding the world. “I have a deep passion for business and agriculture, so Agribusiness is the perfect fit,” he added. “I also enjoy the professors in the Department of Agricultural Economics and my fellow students are the  best a student could ask for. I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of the tradition of leadership that our Department has here at K-State.”

After graduation from K-State, Kays plans to attend law school and work in agricultural and food law. “My dream is to be a positive advocate for agriculture, and make a significant contribution to the industry by assisting individual producers and agricultural businesses,” he said. “I aim to enhance the publics understanding of agriculture and to possibly work with government agencies in developing public policy.” John Crespi, Kays’ advisor and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, had the following to say about Kays’ success. “I have had the opportunity to see Reagan not only in my role as his advisor, but serving on committees with him as well. He is intelligent, professional, courteous, imaginative, diligent, broad minded and respectful of others. He represents the absolute best that K-State has to offer, and I find it of no surprise that he would be chosen by the student body to represent them.”

Kays and Kennedy were sworn in on April 10.

Kays also serves as the Blue Key Senior Honorary President, College of Agriculture Student Senator and Ambassador, Student Foundation Member, and Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Undergraduate Director.

Herrington and Parman earn Department honors

Matthew Herrington earned Outstanding Masters Thesis for "An Evaluation of Changing Profit Risks in Kansas Cattle Feeding Operations". His major professors were Ted Schroeder and Glynn Tonsor.

Bryon Parman earned Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation "Economies of Scale for Data Envelopment Analysis with a Kansas Farm Application". His major professors were Vincent Amanor-Boadu and Allen Featherstone.

Winners are selected annually by the Department’s Graduate Committee.

Spriggs earns award from Alumni Association

Nathan Spriggs, bachelor’s graduate in agricultural economics and food science from Galena, Kan., is being recognized by the K-State Alumni Association for his outstanding academics, leadership, inspiration and service. Spriggs earned the Anderson Award for Outstanding Leadership.

"We are excited to honor these individuals for what they have achieved at K-State," said Amanda Brookover, assistant director of student programs for the Alumni Association. "These winners were chosen from a group of exceptional candidates. We appreciate the efforts of the K-State faculty, staff and students and Alumni Association board of directors who nominated and selected these individuals for this outstanding recognition."

Students earn honorary spots for 2014-2015

Elizabeth Allen, majoring in agricultural economics and animal science from Holton, Kan., and Rachel Zimmerman, agribusiness major from Satanta, Kan., have earned spots with Silver Key for the 2014-2015 school year. Silver Key is the sophomore leadership honorary organization at Kansas State University.

To be eligible for Silver Key, students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average, be 2013 high school graduates and be in their freshman year at the university. 

Silver Key provides service to the campus and the surrounding Manhattan community. Members organize and participate in a variety of community service projects each semester. Past projects have included Sleep Out for the Homeless, food drives, highway cleanup efforts, and providing child care to Fort Riley families.

Department represented by seven students in the College of Agriculture Ambassadors

The Kansas State University College of Agriculture has selected 24 students to serve as ambassadors. Agribusiness students include Karly Frederick, Alden; Lindy Bilberry, Garden City; Amelia Vasko, Scott City; Melissa Miller, Sedan; and Bailey McClelland, Bowen, Ill. Agricultural economics students include Elizabeth Allen, Holton; and Cooper Clawson, also majoring in finance, Meade.

The main responsibilities of ambassadors are to recruit prospective students and share their own K-State story. They will assist with more than 650 prospective student visits and represent the college and university at various events throughout the year.

Prior to being selected as a part of the 60-member ambassador organization, the students had to pass the College of Agriculture Training program, an eight-week course teaching students about the college's departments and programs. After completion, candidates went through a very competitive application process. They submitted an application, interviewed with faculty and current ambassadors and presented on three words they would use to describe the College of Agriculture. Would you have guessed, the most popular word is “home”?!

Harlan and Hopper earn University promotions

Bill Harlan and Ben Hopper received promotions within the Kansas State University Student Life Administration office.

Bill Harlan was promoted from interim director of the student activities and services office to director, in March. Harlan was the assistant director for the office for many years prior to his appointment as interim director.

Harlan received his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness in 2001 and a master’s degree in secondary education in 2006, both from Kansas State University. He has been employed with the University’s student life office since 2003.

Ben Hopper, recently selected as director of Greek affairs, was the program adviser for the Union Program Council at the K-State Student Union. Hopper received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism, with minors in political science and agricultural economics, in 2002 and a master’s degree in college student development with an emphasis in higher education administration in 2009, both from Kansas State University. He has worked as program adviser at K-State since 2004.

Jackie McClaskey earns honor of College of Agriculture Outstanding Young Alumni

Jackie Jackie McClaskey has earned the 2014 College of Agriculture Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

A native Kansan, McClaskey grew up on a diversified family farm near Girard. Her family was involved with livestock, as well crop production. She earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture economics from Kansas State University in 1993. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 1995 with a master’s of science degree in agricultural economics. McClaskey completed requirements for a Ph.D. in Animal Science from K-State in January 2014. Her Ph.D. dissertation analyzed foreign animal disease response policy.

She was appointed Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture by Governor Sam Brownback in December 2013. McClaskey joined the Kansas Department of Agriculture as Assistant Secretary in January 2011 and served in that role until being named Deputy Secretary in July 2013.

Driven by a meaningful purpose to make a positive difference and maximize the skills and talents of others, McClaskey has utilized these strengths to demonstrate her ability to build and effectively lead teams. During the 1990s, McClaskey worked in Washington D.C. as the press secretary and agriculture and higher education policy coordinator in the office of then-Congressman Sam Brownback.

Prior to coming to the Department of Agriculture, McClaskey served as an assistant dean for the College of Agriculture at K-State for 13 years. Because of her passion for young people and seeing them reach their full potential, she is the co-founder of Roots and Legacies, Inc., an agricultural leadership consulting firm.

Since 1988, the K-State College of Agriculture has presented this award honoring living alumni who personify the College's tradition of excellence - bringing distinction to themselves and to our alma mater through their outstanding achievements. The nominees bring distinction to themselves, their profession, their College, and Kansas State University through their participation, commitment, and leadership. Only K-State College of Agriculture graduates who are 45 years of age or younger, as of the date of the award presentation, are eligible.

Cristina Mansfield honored as K-State Alumni Fellow

MansfieldCristina Mansfield earns the honor of being a K-State Alumni Fellow. Mansfield earned a degree from the Master of Agribusiness program in 2004. She is a Juris Doctor candidate at Vermont Law School. Before entering law school, she built a career in international development, working for seven years in Cambodia on democracy and governance issues and participating in national corruption surveys.

She also taught advocacy to non-governmental organizations and activists in countries including Kyrgyzstan, Uganda and Guatemala. Her most recent consulting work took place in Afghanistan and Libya. Fluent in Spanish and French, she aims to pursue a career in international human rights and has interned with state attorneys’ offices in Rutland and Windsor counties in Vermont.

Mansfield earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from New York University and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Manchester, Vt., with partner Edward Hopkins.

Mansfield was on campus to meet with students and faculty April 17 and 18.

Agricultural Economics alumni earn Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers honors

Randy and Kim Fritzemeier of Stafford, Kan., and Phillip and Sharron Knox of Brewster, Kan., are two of the six couples that have been named Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers for 2013. The couples are identified as leaders in farming and in their communities, and were honored at a banquet during March in Manhattan.

The Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker award program began in 1927 and is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine. 

Randy Fritzemeier earned his bachelor’s of science degree in agricultural economics in 1978. Nearly 1,400 acres of wheat is the main crop of the Fritzemeier operation. The couple also raises soybeans, silage, alfalfa, sudangrass, fallow and beef cattle.

The farm uses the latest technologies in AI and EPDs for cattle, and soil testing for precise fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide applications. The Fritzemeiers maintain an approved conservation plan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

The Kansas Farm Bureau honored the farm as a Century Farm in 2004. Randy, is the fourth-generation of farmers in his family to work the land in Stafford and Reno counties. Outside the farm, he serves on the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers Board and invests time in other local and area agricultural boards.

Rural communities, the Fritzemeiers believe, are changing, and it takes all community members to invest in time, efforts and finances to back and maintain each community.

Phillip Knox earned his bachelor’s of science degree in agricultural economics in 1969. He also earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at Colorado State University. His family owns Knox Farms, Inc., feedlots, and AgSun—a limited liability company that produces steam-flaked corn to sell to feedlots and dairies in western Kansas.

The Knox operation focuses on employing community members, and most employees are full-time, salaried managers who are responsible for cattle, dryland production, irrigated production or spraying operations.

The Knox operation produces wheat, corn and beef cattle. The farm had an early commitment to no-till and uses a confined feeding operation manure management system with application to the no-till crops. The Knox’s are 35-year members of the Thomas County Farm Bureau.

Congratulations to newly-elected student officers

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Club

President: Michael Porter
Vice President: Nick Wineinger
Secretary: Cody O'Brien
Treasurer: Shannon Maxwell
Membership Co-Chair: Casey Thyer and Nathan Smart
Social Co-Chair: Bryan Otott and Lucas Sudbeck
Ag Council Representative: Ryan Goetzmann

K-State National Agricultural Marketing Association Club (NAMA)

President: Marie Annexstad
First Vice President – Membership: Shelby Rose
Second Vice President – Programs: Dan Martin
Third Vice President – Team Captain: Kurtis Clawson
Careers Chair: Gordon Harton
Secretary: Kylie Naber
Treasurer: Will Longinaker
Ag Board Student Senate Representative: Kathryn Clawson
Promotions/publicity chair: Amanda Bryant

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December 2013


New Student Fellows Named
Flinchbaugh moderates six past U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture at Oct. 21 Landon Lecture
Gifting grain to Agricultural Economics
Craig Jagger is 2013 Distinguished Alumni
Did you know our students blog?!
Jackie McClaskey named Kansas Secretary of Agriculture
Gattini named Paraguay's Minister of Agriculture
Wolters earns Distinguished Young Alumni

From the desk of Allen Featherstone

AllenHappy Holidays! I hope this e-newsletter finds you with a bountiful Thanksgiving celebration behind you and you are continuing to enjoy your holiday celebrations.
Change continues and it seems at an ever increasing rate. That certainly is the case within the Department. 

As we look forward to 2014, we are looking to search for a permanent Department Head, develop our 2025 strategic plan as well as continue forward on a path of growth and development for our students, alumni, faculty and staff. Consistent with the growth occurring in the college, our undergraduate student enrollment has reached a new high of 480 students for the 2013 fall semester, a growth of 33 percent in the last two years. In addition, the M.S. and Ph.D. program enrollment has remained strong; the Masters of Agribusiness enrollment has also increased. Perhaps what is most exciting is the placement rates. The most recent information from the placement office has indicated a placement rate of roughly 95 percent. Our masters and Ph.D. graduates continue to be in demand. Recent Ph.D. graduates have been hired into the Texas A&M University system, Mississippi State University, and at the University of Tokyo.

Our departmental alumni are making an impact both in the public and private sectors as represented by Jorge Gattini (Minister of Agriculture, Paraguay), Jackie McClasky (Secretary of Agriculture, Kansas), Craig Jagger (Bruce Gardner Policy Contribution award), and Matt Wolters (Distinguished Young Alumni Award). Read more about their accomplishments in the following pages. We would love to hear about your career and family developments and share them in upcoming issues of our quarterly E-Newsletter. Please email me at afeather@ksu.edu with information you would like to share.

Change also will continue on the staff as several long-time professors are planning retirements. We will update you on their plans in upcoming issues along with the accomplishments of our other faculty. Best wishes for a successful 2014!

Go State!

Dr. Allen Featherstone,
Interim Department Head, Professor, Master of Agribusiness Program Director


New Student Fellows Named

The Kansas State University Center for Risk Management Education and Research has announced its second class of student fellows. The Center seeks to enhance the understanding of economic risks inherent in our global society through world-class experiential education and research. The 17 students selected for this class include: 
• Logan Britton, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Communications and Journalism - Bartlett, Kan.
• Kurtis Clawson, Agricultural Economics, Agronomy – Satanta, Kan.
• Kassie Curran, Food Science, Agricultural Economics – Farlington, Kan.
• William Damme-Longinaker, Agricultural Economics – Randolph, Iowa
• Joseph Dasenbrock, Economics, Psychology – Cimarron, Kan.
• Ethan Dhuyvetter, Marketing – Manhattan, Kan.
• Thomas Einck, Finance – Marion, S.D.
• MaryLynn Griebel, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering – Stockton, Kan.
• Jonathan Higgins, Finance, Accounting – Lenexa, Kan.
• Shelby Hill, Agricultural Economics, Animal Science and Industry, and earning a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics – Satanta, Kan.
• Gerald Mashange, Finance and Economics – Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
• Mario Ortez, Agribusiness, and earning a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, Nicaragua
• Laura Rogers, bachelor’s in and earning a master’s degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering – Clyde, Kan.
• Nathan Stinson, Agricultural Economics – Allen, Kan.
• Jason Troendle, Agricultural Economics – St. Charles, Minn.
• Lacey Ward, Agribusiness, and earning a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, Superior, Neb.
• Nicholas Wineinger, Agribusiness – Lincoln, Kan.
“We had a phenomenal slate of immensely talented and diverse applicants and the selection process was difficult,” said Ted Schroeder, director of the center and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “A lot of things happen with the Center including guest lectures, industry visits, student research projects, and tremendous interest from industry leaders in this program. New contacts between industry and the Center occur almost daily.”
By providing students and business professionals with the information and tools necessary to identify, quantify and manage risk, the Center complements K-State's strategic plan. Additionally, the Center supports the greater university mission of advancing the well-being of the state of Kansas, the U.S. and the international community.


Flinchbaugh moderates six past U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture at Oct. 21 Landon Lecture

A beaming Barry Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., K-State professor emeritus of agricultural economics, led Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Ed Schafer, Mike Espy, and John Block through a conversation on a wide range of topics, from the need for a farm bill, to biotechnology, to nutrition programs that serve people in the U.S. and around the world.

"What a treat. This is as good as it gets," Flinchbaugh said in a post-lecture news conference. Flinchbaugh, who has advised every one of the secretaries on multiple farm bills, added: "This is a great way to celebrate K-State's anniversary and a feather in the cap to a long career. I'll sleep good tonight."

Gifting grain to Agricultural Economics

seedsThe Department of Agricultural Economics is providing another alternative to donating money or other resources that can lead to benefiting farming tax income for our producers. 

Producers now have the option of Gifting Grain to the Department, through the Kansas State University Foundation. This can be done by contributing commodities such as corn, wheat, or even livestock to a department Foundation account, instead of making a cash contribution after selling these commodities.

When this type of transaction is made, the Foundation will handle the sale with the local cooperative or grain elevator and the producer will not have the taxable income from the sale. This will minimize producer income taxation.

A producer should always consult with their tax advisor to determine the appropriate commodity contribution. Arrangements will also need to be made with the producer’s local cooperative or grain elevator to ensure proper documentation is provided regarding the grain transactions. Any questions you may have regarding this gifting option can be addressed to Allen Featherstone at afeather@ksu.edu or 785-532-4441; or Larry Fox, director of real estate for the Kansas State University Foundation, at larryf@found.ksu.edu or 785-532-7541 / 800-432-1578. 

Information is also available at this Department of Agricultural Economics web page regarding the commodity contribution option.

Craig Jagger earns Agricultural Economics' 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Dist AlumDuring the Student and Alumni Awards Banquet held October 11, 2013, Craig Jagger was presented with the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award is given to an alumnus who has demonstrated significant professional achievement related to agricultural economics or agribusiness.

During 27 years of government service in Washington, D.C., Jagger worked for ten years as Chief Economist for the House Committee on Agriculture, under two Republican and one Democratic Chairmen; five and a half years as a Principal Analyst for Agriculture at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO); and six years as the Wheat Program Analyst at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). He also held early career positions at the Government Accountability Office and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

While serving the Agriculture Committee, CBO, and FSA, Jagger helped analyze, write, and/or implement five farm bills, two crop insurance bills, and five budget reconciliation bills.

Jagger earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University, and at Kansas State University earned an M.S. in agricultural economics and a B.A. in technical theatre. He is the 2011 recipient of the Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. 
Upon retiring from government service in October 2012, Jagger founded Legis Consulting, LLC—a consulting practice focusing on agricultural and budget policies. 
Jagger has been married for 26 years to Joy Harwood who is Chief Economist for FSA. They have two daughters, Margaret, 13; and Caroline, 9.
Other Distinguished Alumni in attendance at the banquet were Rich Porter and Loren Kruse. Visit the alumni web page to view the video of undergraduate scholarship winners that was featured at the banquet.

Did you know our students blog?!

The first departmental study abroad trip blog site encompassed the experiences of a study abroad trip held the summer of 2013. Sean Fox, professor, led a group of students through Ireland. Kassie Curran, undergraduate student, was the lead blogger for this trip. View this and future study abroad blogs here.

McClaskey named Kansas Secretary of Agriculture

JackieGov. Sam Brownback (‘78) appointed Jackie McClaskey, a native of Girard, to serve as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture as of Dec. 10, 2013. McClaskey served as Deputy Secretary, an appointment Brownback made in July. She had previously served as an Assistant Dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture. She was named an Assistant Secretary in the Kansas Department of Agriculture in July of 2011.

"Jackie has been a wonderful asset for the Kansas Department of Agriculture," Brownback said. "Her extensive broad-based experience, along with her hard work ethic makes me confident she will do an outstanding job."

McClaskey earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at K-State in 1993, and her master’s degree in agricultural and food policy in 1995 at Texas A&M University. From the news office of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. 

Gattini named Paraguay’s Minister of Agriculture

K-State alumnus Jorge Gattini is Paraguay’s new Minister of Agriculture. Gattini, who in 1998 earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics at K-State, was sworn in Aug. 15 under 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.

Allen Featherstone, agricultural economics professor at K-State, served as Gattini’s professor during his graduate school work and oversaw his master’s thesis, ‘The Agricultural Financial System in Paraguay.’ The purpose of the project was to setup a financial system to allow farmers to get credit for purchase.

“I always knew Jorge would have a big future just from the interactions I’ve had with him as a student,” Featherstone said.

In an interview with a radio station in Paraguay prior to assuming his position, Gattini said the country is poor, but it is also poorly managed. He said things can be reviewed to see what has been done wrong.

Article contributions from The Manhattan Mercury, published September 9, 2013.

Wolters earns Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Two recent Kansas State University graduates – Molly Hamm, Kansas City, Mo., and Matt Wolters (Agricultural Economics, ‘03, Atwood, Kan. – are the recipients of the K-State Alumni Association Student Alumni Board’s 2014 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

The award recognizes two K-State graduates who are younger than 35 years old and are using the scholarship, leadership and service experience they acquired at K-State to excel in their professions and contribute to their communities.

The Alumni Association and Student Alumni Board will honor Wolters when he is on campus Feb. 24-26 to give keynote presentations and visit with student groups and university classes.

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, Wolters 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.

Wolters 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, Wolters served as a College of Agriculture ambassador as well as a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and Student Governing Association, among other roles.

For more on the Distinguished Young Alumni program, visit the website or call the K-State Alumni Association at 800-600-ALUM (2586).

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