Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Brazil Farmland Price Volatility in Distinct Production Regions

Emerson Wohlenberg, Porto Alegre, Brazil, defended his thesis, “Brazil Farmland Price Volatility in Distinct Production Regions,” on April 23.  Wohlenberg is a Market Analyst with SLC Agricola SA in Brazil. He is a May graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
Land is a fundamental input in agricultural production and the factors affecting land prices are an important topic in agricultural economics research. Land price volatility can be a source of problems for farmers and investors, especially in periods of falling prices in locations far from markets where the magnitude of land price reductions is higher than in locations closer to the end user of agricultural commodities.
“This study analyzes land price volatility in different geographical regions of Brazil. The hypothesis is that variation in land price increases with the distance to the market, indicating that land price changes will be more pronounced in areas far from markets and the effects of price cycles in land markets will increase as distance from the market increases,” Wohlenberg said.
Wohlenberg examined land prices in different regions of Brazil to determine the importance of soybean price as an indicator of land price. He then identified other factors influencing land price to create a model to determine land price volatility using distance to market and soybean prices.
His results supported the hypothesis that areas farther from markets are exposed to greater changes in land prices.
“The effect on price volatility was also stronger in periods of land price declines. These regions have greater incentives for expansion and investment in periods of land price increase and greater risks of disinvestment and failure in periods of land price contraction,” Wohlenberg said.
Wohlenberg’s results may have implications for all landowners, not just those in Brazil.
Dr. Allen M. Featherstone, Agricultural Economics Department Head and Wohlenberg’s thesis advisor, said, “The hypothesis that locations farther from the market are more susceptible to farm income changes has been confirmed in the U.S. land market.  Mr. Wohlenberg’s thesis examines and confirms this hypothesis in another important agricultural production region, Brazil.  If the agricultural economy enters a period of lower returns, it is likely that farmers in the newer production regions of Brazil will be more adversely affected than those in the older production regions that are closer to end users of agricultural commodities.”
The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17644

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Customer Satisfaction Impact

Kyle Patten, Cedar Falls, Iowa, defended his thesis, “Customer Satisfaction Impact,” on May 14. He is a summer graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
It is common for companies to use surveys to gauge customer satisfaction with brands, products and customer service. A variety of satisfaction metrics are established by companies to interpret survey responses. Patten’s thesis reviewed models used to evaluate the data.
“For a company to be successful, it is important to understand what customer satisfaction surveys convey about the company and brand. To fully understand the modeling characteristics used, I evaluated the existing models and processes and compared the appropriateness with different types of models,” Patten said.
Patten used an advanced statistical modeling approach he had not previously worked with to build upon skills provided in the MAB program’s econometrics and optimization courses.

“One of the goals of the Master of Agribusiness program is to challenge students and that was definitely accomplished with Kyle’s thesis,” Dr. Kevin Dhuyvetter, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Patten’s thesis advisor, said.  “Kyle took on the challenge to learn something new and apply it to a real-world situation, and based on what he learned he will make recommendations to his employer as to changes they might consider.”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

FDA Division of Animal Feeds Director Benz presents updates on Guidance 209, Guidance 213 and the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

Dr. Sharon Benz, Director of the Division of Animal Feeds within the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), presented at the Animal Health Industry Insights seminar hosted by Kansas State University's Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program on Wednesday, October 22 at the K-State Olathe Campus.

“With the changing environment surrounding animal health, it is vital that we are knowledgeable and engaged with the agencies that provide guidance and oversight to our industry. Dr. Benz provided the opportunity for Master of Agribusiness students to become familiar with the influence that the FDA has on our business decisions,” Justin Smith, MAB student and Deputy Animal Health Commissioner for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, said.

Dr. Benz gave an overview of the CVM and its responsibilities. The CVM ensures animal drugs are safe and effective before giving approval; monitors the safety and effectiveness of current animal drugs on the market; reviews animal and pet food for safety and labeling; ensures pet food additives are safe and have utility before approval; conducts research; and helps make more animal drugs legally available for minor species, such as fish and hamsters.

“Dr. Benz was very knowledgeable with an extensive background. Since canine nutrition is my passion, it was an extremely interesting presentation for me. I learned about FDA policies and procedures I did not know about and Dr. Benz was nice enough to answer questions afterward. Overall an enjoyable presentation!” Melissa Vogt, MAB student and Distance Learning Veterinary Technology Instructor at Colby Community College, said.
Dr. Benz also addressed current hot topics in the industry: types of new ingredients such as biodiesel derived glycerin and corn distillers’ oil from the ethanol industry; the Food Safety Modernization Act; and antibiotic use. Three new documents will govern the use of antibiotics and will have an effect on those working in the animal health and companion animal industry.  (1) Guidance 209 Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food Producing Animals, (2) Guidance 213 Implementation Principles for Guidance 209, and (3) the Veterinary Feed Directive Proposed Regulations (see below for descriptions of each document).

“Dr. Benz brought a wealth of knowledge to the forum by providing insight regarding the changes that the animal health industry will be experiencing with the implementation of the judicious use of antibiotics guidance 209 and guidance 213 begin,” David Yandell, MAB student and Senior Associate, Regulatory, Surveillance and Compliance for Elanco Animal Health, said.  “Dr. Benz highlighted the need for the judicious use of antibiotics in the industry and that the FDA-CVM, an agency dedicated to the health and safety of humans and animals, is helping to ensure they are available for use in the future.”

Dr. Benz is responsible for providing direction and oversight to the division, which monitors and sets standards for contaminants, approves food additives and oversees medicated feed and pet food programs. Prior to her appointment to director in 2004, Dr. Benz served as the Team Leader for the Nutrition and Labeling Team. In preparation for her work with the FDA, Dr. Benz was employed by the National Academy of Sciences, Board on Agriculture as the program officer for the Nutrient Requirement series bulletins on animal nutrient requirements. She holds B.S. from Penn. State University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Her training is in ruminant nutrition and mineral metabolism and requirements.
Guidance 209
·   Limit the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs to those uses considered necessary for assuring animal health
·   Use includes veterinary involvement/consultation
Guidance 213
·   Provides guidance for industry on the implementation of judicious use
·   Process for updating labels to remove growth/production uses
·   New therapeutic uses may be pursued
o Have a defined dosing duration
o Effective therapeutic dose level
o Be targeted as much as possible to the at-risk population
o Include veterinary oversight
Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)
·   VFD is an order by a veterinarian that allows the feeding of approved VFD drugs to animals
·   Medically necessary antimicrobial drugs will be converted from over-the-counter (OTC) to VFD drugs
·   VFD regulations are being revised to improve the efficiency of the VFD process

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

K-State Master of Agribusiness offers new course: Economic Issues in the Global Animal Health Industry

Kansas State University’s award-winning Master of Agribusiness program is offering an internet-based examination of the economics of the animal health and companion animal industry: AGEC 750, Economic Issues in the Global Animal Health Industry. The three-credit, online graduate course provides an interactive study of the economics and business challenges and opportunities confronting the animal health and companion animal industry.
“Economic Issues in the Global Animal Health Industry provides students with a fresh and innovative perspective on the animal industry from a global and a systems perspective. It conceives of the industry to encompass all decision-makers that influence animal health outcomes – manufacturers, pharmacists and compounders, distributors and retailers, regulators, veterinarians and animal owners,” Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and the course instructor said.
These issues are important because of the increasing trade in animal and livestock products and the sanitary and health risks they present, the changing regulatory environments as incomes increase around the world, and the increasing number of companies operating in multiple countries under multiple regulatory regimes.
“It is a unique course that comprehensively discusses the economic implications of the social, environmental, regulatory and competition issues confronting the animal health industry. Students get the opportunity to explore the relationships across these issues and leverage them to identify effective responses and discover ways to transform challenges into business opportunities,” Amanor-Boadu said.
Guest lectures from professionals in the animal health industry will provide first-hand perspective and insight into current issues and regulations.
The course is offered from December-March. It is open to anyone interested in the animal health sector. A bachelor’s degree and at least two years of professional experience are required. Students should plan to spend an average of five to seven hours per week on the class. This includes lectures, readings, online recitations and homework. To enroll, contact the MAB office at mab@ksu.edu or 785-532-4495.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Evaluating Financial Risk with Investment Guidelines

Lauren (Robertson) Kornmann, DeWitt, Iowa, defended her thesis, “Evaluating Financial Risk with Investment Guidelines,” on April 11. Kornmann is a May graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.
Due to the credit crisis of 2008, many global companies have adapted their investment policies to function successfully in an uncertain financial environment. Companies must look beyond traditional markets and international bank credit ratings to evaluate risk. Kornmann’s objective is to determine the optimal framework of measuring institutional risk and country risk that minimizes liquidity and operational risk while still meeting business growth needs.
“When evaluating current guidelines, the following investment principles should be considered: preserve principal, meet liquidity needs, deliver the best yields possible within the guidelines of this policy and market conditions, avoid inappropriate concentrations of investments, and provide fiduciary control of all investments and cash,” Kornmann said. “However, when investing, it is not always possible to optimize all of these objectives at the same time, so it must be determined which objectives should be given priority.”
By implementing a balanced process that regularly monitors current market indicators of counterparty risk, an organization will be in a stronger position to define and determine the potential risk.
Dr. Allen M. Featherstone, Agricultural Economics Department Head and Kornmann’s thesis advisor, said, “The upheaval in the global banking systems due to the U.S. housing crisis has caused many global companies to reconsider how they invest cash reserves in international banks. Traditionally, those measures have been updated on an annual basis. Ms. Kornmann explored a mechanism to update the measurement of fiduciary soundness of banks on a timelier basis, allowing management to have a more timely warning system to detect emerging soundness concerns.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Benz to present Animal Health Industry Insights Seminar at K-State Olathe

Kansas State University's Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program is hosting an Animal Health Industry Insights seminar on Wednesday, October 22 at noon at the K-State Olathe Campus.
Dr. Sharon Benz is the Director of the Division of Animal Feeds within the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.  She is responsible for providing direction and oversight to the division, which monitors and sets standards for contaminants, approves food additives and oversees medicated feed and pet food programs. Prior to her appointment to director in 2004, Dr. Benz served as the Team Leader for the Nutrition and Labeling Team. In preparation for her work with the FDA, Dr. Benz was employed by the National Academy of Sciences, Board on Agriculture and was responsible for the Animal Nutrition series bulletins on animal nutrient requirements. She holds B.S. from Penn. State University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Her training is in ruminant nutrition and mineral metabolism and requirements.
The seminar is open to the public, but attendees must register by October 15th at https://commerce.cashnet.com/KSUMABSTORE and pay the $50 registration fee that includes lunch.

For more information about the seminar contact Mary Bowen at 785-532-4435 or mjbowen@ksu.edu.

Monday, September 29, 2014

PS International Going from Private to Public Company and their Impact in the Organization

Alexandra Jecrois Madrid, Cary, NC, defended her thesis, “PS International Going from Private to Public Company and their Impact in the Organization,” on May 15.  Jecrois Madrid is an Agritrader with PS International Ltd in Chapel Hill, NC. She is an August graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
Founded in 1971, PS International (PSI) is an international trading company that specializes in trading bulk agricultural commodities with offices in the U.S., France, Mexico, China and Korea.
“PSI trading teams have years of experience sourcing products from a variety of international origins and negotiating the lowest prices. Many of the traders are native to the countries in which they have business relationships, allowing them to have a better knowledge of the client’s specific country and needs. Traders communicate fluently in over 13 languages,” she said.
Because international markets are always changing and evolving, PSI began looking for a partnership with either a private group or public corporation to provide continuity to the business. In 2010, the owners of PSI sold a portion of the company to Seaboard Companies, a publicly-traded firm with deep roots in grain and other agricultural products.
“We need to measure the changes that the acquisition of PSI by Seaboard brought to the organization, which among others are economies of scale, benefit tax, financial resources, entry in new markets, growth and expansion, meeting competition, and increasing market share,” Jecrois Madrid said. “The objective of my research is to determine the impact of changes in methodology applied for revenue recognition according the accounting system before and after the acquisition and how this influences the overall performance of PSI.”
Reviewing the differences in revenue recognition will allow PSI to provide accurate financial statements.

Dr. Allen M. Featherstone, Agricultural Economics Department Head and Jecrois Madrid’s thesis advisor, said, “Ms. Jecrois Madrid did a nice job of thinking through the differences in the revenue recognition between a closely-held firm and a publicly-traded firm.  Recognizing revenue when it is assured will produce a higher quality set of financial statements and provide traders a more accurate picture of profit per trade.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Market Segmentation to Become the Partner of Choice

Tara (Oliver) Deines, West Lafayette, Indiana, defended her thesis, “Market Segmentation to Become the Partner of Choice,” on April 3. She is a Senior Account Representative with The Anderson’s Inc., in Logansport, Ind. Deines is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
Increasing population and shifting dietary consumption habits have intensified competition within the agriculture industry. To remain successful companies must maximize opportunities with customers and expand into new territories to stay competitive.
“To maximize opportunities with each customer and remain competitive in new territories, it is necessary to develop a repeatable process. This process focuses on determining how to interpret customer preferences and behaviors quickly to make the company the first preference of choice for target customers,” Deines said.
The process she developed focused on two areas. Identifying the most loyal customers, and understanding the needs of customers to know how to fulfill and anticipate those needs.

Dr. Kevin Gwinner, Professor of Marketing and Deines’ thesis advisor, said, “The model and thought process that Tara put in place in her thesis will serve her company well in the future as it seeks to better understand market segments and how to best approach those markets with products and services.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jorge Gattini, Paraguay’s Minister of Agriculture, to Receive K-State Alumni Honor at Department of Agricultural Economics Banquet

Photo from ABC Color
Gattini will also give a guest lecture on the Manhattan campus.  

The Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics has announced that it will present an award to someone who has made his mark in Manhattan and abroad.
Jorge Gattini, Minister of Agriculture in Paraguay, will receive the department’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award is given to an alumnus who has demonstrated significant professional achievement related to agricultural economics or agribusiness.
On Wednesday, Sept. 24 Gattini will give a lecture about “Agriculture, Agribusiness and Rural Development in Paraguay.”  The lecture will be at 2:30 p.m. in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union.
Gattini will be honored at the department’s alumni and scholarship banquet on Friday, Sept. 26 at the Kansas Farm Bureau building in Manhattan, Kansas. 

Gattini was sworn in to his position as the Paraguay Minister of Agriculture on Aug. 15, 2013 under  President Horacio Cartes. He has held several positions mostly in the agriculture ministry's marketing department under three agriculture ministers.

He earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics at K-State in 1998, and a master's degree in applied economic environmental at the University of London, Imperial College.
Gattini came to Manhattan from Paraguay in a cultural exchange program with Kansas 4-H, staying for about a month during the early 1990s. The Kansas Paraguay Partners program was an international volunteer organization promoting people-to-people exchanges between Paraguayans and Kansans.

Allen Featherstone, department head and professor of agricultural economics, served as Gattini's professor during his graduate school work and oversaw his master's program, where he studied “The Agricultural Financial System in Paraguay.” The purpose of the project was to set up a financial system to allow farmers to get credit for purchasing inputs. 
“I always knew Jorge would excel in his future just from the interactions that I had with him as a student,” Featherstone said. “We are honored that he is coming back to visit the department and to accept this award.”

For more information, contact Amanda Erichsen at aerichsen@k-state.edu or 785-532-6994785-532-6994

Monday, September 8, 2014

Distribution of U.S. Beef Exports in the International Market

Heather (Luis) Tenhoff, Hastings, Nebraska, defended her thesis, “Distribution of U.S. Beef Exports in the International Market,” on April 15. Tenhoff is an Agricultural Commodity Meat Grader for the USDA in Hastings. She is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
The U.S. beef industry is comprised of genetics suppliers, beef producers, feedlot operators, beef processors, further processors, exporters, distributors, retailers and all of their supporting service providers. Whenever a situation disrupts the demand for beef, the effects are felt throughout the supply chain.
“Over the past two decades, the U.S. beef industry has faced many challenges. For example, the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), led to the closing of borders of exporting U.S. beef products to countries such as Japan and South Korea. This single event has created significant changes in the U.S. beef industry, at many levels of the supply chain. Additionally, there have been increasing changes in the domestic demand for beef products,” Tenhoff said.
Tenhoff reviewed the distribution of U.S. beef export value, volume and price have changed over the past two decades. By looking at how the industry has changed, she was able to identify countries that have emerged as important customers and how other countries have declined. Findings suggest that BSE did have a negative effect on the U.S. beef industry in terms of the value and volume, but did not have an impact on the price per pound of beef. East Asia had a larger impact than others when BSE was discovered and they closed their markets to U.S. beef, but other regions, such as Mexico and Canada captured U.S. beef exports.
The results of Tenhoff’s research will be helpful to the U.S. beef industry in developing an export market strategy.
Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Tenhoff’s thesis advisor, said, “Understanding the changes in the dynamics of trade with the discovery of BSE in December 2003 is critical in developing continuing strategy for the U.S. beef industry. This is important because sanitary and phytosanitary challenges are real issues that the food and agri-food sector has to deal with.”
The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17335

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Efficiency of Combine Usage: A Study of Combine Data Comparing Operators and Combines to Maximize Efficiency

Janel Schemper, Holdrege, Nebraska, defended her thesis, “Efficiency of Combine Usage: A Study of Combine Data Comparing Operators and Combines to Maximize Efficiency,” on May 2. Schemper is the Field Manager for Schemper Harvesting. She is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
 Schemper Harvesting is a family-owned and operated custom harvesting business that employs 20-25 seasonal workers. Fuel, labor and machinery are the biggest inputs in the custom harvesting business. As these costs have increased, so has the demand to increase efficiency and profitability. Understanding how to manage a custom harvesting business professionally and efficiently is the key to success.  With increased data availability due to precision agriculture, analyzing this data to increase efficiency becomes important.
 “Though precision agriculture is an additional expense for the business, when used correctly it can improve productivity and operators can increase their overall efficiency. With the availability of data, the costs and benefits of precision technology can be further evaluated,” Schemper said.
Schemper examined the data collected from John Deere’s JDLink™ system to assess the efficiency of each of the company’s seven combines. Factors considered included machine efficiency and the impact of different combine operators. The goal of her thesis was to determine how the data could improve Schemper Harvesting’s overall performance.
Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Schemper’s thesis advisor, said, “Big Data is upon us and this research begins to provide insights into how producers and related agribusinesses can exploit this resource to enhance their economic performance.”
The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17738

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Animal Health Industry Insights Seminar - Dr. Sharon Benz

Dr. Sharon Benz
FDA Center for Vet Medicine
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
12:00 - 2:30 p.m.
K-State Olathe Campus
22201 W. Innovation Dr.
Olathe, KS, 66061



Register online at https://commerce.cashnet.com/KSUMABSTORE $50 per person includes lunch at noon and the seminar from 1:00-2:30 p.m. with time for questions.

This event is open to all professionals in the animal health and companion animal industry.
Kansas State University’s Master of Agribusiness Program is hosting Dr. Benz for an afternoon of Animal Health Industry Insights, a professional development seminar at K-State Olathe. Dr. Benz is Director of the Division of Animal Feeds within the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Effects of Individual Crop Payments on the Cost of Food

Nicole Siderewicz Peter, Otsego, Minnesota, defended her thesis, “The Effects of Individual Crop Payments on the Cost of Food,” on April 21. Peter is the Senior Continuous Improvement Manager at Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC in Shoreview, Minnesota. She is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
Crop subsidies have long been a topic of discussion in the U.S. Corn, wheat and soybeans have been highly subsidized, and some argue that prices of these crops are influenced by subsidy payments. Peter conducted econometric analysis to determine the effects of the prices of the corn, soybeans and wheat have on the thrifty market basket for families of four. Pricing for the Thrifty Market Baskets are published by the USDA, factoring in transportation costs, market spread, agricultural technology advancements, and market value share.
“The thesis process provided an excellent learning opportunity to understand how intertwined the government is with the nation’s food network,” Peter said.
The regression model showed that fuel, farm to retail price spread for cereal grains and fruit, and farm value share of cereal grains all have an effect on the cost of food.
“The overall analysis supports previous studies that crop subsidies alone may not have impacted food prices per se, but biofuel policies may have had unintended consequences. Crop-specific results provide more information to consider when discussing implications of the farm policy,” Peter said.
As the effects of subsidies will continue to be debated and farm bills will continue to be written every five years, the true impact of direct payments on the cost of food will continue to be examined.
Dr. Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Peter’s thesis advisor, said, “Nicole pursued a research topic, not related at all to her current work, but of her interest.  Her thesis asks how, if any, commodity prices and other factors are affecting food prices in this country.  Her work contributes to the ongoing debate about impacts of the past Farm Bill on food prices and sets a stage to examine the impact of the recently signed 2014 Farm Bill. It was joy to see her ‘run’ with her research—Nicole took great initiative in seeking out all relevant historical data from the USDA sources and applied her coursework in econometrics to critique and justify the regression results.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17739

Monday, July 28, 2014

Business Continuity Management for an Agribusiness Company: A Case Study from West Africa

Tene Mouphtaou Toure, Windsor Mill, Maryland, defended her thesis, “Business Continuity Management for an Agribusiness Company: A Case Study from West Africa,” on April 14.  She is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 
Livestock Co. was established in 1963, shortly after the independence of Côte d'Ivoire, and was the first animal feed company of the city of Abidjan. It currently produces between 150,000-200,000 tons of feed grain. In April 2010, a grain silo at Livestock Co. burst spilling 850 tons of feed grain. Luckily, there were no injuries or damage to any of the other silos, but if it had been more extensive, the accident could have disrupted the company’s milling activities.
“Companies like Livestock Co. need a business continuity management (BCM) plan to minimize the adverse effects of any disruption to an organization’s activities and to ensure a rapid return to normalcy of operations.  A BCM plan will help local management know exactly what is needed to be done to safeguard employees, secure buildings, and protect customer information in the event of a catastrophic incident. Customers will be reassured and their confidence in the company’s ability to meet their needs are protected,” Toure said.
Toure studied Livestock Co.’s documentation on disaster management and recovery to develop a framework to enhance the ability to recover from two types of specific disasters that may have serious effects on operations.
Natural disasters considered were fires, accidents and political upheavals.  Technical disasters examined included labor crises, problems with infrastructure, and grain dust explosions.  Unlike natural disasters that are often uncertain, technical disasters can be predicted based on careful assessment of the environment or the assets. Toure’s research evaluated the process for developing a BCM plan and offered an implementation process to ensure smooth execution. 
Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Toure’s thesis advisor, said, “It is easy to overlook the low-probability high-consequence events that can significantly disrupt operations and cost the loss of resources. Tene’s work highlights the importance of business leaders embracing the process of business continuity management. This is particularly important for food and agribusinesses in Africa, which do not have a lot of slack in their operations.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17339

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Upcoming K-State Research and Extension Events

K-State Research and Extension is offering these events, available to all interested persons. For more information about these, as well as more localized events, check with your local K-State Research and Extension office.

Horticulture Events
* July 26 – Tomato Day – Wichita 316-660-0100
* July 26 – Hort Research-Extension Center Field Day – Olathe – 913-715-7000 or http://www.johnson.ksu.edu
* Aug. 9 – Business Management – Kansas City, Mo. – http://www.growinggrowers.org
* Aug. 13 – Horticulture Night – Colby – 785-4462-6281 or rzimmerm@ksu.edu
* Aug. 14 – Horticulture Night – Hays – 785-625-3425 x 222 or jbecker@ksu.edu
* Aug. 19 – Basic Lawn Care – Wichita – 316-660-0100 or http://lawncarefall.eventbrite.com
* Aug. 25 – Introduction to Cut Flowershttp://www.growinggrowers.org
* Aug. 26 – Dealing with Lawn Weeds – Wichita – 316-660-0100 or http://lawncarefall.eventbrite.com
* Aug. 28 – Back to Gardening (Lawn Care) – Manhattan 785-537-6350 or http://www.riley.ksu.edu
* Sept. 22 – Scaling Up/Packaging & Grading – Lawrence – http://www.growinggrowers.org

Agriculture Events
* July 31 – Combustible Grain Dust Prevention Workshop
– Kansas City, Mo. – www.grains.k-state.edu/igp/ or 785-532-4091
* Aug. 11 – Beef Conference – Erie – 620-223-3720 or cgp@ksu.edu
* Aug. 12 – Beef Conference - El Dorado – 316-321-9660 or dkehler@ksu.edu
* Aug. 12 – Beef Conference – Pratt – 620-886-3971 or tmarshal@ksu.edu
* Aug. 13 – Beef Conference – Newton – 620-382-2325 or rroberts@ksu.edu
* Aug. 14 – Beef Conference – Oakley – 785-743-6361 or rsbarrow@ksu.edu
* Aug. 14 – Beef Conference – Salina – 785-392-2147 or anruiz@ksu.edu
* Aug. 21-22 – Risk & Profit Conference – Manhattan - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Aug. 23-24 – Kansas Livestock Sweepstakes – Manhattan – 785-532-1264 or hbhawkins@ksu.edu
* Sept. 10-11 – Eastern Kansas Grazing School – Blaine – www.pottawatomie.ksu.edu or ajsexten@ksu.edu
* Sept. 25 – Beef Stocker Field Day – Manhattan – 785-532-5427 or http://www.KSUbeef.org
* Oct. 4-5 – Kaw Valley Farm Tour – Lawrence – http://www.kawvalleyfarmtour.org
* Oct. 7 – Ag Lenders Conference – Garden City - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Oct. 8 – Ag Lenders Conference – Manhattan - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Oct. 8-9 – Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference – Stillwater, Okla. – http://www.beefextension.com/genetics or mrolf@okstate.edu
* Nov. 4-5 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Garden City – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 5-6 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Colby – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 6-7 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Hays – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 11 – Crop Insurance Workshop – Brush, Colo. - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 12 - Crop Insurance Workshop – Grand Island, Neb. - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 13 - Crop Insurance Workshop – Salina - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 14 - Crop Insurance Workshop – Enid, Okla. - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 18-19 - MAST: Management Analysis & Strategic ThinkingManhattan - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Nov. 24-25 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Kansas City – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Dec. 1-2 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Wichita – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Dec. 2-3 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Salina – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Dec. 3-4 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Topeka – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Dec. 10-11 – Kansas Income Tax Institute – Pittsburg – 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
* Feb. 17-18 - MAST: Management Analysis & Strategic ThinkingManhattan - 785-532-1504 or rvl@ksu.edu
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

For more information:
K-State Research and Extension News Media Services
Elaine Edwards, Coordinator, elainee@ksu.edu               

Contributing writers:
Mary Lou Peter – mlpeter@ksu.edu
Katie Allen - katielynn@ksu.edu

Monday, July 21, 2014

Profitability, Risk and Business Plan for Hauger Farm


Michael Hauger, Gardner, defended his thesis, “Profitability, Risk and Business Plan for Hauger Farm,” on April 15. Hauger is a Senior Marketing Representative with John Deere Company in Olathe. He is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

After inheriting 40 acres of farm land in a corn, soybean and wheat rotation, Hauger faced decisions about the best use of the land. He compared the net income and risk associated with custom farming, cash renting, and crop-sharing to determine the best option.

“Since I live 500 miles away from the land, it is necessary to develop a business plan for the day-to-day management and decision making,” Hauger said. “At the same time, I wanted to choose an option that would maximize net returns after considering the risk of each option. After reviewing the net returns for all three options, custom farming provides the highest return in the long run.”

Hauger encourages other young land owners who inherit land to examine the pros and cons of alternative options before making a decision on how to manage the land. For those not concerned about risk and wanting to make the most income from the land, custom farming may be the best strategy. If the land owner would like to build a relationship with the tenant and make profits when yields and prices are good, the land should be crop-shared. Finally, for those who prefer a steady income and low risk, the land should be cash rented.

Dr. Bob Burton, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Hauger’s thesis advisor, said, “The outcomes of Michael’s thesis are applicable to other people who inherit farm land and are determining whether to custom farm, cash rent or crop share the land.”


The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17401.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Developing a Dealer Customer Support Center Strategy


Jarah (Casten) Hauger, Gardner, defended her thesis, “Developing a Dealer Customer Support Center Strategy,” on April 30. Hauger is a Dealer Development Specialist with John Deere Company in Olathe. She is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

To develop useful support tools and resources for dealers, Hauger was tasked with gathering information on the types of assistance offered by John Deere Dealer Customer Support Centers in North America. She surveyed Integrated Solutions Managers within North America to learn what dealers are currently offering and determine the barriers to offering additional customer support services.

“Customers with more technologically advanced products are requiring more support from the dealerships. Finding out what types of customer support dealers offer and which approaches work best will position John Deere to provide resources and support its dealer channels,” Hauger said.

The survey results reveal most dealers use a combination of several different methods to support customers including call centers, dedicated staff, data management services, and Remote Display Access.

Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Hauger’s thesis advisor, said, “There is no doubt that when dealers have the right support systems in place to provide first-class customer service, the whole ag equipment supply chain benefits from effective productivity enhancements.”

Friday, July 11, 2014

International Agribusiness Tour of Brazil and Argentina 2015- Update


The 6th MAB international agribusiness tour will be of Brazil and Argentina. Scheduled for February 20 - March 7, 2015, the trip includes stops at crop and cattle farms, as well as professional visits to agricultural and food related industries. Guided sightseeing tours will be arranged along with free time to explore Buenos Aires, the waterfalls at Puerto Iguazu, and Sao Paulo. Please go to http://www.mab.ksu.edu/Alumni/SAmerica15.html for an updated itinerary and pricing. We are currently accepting an $800 per person deposit.

Agriculture in South America
Participants on the trip will visit the very heart and soul of the MERCOSUR region’s agriculture and agribusiness. Touring farmlands and interviewing farmers, agribusiness executives and experts will allow trip participants to develop a firsthand understanding of MERCOSUR’s booming agriculture.

Allen Featherstone, director of the Master of Agribusiness program thinks people will enjoy getting a different perspective on agriculture. “While MERCOSUR is a direct competitor for U.S. agriculture, their perspective on many issues is very different than the U.S. perspective,” Featherstone said. “Understanding management challenges in a region that deals with turbulent macroeconomic conditions, no formal government support, and few formal insurance markets will provide a keen insight into one of the biggest challengers to the U.S. agricultural system. Understanding the process used by the South American livestock sector in dealing with animal traceability will also be educational.”

We hope you will join us as we explore all the region has to offer. For more information, contact Mary Bowen, mjbowen@ksu.edu or 785.532.4435 .

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Profitability Drivers of Farmer Cooperatives – A Dupont Model Analysis


Christopher Hines, Wright, defended his thesis, “Profitability Drivers of Farmer Cooperatives – A Dupont Model Analysis,” on April 10. Hines is the Elevator Manager at Offerle Coop Grain & Supply Co. in Offerle. He is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

For more than 100 years, farmer cooperatives have served area farmers as a place to store and market their grain and to purchase farm inputs.  Co-ops must make sound economic decisions to provide stable growth for their members.

“Identifying profitability drivers provides cooperative board of directors tools to compare themselves with other cooperatives of similar size in Kansas or other Midwestern states. They can also compare themselves to 2003, which was a difficult year when many cooperatives were under tremendous financial stress, and the profitable year of 2009 when cooperatives were having an excellent financial year,” Hines said.

Hines used the DuPont model to examine earnings, asset turnover ratio, and leverage of cooperatives that allows for calculation of a cooperative’s return on assets and return on equity to identify the key profitability drivers of farmer cooperatives of different sizes over time. Financial data was gathered on 246 Kansas and Midwestern cooperatives from 1996 to 2010. The model revealed profitability drivers in cooperatives include fixed and variable costs, sales volume, the amount of grain, fertilizer, feed and chemicals sold, and price.

Dr. Brian Briggemann, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Hines’ thesis advisor, said, “Chris examined the profitability drivers of farmer co-ops through time. His work should assist co-op managers and directors in assessing their financial position.”

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness (www.mab.ksu.edu) is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food, animal health and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food, animal health and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the United States and in more than 30 countries.

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17561.

Monday, July 7, 2014

K-State Announces New Agricultural Economics Department Head



The College of Agriculture at Kansas State University has announced Allen Featherstone as the new head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. He began his official appointment June 30.

"Dr. Featherstone brings prudent leadership, and a wealth of ideas, energy and experience to the position,” said John Floros, dean of K-State’s College of Agriculture. “The administrative team and I are happy that Dr. Featherstone accepted our offer, and we welcome him into our College’s Leadership Team. I am looking forward to working with him as he settles into his new role, and as he provides visionary leadership for our Department of Agricultural Economics.”

"The department has experienced 40 percent growth in its undergraduate programs in the last two years,” Featherstone said. “Certainly meeting student needs will be an important aspect to work on. In addition, the department is having several faculty with many years of service retiring, and hiring individuals to continue their legacy will also be very important.”


Featherstone joined K-State as a faculty member in 1986 and has since taken on several roles, including serving as the department’s interim head on two occasions in the last six years. He grew up on his family’s farm in Walworth, Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls with degrees in agricultural economics and economics, he completed master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics at Purdue University.

A professor of agricultural economics at K-State, Featherstone also currently directs the master of agribusiness (MAB) program and the department’s graduate program. He has advised more than 60 graduate students and has taught many undergraduate and graduate courses, including comparative food and agriculture systems, agricultural finance and risk management, to name a few.


Featherstone has helped bring nearly $1.5 million in research dollars to K-State in the 28 years he’s served as a faculty member. His research has encompassed an array of subjects within the area of agricultural economics, but his main specialty is agricultural finance. He is a renowned expert in land values and agricultural lending, and he serves on the research team for the bi-annual Ag Lender’s Survey, a nationwide survey of agricultural lending institutions that gauges short- and long-term expectations of the future lending environment.


As a leading agricultural finance scholar, Featherstone has conducted research on and provided assistance to the industry on mergers, loan loss severity, the influence of taxes on farm land and alternative federal tax systems.
Featherstone has published more than 120 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Journal of Applied Finance and Banking, and International Research Journal of Finance and Economics. He has also served as a co-author on several agricultural economics book chapters and reviews.

Featherstone is a member of many professional organizations such as the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, American Finance Association, International Association of Agricultural Economics, and the Kansas Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

At Kansas State, he is a current member of Faculty Senate and has served on the K-State Online College Advisory Council, Provost’s Compensation Task Force, Graduate School Grievance Committee, General Grievance Board, Graduate Council and Graduate School Readmission Committee.


Since 1999, he has served as the advisor to K-State’s chapter of Alpha Zeta, the oldest national agricultural honorary society for students and industry professionals. He has been awarded the United States Department of Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, Association for Continuing Higher Education Distinguished Credit Program Award, the K-State College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award, among others.

K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Katie Allen
K-State Research and Extension

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Research on Order Fulfillment Processing of a Multi-Zone Warehouse


Kurt Anderson, Sioux Center, Iowa, defended his thesis, “Research on Order Fulfillment Processing of a Multi-Zone Warehouse,” on April 16.  Anderson is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

When filling orders at warehouses, workers in multi-zone warehouses must often pick, package and ship items from different zones of the warehouse. The company’s business system needs to coordinate with the order fulfillment process to ensure efficient and timely order shipments. Inefficiencies in a multi-zone warehouse can create bottlenecks in the order fulfillment process.

“The company I reviewed for my thesis has a National Accounts department and an Early Order Program (EOP) through the marketing department. The EOP creates large orders within in the business system. Sometimes these orders are picked, but held for back-orders. Holding orders creates inefficiencies in the multi-zone warehouse,” Anderson said.

He reviewed the company’s order fulfillment system, multi-zone warehouse picking process, conveyor zone, final packing and shipping methods to identify areas where bottlenecks may occur. Identifying the issues allowed Anderson to make recommendations for improvement. Recommendations for a new order fulfillment process, and process maps showing the current flow of products were formulated from the results.

Dr. Keith Harris, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics and Anderson’s thesis advisor, said, “What started as exploratory research, ended with making a significant contribution to process improvement.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17405

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Direct Payment Subsidies and the Impact on Farm Land Prices: A Cross-Country Comparative Evaluation


Magnus Rupp, Rosenberg, Germany, defended his thesis, “Direct Payment Subsidies and the Impact on Farm Land Prices: A Cross-Country Comparative Evaluation,” on April 8. Rupp works for John Deere Company in Germany. He is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.

Agriculture subsidy policies and their effect on farmers around the world are regularly debated. Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is probably one of the most complicated pieces of EU policy, given the differences in farming practices and rural economies across EU member countries. The goals of the CAP are to give incentives to modernize Europe’s agricultural industry, raise farm productivity, maintain rural areas and introduce sustainable farming practices.

For his Master of Agribusiness thesis project Rupp compared wheat farms in Germany and the Czech Republic with U.S. and Australian wheat farms to determine if the CAP has an effect on land values, labor, machinery use, and other farm management decisions.

“My research looked at subsidies in general worldwide, as well as direct payments on a per farm basis. I found that direct subsidies can impact the profitability of a farm operation significantly. It is important to understand, that depending on where the farm is located and based on their cost structure, an operation can be profitable even though it might not produce the highest yields. It was also interesting that there is some evidence direct payments impact the land markets,” Rupp said.

Based on his comparison, he found EU agricultural subsidy policy is geared toward maintaining the rural countryside, as well as securing food production. In contrast, the U.S. policy is focused on crop insurance as a risk management tool. Rupp also noted EU operations show higher costs for labor and machinery, which decrease gains for increased yields. The final take-away from Rupp’s research is that it is difficult to demonstrate a direct impact of subsidies on land value, as value may be affected by the productive capacity of the soil, local climate conditions, and proximity to urban or industrial development, among other factors.

Dr. Mykel Taylor, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics and Rupp’s thesis advisor, said, “Magnus’ thesis was focused on the impact of direct subsidy payments to farmers in four countries. The most interesting result was the discovery that even though Germany and the Czech Republic are both EU member countries and pay the same subsidies to farmers, Czech land values are much lower. This may be a result of restrictions and uncertainty of property rights due to political institutions held over from the Soviet era.”
The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/17321.