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