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

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 or 785-532-4495.