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Doye serves as IFMA U.S. Vice President: A Global Perspective



Acting Agricultural Economics Department Head, Regents Professor and Sarkeys Distinguished Professor, Dr. Damona Doye recently traveled to Warsaw, Poland for the 19th International Farm Management (IFMA) Congress. Doye is the U.S. Vice President on the IFMA Council.

“(The) goal is to bring people from around the world together to talk about timely topics and issues related to farm management,” Doye said. “It’s also purposeful in including not only people involved in educational institutions, but also farmers and advisors to farmers. It’s a great combination of professionals interested in learning more about issues from a global perspective.”

The congress is held every two years in a different country. It is a five day conference which combines three days of meetings and seminars with two days of agricultural tours to farms and agribusinesses. This year there were 37 different countries represented; Doye said it was fascinating to go on the tours with people from these different countries. For example when the group visited a Polish dairy, participants, especially those from New Zealand and Ireland, were mentally comparing their production levels and budgets to the Polish dairies.

“It’s fun to make those comparisons and to see how similar producers and agriculture are around the world in other dimensions as well,” Doye said. “A black currant farmer we visited had three small tractors and he was pretty sure he needed to have at least three more. He is not unlike many U.S. farmers who also think they need more machinery and equipment.”

Outside of the congresses, the day-to-day work of the organization is primarily handled by the executive secretary. However, Doye still has several responsibilities. One of those is creating an annual country report for IFMA members, in which Doye gives her insights into what is happening domestically. Council members are also involved in the planning of future congresses, spreading the word about IFMA, and responding to opportunities which present themselves.

When asked what her favorite part of being involved in the IFMA organization is, Doye said, “Really, it’s being at meetings and visiting farms with people who have similar professional and personal interests, in farming and agriculture, from around the world. It’s given me a much broader understanding of global competitiveness, markets, and policies.”

A Twenty Year Difference
This year’s congress held special significance to Doye who said, “Poland was particularly of interest to me because I lived there in 1992. I worked on a USAID project to support emerging democracies. I had gone back for three weeks for a short term assignment in 1994, but it had basically been 20 years since I’d been to Poland. And seeing the changes was fascinating.”

Doye said there was clearly more money than there was 20 years ago. Some buildings were the same, but there were new roads, new cars, and the communist grey blocks of flats were painted with bright colors. The Polish people had also changed. She believes the country has more optimism, cooperation and entrepreneurship now.

“Twenty years ago it was a struggle to get people to talk about or think about producer cooperatives because the Communist version of cooperatives had a bad name,” Doye said. “New cooperatives are finding great success, for instance, in processing and marketing dairy products.”

Doye went on to say when she was there 20 years ago people were used to producing what the government told them to produce and delivering it wherever the government told them to take it. The development of better wholesale marketing structures has contributed to the increase in entrepreneurship.

When asked how the production agriculture had changed in the last 20 years, Doye said there are fewer sugar beets grown. The dairy industry had also grown significantly, even though there are quotas the farmers must follow as part of the European Union.

“Every dairy producer we talked to said that they are going to expand production once the quotas are lifted. The people from Ireland and everywhere else said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do the same.’ It will be interesting to see what happens to the world market for milk in 2015 when the quotas come off in the EU,” Doye said. “The people from New Zealand are particularly interested in it because right now they account for a large part of the (milk) export market.”

Doye finished by saying you never know what you’re going to learn at the congresses. The Council encourages more people to come experience what IFMA has to offer at the next congress, set to be held in Canada in 2015.

Caption
Pictured from left to right: Tony King, honorable secretary (U.K.); Edward Majewski, IFMA 19th conference organizer (Poland); John Alliston, past president (U.K.); Abele Kuipers, director (Netherlands); Malcolm Stansfield, patron (U.K.); Frikke Mare, council member (South Africa); Rob Napier, vice president (Australia); Damona Doye, vice president (U.S.); David Hughes, director (Argentina); Brian Jacobsen, director (Denmark); Trevor Atkinson, president (U.K.); Grace Evbuomwan, director (Nigeria); John Gardner, director (New Zealand); Terry Betker, director (Canada).

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