Agricultural Economics Newsletter

Fall 2009
Annual Ag Econ Tailgate
October 31,2009

  Notes from the Department Head

Welcome to the fall 2009 issue of Agricultural Economics News. We hope you enjoy the recent news regarding our students, faculty, and the department.

We are very fortunate to have outstanding students in both our undergraduate and graduate programs. It is a real pleasure to interact with these students as they learn and advance in their professional careers.

Thanks to all of you who support the department in so many ways. Your encouragement means much to all of us, and we appreciate you. We hope to see you at Homecoming, the Aggie-X tailgate event, or any time you are on campus.

Mike Woods, Head


  Undergraduate Student News

Ag Econ students selected to top 10 freshman lists

Five agricultural economics department students were included in the ten top freshman men and top ten freshman women lists announced by OSU’s Mortar Board at the September 19 football game.

Among the top ten freshman women are:
• Haley Baumgardner, Agribusiness, Carrier
• Carly Schnaithman, Agribusiness, Garber

Among the top ten freshman men are:
• Garrett Blake Jackson, Agricultural Economics, Hartshorne
• Randy Gordon, Agribusiness, Taloga
• Ryan Ramseyer, Agricultural Economics, Wichita, Kansas

Mike Woods, Department Head, states that while we had less than 2% of the OSU freshman class in the agricultural economics department last year, we had 25% of the top freshman men and women.

Dr. Shannon Ferrell serves as the advisor for all of these students. He says, “The fact that year after year, so many of our University’s highest achievements are won by Ag Econ students speaks volumes about this department. When our best and brightest students are looking for a department with outstanding faculty and staff that create an environment where the student can thrive, they come here.”

Ag Econ senior wins Outstanding Senior Award at WAEA

Katy Shayne Brookman (Hollis) received the Outstanding Senior Award at the Western Agricultural Economics Association Annual (WAEA) Meeting. According to Dr. Bailey Norwood, Katy received the award for her exemplary studies in agricultural economics. The WAEA presents this award to one student in each agricultural economics department. In addition to her high grades and many honors, she wrote a research paper on the determinants of retail beef prices at various locations. This paper was published in Feedstuffs Companion. The WAEA found the research behind the paper quite sophisticated and judged the paper to be superbly written. Katy is continuing her studies as a graduate student at Oklahoma State University.

Ag Econ student named OSU 2009 Homecoming King

For the second year in a row, an Ag Econ student reigns as OSU Homecoming King. Tyler Powell (AgriBusiness Senior, Guthrie) was named king during half time ceremonies at the Missouri game. Also nominated for king were Ag Econ students Travis Schnaithman (Agribusiness Senior, Garber) and Ben Davis (Agribusiness/Finance Senior, Guthrie) making three out of the five men nominated by the OSU Homecoming Committee as members of the 2009 Homecoming Royalty Court.

Students interested in becoming homecoming royalty are required to fill out an application based on achievement, scholarship and leadership. They then complete a preliminary interview to narrow the groups to 15 applicants. A final interview that centered on honors, activities, poise, confidence and overall interview skills is used to select the top five. A mixer with the judges follows this interview.

Selection for the homecoming court is based on scholastic excellence, campus activities and a genuine desire to represent OSU and the OSU Alumni Association as an ambassador.

Tyler and his queen will serve as ambassadors to the Alumni Association until the following Homecoming in 2010. Ag Econ student Austin Horn (Yukon) has served as king since homecoming 2008.

Aggie-X Tailgate scheduled for October 31

The second annual Aggie-X tailgate is scheduled for October 31 prior to the OSU-Texas football game. The tailgate will once again be held on the northeast side of Ag Hall. As we go to press, the kickoff time has not yet been determined. The tailgate will begin three hours prior to kickoff.

Aggie-X Back-to-School Bash
(Submitted by Kyle Slagell)

On September 1, 2009, Aggie-X had our first get together of the year at Boomer Lake. We had a great turn out with 60 students and about 10 Faculty members. The weather was beautiful and Dr. Peel did a great job grilling as usual. It was a great time getting to know some of the new members, catching up with old friends, socializing with faculty, and getting to know more people. Thank you faculty for giving your time and efforts!

Aggie-X News
(Submitted by Kyle Slagell)

This year I am very excited about the many things that we as a club have going on. We had our first meeting on October 6, which was a huge success! We had about 65 students present. Dr. Mike Woods, head of the Ag Econ department, spoke and gave a history of the Ag Econ department. Dr. Schatzer and Dr. Campiche spoke and shared with us some of their history and explained how they came to be faculty members at OSU. All three were very interesting, and we were happy to have them with us.

At the end of October, we have a few events that we are very excited about. On the 30th we will be having a Halloween party. The members are encouraged to dress up and bring a toy as their admission. The toys will be saved and used for the Toys for Tots collection at one of the football games. And finally, our last event for the month is the 2nd Annual Aggie-X Tailgate! We are very excited about this and want to strongly encourage all Ag Econ alumni to come and enjoy some great food and fellowship with current students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The tailgate will be located on the north side of Ag Hall. The tailgate will begin 3 hours before kickoff for the Texas game. We truly hope that you all can make it! If you have any questions at all feel free to call (405) 542-7179 or email me at Like I said don’t hesitate to call or email me at anytime if you have questions. Hope to see you all there!


  Graduate Student News

Student wins scholarship award

Dr. Jae Bong Chang (South Korea) has won the Food Distribution Research Society’s 2009 William Applebaum Memorial Scholarship Award for his PhD dissertation entitled Three Essays on Modeling Consumer Demand.

According to Dr. Jayson Lusk, Jae Bong Chang’s advisor, “Jae Bong has been an outstanding Ph.D. student. His dissertation work provides insight into what drives consumer purchases of food products. He showed that laboratory experiments with consumers can do a good job of predicting actual shopping behavior. He also showed that a primary factor affecting people’s demand for organic food is the perception that people believe small farmers derive a larger benefit from selling organics as compared to conventional food.”

Graduate students given scholarships, fellowships and awards for Fall 2009

The following students received scholarships, fellowships, and awards for the Fall 2009 semester:

The Spielman Scholarship
• Kate Brooks - PhD
• InBae Ji - PhD
• Deepayan Debnath - MS
• Brenna Ellison- MS

The Leo and Betty Blakley Graduate Fellowship
• Kate Brooks - PhD
• Samarth Shah - PhD





The Leonard F. Miller Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in International Rural Development
• Sijesh Aravindhakshan - PhD
• Mohua Haque - PhD
• Phumsith Mahasuweerachai - PhD

The Willard Sparks Graduate Student Paper Competition Award
•Phumsith Mahasuweerachai - PhD - First Place
• Kate Brooks – PhD - Second Place






Anh Vo completes summer internship for C-FARE
(Submitted by Anh-Vo)

My internship with the Council on Food Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) was one of the most memorable career-related experiences I have had thus far. In the past, I have had the opportunity to work at various places within the public and private sector. But this internship stands alone among other positions.

The internship allowed me to work on a variety of projects, from composing briefing documents for constituents meeting congressmen, to writing a report for the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Program. In addition, I attended meetings and intern briefing events that were hosted by C-FARE and the Economic Research Service (ERS), which exposed me to professionals and peers within the Agricultural Economics field.

The report for SARE is part of a two-year research project that was created through collaboration between C-FARE, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). My internship took place during the summer of the second year. The objective of my report was to provide agricultural information useful to regional SARE directors using Agricultural Census Data.

During the summer, I collected and analyzed Census data and worked closely with my director and others from CSREES. Initially, the task was challenging, for a myriad of information is available from the Census. Pin-pointing a particular topic was not immediate. Communicating effectively between organizations was essential to the success of the report, and cooperation from those from CSREES, NASS, and C-FARE made it easy.

Through the internship, I fine-tuned my communication and networking skills. I acquired a different perspective from that of a student within the agricultural economics profession. I applied my research and writing skills. Most importantly, I developed a rapport with people working in the agricultural economics profession that will continue beyond my internship. This invaluable experience left me with a positive outlook on a career as an agricultural economist.

Graduate students serve as officers for AAEA Graduate Student Section

Two Ag Econ graduate students served as officers of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Graduate Student Section this year: Shannon Sand as President, and Anh Vo as Secretary/Treasurer.

New graduate students for Fall 2009

The department welcomes 10 new graduate students (not identified in the spring 2009 newsletter) for the fall semester:
• Rock Andre, MS, Haiti
• Tyler Klain, MS, North Dakota
• Hanna Lawson, MS, Missouri
• Kelsey Lee, MS, Kansas
• Yoonsuk Lee, PhD, South Korea
• Melissa Maher, MAg, Georgia
• William Robertson, MS, Oklahoma
• Folakemi Sobowale, MAg, Nigeria
• Eyosiyas Tegegne, MS, Ethiopia
• Pilja Vitale, PhD, Oklahoma
One new student, Mallory Vestal (PhD, Tulia, Texas) joined the department in the summer session.

Dissertation/Thesis topics

Summer 2009

Effect of Corn and Soybean Meal Price on Profitability of Control vs. Phytase Enhanced Diets of Finishing Pigs, Ajita Atreya, Thesis

Poverty in Nepal: A Case Study of Chokmangu Village of Panchthar District, Januka Devi Dhungel Khanal, Creative Component

Tillage Practices in Oklahoma: Producers and Farms Spatial/Regional Characteristics, Abdoulaye Ibrahim Mahamane Djido, Thesis

Economic Analysis On Animal Manure; Static And Dynamic Approaches, Cox Non-Nested Test, And Optimal Nitrogen Rates For Grasses, Seongcheol Park, Dissertation

Preferences For Environmental Quality Under Uncertainty And The Value of Precision Nitrogen Application, David Roberts, Dissertation

Summer 2009 Graduate Student graduates

• Ajita Atreya, MS
• Januka Dhungel, MS
• Abdoulaye Djido, MS
• Seongcheol Park, PhD
• David Roberts, PhD



  Graduate students enjoy the Ag Econ departmental picnic at Lake Carl Blackwell.


  Faculty News

Faculty and students attend Annual AAEA Meeting

Ag Econ faculty and students participated in the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Milwaukee in July:

Ten presentations for selected papers or track sessions were made by faculty members and students, three posters were presented, and nine faculty members served as organizers/moderators of selected paper sessions or track sessions.

The undergraduate quiz bowl team, consisting of six students, participated in the quiz bowl competition.

Dr. Jayson Lusk, with Christiane Schroeter, and Wallace Tyner, won the Best Paper Award, Food and Safety Nutrition Section for “Determining the Impact of Food Price and Income Changes on Body Weight” published in the Journal of Health Economics.

Several department members hold positions in AAEA: Dr. Damona Doye seves as a Director. Dr. Clem Ward serves as Submitted Articles Editor for Choices Magazine.

Master Cattleman Program wins award at WAEA meeting

At the Western Agricultural Economics Association (WAEA) meeting in June, the Master Cattleman program was named the Outstanding Extension Program. Dr. Damona Doye and Dr. David Lalman (Animal Science) serve as program directors. Other program members are Dr. Kellie Raper, Dr. Clem Ward, Dr. Derrell Peel, Dr. Glenn Selk (Animal Science), and Dr. Chris Richards (Animal Science).

Faculty members serve on committees

Dr. Cheryl DeVuyst serves as chair of the Undergraduate Teaching Awards Committee, and Dr. Clem Ward, Dr. Eric DeVuyst, and Dr. Jayson Lusk serve on the Distinguished Scholar Award Selection Committee. Dr. Eric DeVuyst also serves on the Finance Committee, and Dr.’s Lusk and Eric DeVuyst serve as Directors for WAEA.

Faculty members present sessions at CODA meeting

Dr. Larry Sanders, Dr. Dave Shideler, and Dr. Notie Lansford presented sessions on topics related to the current economic situation at the Oklahoma County Officers and Deputies Association meeting in Oklahoma City in September.

Dr. Sanders and Dr. Shideler presented “What ‘Seized Up” the National Economic Engine and Will it ‘Stall-Out’ Oklahoma.

Dr. Lansford, assisted by Local Government Specialist Sherri Schieffer, discussed “Challenges for ‘Fueling’ Individual County Governments.”

2009 Grandparents University features Agribusiness course

Dr. Kim Anderson, JC Hobbs, and Gracie Teague developed an Agribusiness degree program for OSU Alumni Association’s Grandparent’s University program. Since 2003, the OSU Alumni Association has welcomed OSU legacies, ages 7 to 14, and their grandparents to campus for a unique intergenerational learning experience at Grandparent University. This three-day summer camp is a fun-filled experience that actively engages kids in academics at OSU while creating memories for grandparents and their grandchildren. Each grandchild was awarded an Agribusiness Diploma from OSU-GPU.

Anderson, Hobbs, and Teague used a computer based farm and ranch game to allow users to experience the thrill of success and the agony of defeat as they managed a 1,280 acre wheat, sorghum, cotton, and stocker farm and ranch. Participants made the same production, marketing, and financial decisions that their grandparents had made when managing their farms and ranches. FARRM is the computer-based game that uses actual (historical) yields, rates of gain, prices, and costs that Oklahoma farmers and ranchers have faced over the last 30 years.


Faculty members host picnic for staff, graduate students, and emeriti

The annual Agricultural Economics departmental picnic, hosted by department faculty members, was held at Lake Carl Blackwell October 3. Good food and good fun was enjoyed by staff, emeriti, graduate students, and families. The main course was a roasted pig accompanied by side dishes and desserts provided by faculty members. Dr. Derrell Peel, chair of the social committee, and committee members Dr.’s Kelly Raper, Jody Campiche, Eric DeVuyst, and Shannon Ferrell helped organize the event.

Emeriti and families attending were Pat and Sam Schaefer, Darrel and Meg Kletke, Gordon and Jane Sloggett, and Clem Ward.

A roaring fire in the fire place helped warm up the chilly temperatures and provided the heat for making s’mores for the “youngsters” at the end.

Clem Ward Retirement

Dr. Clem Ward, a member of the Agricultural Economics Department faculty since 1978, was honored at a Retirement Seminar and Reception October 9. Dr. Ward spoke on “Reflections on a Career: From Little-Known Influences to Professional Highs and Lows.”

In reflecting on his career, he shared events that were turning points, like the time he was preparing for the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Army decided he should do something else. He also told how Dr. Leo Blakley was responsible for him coming to OSU, another turning point.

Dr. Ward is internationally recognized as an authority on U.S. meat industry structure and competition. Throughout his career, he has maintained active extension and research programs with a legacy of industry and university service, research and publications. He has advised and mentored many graduate students and has been a valued colleague to many agricultural economics professionals.

He was involved in the design and development of the popular Packer/Feeder computer game, which has been used extensively by student and adult extension audiences across Oklahoma and the nation.

Dr. Ward commented about himself, “I never tried to be the best at anything, but I tried to do the best I could at everything I did.”



Oklahoma congressman recognized as Friend of Agricultural Economics

Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas was recently recognized as a "Friend of C-FARE and Agricultural Economics" by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE). Congressman Lucas was honored, along with Congressman Chet Edwards from Texas, for his appreciation of the application of economics to policy issues involving agriculture, natural resources, food, and nutrition topics. C-FARE Chair, Dr. Jon Brandt from North Carolina State University stated, “Our profession is grateful to both Members for their continued appreciation of economic analysis to improve public policy.”

Dr. Mike Woods, Ag Econ Department Head, who presented the honor to Congressman Lucas stated, “Since taking office in 1994, Congressman Lucas has maintained a strong linkage with the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics.” He added, “In his second term, Mr. Lucas established an agricultural policy internship and has provided funding and training for undergraduate agricultural economists, many of whom obtained graduate degrees and now work in D.C. in policy related areas. Mr. Lucas continues to mentor many of these former interns.”

The Council on Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics (C-FARE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the national presence of the agricultural economics profession. C-FARE's governing board includes prominent agricultural economists representing a wide range of public and private sector interests.


Ken Starks selected as DASNR Distinguished Alumnus

Ken Starks, a 1976 BS and 1978 MS graduate of the Department of Agricultural Economics has been selected as a DASNR Distinguished Alumnus this year. He was recognized at several functions during Homecoming Weekend including a reception hosted by the Department of Agricultural Economics.

Mr. Starks is a regional executive vice president for BancFirst, and he has served as a bank president, a commercial lender, an agricultural loan officer, a trust officer, and more during his almost 30-year banking career. He has also served OSU in many capacities throughout the years. He has been an active member of the Foundation Board of Governors and Athletic Council, and has served on the DASNR Dean’s Advisory Council since 1997. He served as an OSU Cooperative Extension area farm management specialist from 1978-79. His leadership roles in the community include the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and the Stillwater Education Foundation.

Mr. Starks has been a positive presence in local FFA and 4-H programs, helping many youth get started in swine production through his own swine enterprise. He has also mentored many OSU students interested in finance and banking through internships and employment opportunities.


  Other News

Room 417 in Ag Hall renovated for Student Center facilities

Several months of renovation construction were recently completed on the new Department of Agricultural Economics Student Center on the fourth floor of Ag Hall. The lounge area next door to the center also received new furnishings. Anna Whitney, Specialist, and Ginny Cornelsen, Administrative Support Assistant II, currently office in the new center. The center has been a vision of the department for about five years.

According to Anna, “the Student Center’s purpose and function is to serve as a centralized location for both our undergraduate and graduate students, not as an advising center.” She states, “We are very excited to have a student center in the department. The department had a vision several years ago to build a student center, and this fall semester it has become a reality. Both our undergraduate and graduate students now have a central location in the department to go for student services. Our students are very complimentary and excited about the center as well. Our students are the most important part of this renovation.”

Ginny talks about the new center, “The creation of the student center has been an exciting addition to the agricultural economics department. It has definitely given us something to be proud of. Several students have come in just to look around. Others have offered their congratulations and commented that they are glad to have a central location within the department where they may come for assistance.

The student center will also provide a nice “waiting room” for parents and/or students on those enrollment days when we have ten to twenty enrollees at a time wanting to speak to advisors. In the past, they have had to wait in the hall, sitting on uncomfortable chairs or standing. With the addition of comfortable seating in Room 417 and Room 419, this should no longer be the case. While waiting in the student center, the staff may be able to help answer general questions which the students and/or parents might have about the department, class options, work study programs, and directions around campus.

Other exciting plans are in the works which will hopefully make things flow even more smoothly in the future. I hope that anyone who has not been to visit the student center will do so. We welcome anyone at any time.”

A reception for the New Student Center and Student Lounge Reception will be October 30 from 2-4 pm. Announcements will be made at 2:30pm.

 Upcoming Events

Scholarship Banquet

The Agricultural Economics Department and Aggie-X Club Scholarships and Awards Banquet will be Saturday, April 17, 2010, at 5pm in the International Exhibit Hall, WWCITD.


Newsletter Contributors

Yumiao Sun, Web Developer
Judy Rudin, Communications Specialist
Anna Whitney, Student Services Specialist