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Master of Agribusiness

Manhattan 2007 - MAB in the Heartland

The Master of Agribusiness’s second alumni professional development event was held in Junction City and Manhattan, KS in April. Participants engaged industry leaders and fellow classmates to learn about and discuss the future of biofuels, biosecurity in the United States, the Farm Bill and the experience of farming without subsidies in New Zealand, and hear perspectives of international agribusiness from MAB students and alumni.

Below you will find thoughts from MAB Alum Keith Kennedy, Manager & Owner, Agrimind LLC, MAB Class of 2005, a speaker and member of the planning committee.

"Those of you that were unable to attend the MAB In The Heartland, April 19-21, 2007, missed a great event that allowed alumni and students to regain the broad and deep perspective that we all had during the MAB program. It was also great to renew old friendships with classmates and make to acquaintance of other members of the MAB program.

The first day began on Thursday afternoon with Drs. Kastens and Dhuyvetter discussing whether biofuels are here to stay or a passing fad. Randy Schlatter, with Pioneer, discussed linking seed to energy production, as well as biobutanol production. Dr. Featherstone spoke with us about ethanol production in Brazil. Bob Copher of Koch Industries concluded the formal discussion on Thursday, followed by a group discussion—in the spirit of discussion during trade policy or leadership classes.

We spent Friday morning visiting the recently constructed Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Pat Roberts Hall. We certainly gained an appreciation of the breadth of physical food safety and security issues that can be researched, when BRI is fully operational. The visit to BRI was followed by lunch at the Kansas Farm Bureau. A DVD  narrated by Dr. Kastens, introduced the discussion by MAB students Joel Phelps, Marcella Warner, Dr. Kastens and myself about the MAB trip to Russia in August 2006. Ted Monoson, ag staffer with U.S. Rep. Boehner, began discussion of issues surrounding the 2007 (Maybe!) Farm Bill, with Terry Holdren giving the Farm Bill perspective of the Kansas Farm Bureau. It was fortunate that Dr. Keith Woodford, Lincoln University, New Zealand, was scheduled for later that afternoon, otherwise point and counterpoint regarding the Farm Bill would likely have continued for the remainder of the afternoon. Via distance technology, Dr. Woodford discussed the New Zealand experience of farming without subsidies.

Leah Suellentrop and Walter Von Muhlen Filho concluded presentations on Saturday morning detailing their involvement with international agribusiness. Although I was unable to attend the final event, the Spring Football Game, I assume that K-State won!

For those of you who were unable to attend, I hope each of you is able to make time to attend the next MAB Alumni Event; it will certainly help you to regain knowledge about aspects of agribusiness that are no longer your primary focus, but still important perspectives about global agribusiness."