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Master of Agribusiness

Feasibility Study: Converting a Conventional Feed Mill to Organic Production

Michelle Evosovich, Vancouver, Wash., defended her thesis, “Feasibility Study: Converting Conventional Feed Mill to Organic Production,” Thursday, October 27, 2005. Evosovich is a Quality Supervisor for Land O’Lakes in Portland, Oregon and is a former resident of Lowell, Ind. She graduated from Kansas State University in May with a Master’s in Agribusiness (MAB).

Due to the current growth, and apparent future growth, of the organic dairy market in the Pacific Northwest, Evosovich conducted research to determine the feasibility of converting a conventional feed mill to an organic feed mill production.

Dr. Hikaru Hanawa Peterson,  Evosovich’s thesis advisor, said, “The organic food sector has been the fasted growing segment in the US agriculture, and there has been quite a bit of buzz.  Yet, there is little academic research on organics.  So, she conducted original surveys.  A mail survey was administered to local organic grain and livestock farmers, and a web survey was administered amongst consumers in the region.  The survey responses provide a snapshot of the perceptions by organic farmers and consumers regarding the organic market, as of fall 2005, and they alone would be of interest to anyone interested in the organics.

As part of the study, Evosovich considered several likely scenarios of conversion and compared them to the status quo of not converting.  “Michelle’s analysis gave a solid basis in favor of the conversion.  Farmers and processors who are considering switching their operations to organic would benefit from some of her cost estimates involved in the conversion, which might not have been readily accessible,” Peterson said.

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness is an award-winning, distance education degree program that focuses on food and agribusiness management. Students in the program are located in 30 states within the United States and more than 15 countries abroad. They range in age from 25 to 55 and work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry.

About completing her thesis and the MAB program, Evosovich said, “The greatest reward from participating in the MAB program is the acquaintances I have made.  I have made many contacts in the agriculture industry which will serve as important contacts for the remainder of my career.  I’ve increased my business knowledge by 1000 percent, and I look forward to the opportunities that will become available because I have my Master’s in Agribusiness from Kansas State.”