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Master of Agribusiness

Creating Value with Equity Management at Ag Valley Cooperative

Kevin Nielsen, Oxford, Neb., defended his thesis, “Creating Value with Equity Management at Ag Valley Cooperative,” on November 16, 2012. Nielsen is the Director of Human Resources for Ag Valley Cooperative in Oxford, Neb. He graduated from Kansas State University in December with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

Cooperatives have maintained advantages over other forms of businesses because patrons own the company and have a stake in the cooperative’s success. When cooperatives make money, some of it can be returned to farmers that are members of the co-op.

“The thesis allowed me an opportunity to provide research-based recommendations to my employer, Ag Valley Cooperative. The project engaged Ag Valley’s management team and created a tremendous learning opportunity and understanding of the cooperative business model,” Nielsen said.

To remain relevant in today’s economy, agricultural cooperatives like Ag Valley Cooperatives must not only continue to evolve by providing goods and services required by farmers, but also provide increasing value and equity for their farmer patrons. Nielsen conducted a financial analysis and pro forma projections to construct an income distribution and equity redemption strategy for Ag Valley Cooperative.

David Barton, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Nielsen’s thesis advisor, said, “Kevin did an outstanding job researching previous work in the field of cooperative finance and developing a research project that addressed the critical financial issues facing his company. He used a state-of-the-art financial analysis and financial projections in combination with board and executive management advice to provide recommendations for future financial policy. His work is expected to have a significant impact on improving the financial policies of his company and maximizing the benefits to the patron-owners of Ag Valley Cooperative.”