Tag Archives: AAEC

Virginia Tech students interview farmers in Ecuador on conservation agriculture

Michael Barrowclough, Casey Gresham, Frankie Dowd, Stephanie Myrick, Amy Hubbard, and Catherine Goggins

From left: Michael Barrowclough, Casey Gresham, Frankie Dowd, Stephanie Myrick, Amy Hubbard, and Catherine Goggins

Six undergraduate students from Virginia Tech traveled to Ecuador in May and June to conduct research on conservation agriculture. Their research was part of a collaborative program among agricultural scientists and students from Ecuador and the United States. The program is led by Virginia Tech and is part of a sustainable agriculture project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The purpose of project is to design and test conservation agriculture practices on limited-resource farms. These practices include minimum tillage systems, cover crops, and crop-residue retention. The students spent two weeks in Quito fine-tuning their language skills before traveling to Guaranda in Bolivar province where they conducted a survey of farmers in the Chimbo watershed.

The survey obtained farmers’ views on various factors affected by conservation agriculture such as yields, costs, labor use, erosion, soil organic matter, and risk. The purpose of the survey was to assess the importance that farmers place on these factors. The data will be used by graduate student Michael Barrowclough in his Ph.D. dissertation. The students interviewed more than 200 farmers under the guidance of Barrowclough and professors from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. At the end of the program, the students presented their results to the farmers in the upper part of the watershed. Catherine Goggins, a junior in AAEC, said, “Getting to meet many individuals and families was a clear highlight. Even though the interviews were short, I feel privileged to have met and worked with so many nice people. And the whole experience put students in a great position to learn a lot first hand, through the development of the survey, Spanish lessons, survey distribution, and discussions.”

The trip was not all work. On weekends, the students visited other parts of the country such as the coast, Baños, Otavalo, and the equator. They also climbed the Chimborazo volcano. Student Frances Dowd said, “I really liked how we were not babysat. I enjoyed being able to work collaboratively on different aspects of the project and to travel to other areas. The trip was an amazing experience.”

Students said they gained insights from the experience about farming in Ecuador and their future as well. Casey Gresham, a student from Urban and Regional Planning, said, “As someone studying international development who had never been to a developing country, this experience was a must for me. It really allowed me to discover my strengths and weaknesses when working on a project abroad, and it assured me that I chose the right degree path and interest. I absolutely loved the experience.”

AAEC senior Stephanie Myrick said, “I really feel a great connection and understanding of farming in Ecuador and the troubles they face. I enjoyed talking to the farmers every day. It gave me a great perspective on global issues and the similarity of farmers in Ecuador and America.”

“I enjoyed being able to use both majors, Spanish and Ag Econ, every day. I thought the Spanish lessons to prepare students for the survey aspect of the trip was key in understanding and getting adjusted to the culture, accents and new surroundings. Another positive aspect was working with the local scientists; they were very helpful and fun to be around. It was a great experience to get a sense of the true non-tourist side of Ecuador,” said Catherine O’Donnell, a junior studying Spanish and agricultural and applied economics.

The program was funded by Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (SANREM) program at Virginia Tech with Funds from USAID, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, AAEC, and the University Honors program. Faculty members on the trip were Jeff Alwang, Darrell Bosch, and George Norton.

Posted in Past Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

AAEC welcomes Kim Morgan

The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics is pleased to welcome Assistant Professor Kim Morgan. Morgan is heavily involved with Extension programs, including Market Ready Training, Annie’s Program, and eXtension All About Blueberries Community of Practice.

Morgan said, “My extension program goal is to pursue multi-disciplinary, research-based, grant-funded research that serves to drive my extension programs and support collaborative work with students, colleagues, and advisory groups. To meet that goal, I intend to center my programs on productive projects motivated by input from Virginians and designed and delivered by teammates with the shared desire to build local-regional-national interdisciplinary programs and publications that have measurable impacts for the citizens of our state. My extension program objectives are based on a whole-system approach to solving problems and building solutions and partnerships with students and stakeholders throughout, and beyond, the project lifetime. It is my desire to develop economically-sound outreach programs that involve colleagues, clients and students in the learning process and result in providing added value to their agricultural and natural resource enterprises.”

More information about her research and Extension programs can be found on her biography page.

Posted in Past Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Richard T. Crowder named C.G. Thornhill Professor of Agricultural Trade

Richard T. Crowder

Richard T. Crowder

Richard T. Crowder, professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, was recently named the C.G. Thornhill Professor of Agricultural Trade by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. The C.G. Thornhill Professorship for Agricultural Trade was created in 2012 by C. Gordon Thornhill Jr., who earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Virginia Tech in 1975. The intent of the endowment is to help strengthen the curriculum in agricultural trade and to help prepare people entering the agriculture industry, who will face the challenges of participating in an expanding world market. Recipients hold the professorship for a period of five years.

See the full story at VT News

Posted in Past Issues | Tagged | Leave a comment

AAEC accolades

AAEC banquetAAEC Banquet was a success!

A recent record was set for attendance at the department’s end of the year banquet. The room was packed with 110 students, parents, emeriti, faculty, staff, and scholarship donors! Thank you to those that attended and to Frenda Wall, Ashely Clark, and Nadia Tuck for helping with the room set up and to the large group that helped with clean up!

Wes Williams, AAEC undergraduate student, fights humans trafficking

Applied Economic Management student Wes Williams along with two other Virginia Tech students were invited to Washington, D.C. in April to participate in the White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking and discuss their winning concept in the USAID Challenge Slavery contest. For more information, visit the Challenge Slavery website.

Finanical Planning students Clinton Miller and Mark Cecchini interviewed for article in Investment News

Mark and Clinton were interviewed recently for an article titled “Who’s Next? New graduates envision clear career paths as they enter the advisory industry.” The article can be found here.

AAEC Alum John Dillard blogs for Farm Journal

2005 AAEC graduate John Dillard, an associate attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC in Washington, D.C. is writing a regular blog for Farm Journal. John received a M.S. from Purdue in Agricultural Economics and a J.D. in Environmental Law from the University of Richmond School of Law.

Posted in Past Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Secretary Todd Haymore seminar on Feb. 8

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore

Please join the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics this Friday, Feb. 8 to hear Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry present “Virginia Agriculture and Forestry: Catalysts for Economics Development and Job Creation” during the AAEC Spring Seminar Series. The seminar will be held in Fralin 102 from 3pm-4:30pm. Add this event to your calendar.

Todd Haymore became Virginia’s second Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in January 2010, succeeding Robert S. Bloxom. In addition to serving in Governor McDonnell’s Cabinet and his duties as the chief marketing and development officer of the state’s two largest industries, Haymore is responsible for two of the state’s most well known agencies, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF). He is also responsible for the Virginia Agricultural Council.

Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Haymore served as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services from August 2007 to January 2010. The Department is responsible for over 60 laws and more than 70 regulations relating to consumer protection and the promotion of agriculture. It is organized into four units, the Commissioner’s Office, the Division of Animal and Food Industry Services, the Division of Consumer Protection, and the Division of Marketing. VDACS has an operational budget of $57 million and employs just under 500 full-time staff. The agency’s mission is to promote the economic growth and development of Virginia agriculture, provide consumer protection and encourage environmental stewardship.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects almost 16 million acres of forest land from fire, insects and disease and manages 19 state forests and other state lands totaling approximately 58,000 acres for timber, recreation, water, research, wildlife and biodiversity. DOF assists non-industrial private forest landowners through professional forestry advice and technical management programs. The Department has an operational budget of approximately $26 million and employs 260 salaried staff. The agency’s mission is to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians.

Haymore is a native of Pittsylvania County and was born and raised on his maternal grand-parent’s farm. He began his professional career as a legislative intern in Richmond to former Virginia State Senator Onico Barker (R-19th). From there, Haymore moved to Washington, DC to serve as a legislative assistant for former United States Representative L.F Payne (VA-5th). Haymore spent most of the 1990’s with Rep. Payne where he also served as the congressman’s communications director, as well as deputy campaign manager of Payne’s lieutenant gubernatorial bid. Following his tenure with Congressman Payne, Haymore worked in Danville for DIMON Incorporated, a leaf tobacco company that later merged with Standard Commercial Corporation to form Alliance One International. Haymore then joined Richmond-based Universal Leaf Tobacco Company. He served in various leadership positions from 1999-2007, concluding his time with the company as Corporate Director, External Affairs and Vice President of The Universal Leaf Foundation.

Todd graduated from George Washington High School in Danville. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond and his Masters of Business Administration Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Todd also completed training at the Performance Management Group’s Virginia Executive Institute at VCU.

Todd is married to the former Margaret Cary Lewis and they have three children, Catharine Cole Haymore and Elizabeth Whichard Haymore (twins), and Lillian Bryan Haymore.

Posted in Past Issues | Tagged | Leave a comment

Four AAEC students travel to D.C. to present winning essay, video

From left: Jamie Kerr, Paula Martin, Allison Perdue, and Matt Maranowski. These students were awarded a trip to Washington, D.C. for their winning essay and video on retirement savings among a younger generation.

Four financial planning students in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics were the winners of this year’s national 2011-2012 iOME Savings Challenge.

After being awarded $10,000 among the team, the students received an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. in July to present their winning essay and video on retirement saving among the younger generation to Congressman Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, who serves on the House Budget Committee, and before 80-100 financial economists and political staff members dealing with retirement policy. The students impressed the panel with their ideas and for fielding tough questions — so much so that they were asked about employment opportunities and invited back to discuss further their paper and ideas with the Department of Labor, as a special request from Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Davis.

Assistant Professor Hyrum Smith, who served as faculty adviser, plans on having students in his retirement planning class participate in the annual iOMe Challenge each year.

Posted in Past Issues | Tagged , , | 2 Comments