Source: Mary Bowen, 785-532-4435, mjbowen@k-state.edu

Websites: http://www.mab.ksu.edu and http://mab.ksu.edu/Alumni/Europe12.html

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

Cultivating knowledge: Master of agribusiness trip offers tour of European food and agriculture industry; room still available

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's master of agribusiness program is offering the opportunity to learn more about the food and agriculture industry of Europe through a trip to France, Italy and Switzerland.

The trip, Aug. 1-13, will include stops in Lyon and Paris, France; Rome and Milan, Italy; and Lucerne, Switzerland. The tour is open to anyone with an interest in international agribusiness. Nearly 25 individuals have committed to joining the group, but there is space for a few more.

Participants will visit crop and cattle farms, dairies, cheese-making operations, wineries and olive groves, as well as other agricultural and food-related industries. Guided sightseeing tours will be arranged along with free time to explore Rome and Paris.

Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics and director of the master of agribusiness program, said the tour offers a great opportunity for North American decision-makers in food and agriculture to look at major competitors in grains, beef and dairy.

"European consumers are much more focused on local production and the connection with where and how their food is produced,” Featherstone said. “In addition, their views on the use of biotechnology differ quite substantially from those in the U.S. and other regions. Understanding the producers' reactions to a very different food consumer may be helpful if U.S. consumers' attitudes toward food continue to change.”

Previous international trips offered by the master of agribusiness program have been to South America, Russia, Southeast Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

"These trips have been to countries with amazing and diverse scenery and have exposed us to fascinating cultural and scenic aspects that an average tourist would not have the opportunity to experience,” said Leah Tsoodle, land use value coordinator at Kansas State University. “One of my favorite things was getting to know the group members. There is such a great dynamic on master of agribusiness program trips.”

Kansas State Unversity's master of agribusiness program is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food and agribusiness management. Students and alumni of the program work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the U.S. and in more than 25 countries.

More information about the trip is available at http://mab.ksu.edu/Alumni/Europe12.html or by contacting Mary Bowen at 785-532-4435 or mjbowen@k-state.edu.