September 15, 2011
Global connection: Master of agribusiness program's international faculty visiting K-State
Since 2002, Kansas State University's master of agribusiness program has offered agribusiness professionals a chance to study the global food and agriculture industry and to learn from professors all over the world without leaving the U.S.
Now these international professors will get to be students of the U.S. food and agriculture system during an upcoming visit to Kansas.
The international professors teach the master of agribusiness program's Comparative Food and Agriculture Systems course. The professors are from France, Russia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Thailand, Uganda and India and offer an in-depth view of the global food and agribusiness industry from people who have experienced it firsthand.
"The course is unique in that it provides a global perspective on the world's food and agricultural system that will likely have to double output in the next 40 years. Along with K-State, the course is currently taught at the University of Florida, the University of Missouri, Massey University and Moscow State University," said Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics and director of the master of agribusiness program.
The course professors planning to attend meetings Sept. 20-25 at K-State include: Daniel Conforte, a Universidad ORT business school professor in Montevideo, Uruguay; Pavel Sorokin, a Moscow State Agro-Engineering University professor; Nicolas Habert, an Ecole d'ingenieurs Purpan professor in Toulouse, France; Ravipim Chaveesuk, a Kasetsart University professor in Bangkok, Thailand; Keith Woodford, a professor from Lincoln University in New Zealand; Lisa House, a professor in the food and resource economics department at the University of Florida in Gainesville; Theodora Hyuha, a senior lecturer at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; and Rajinder Sidhu, dean and an economics professor at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India.
This is the fourth time the group has gotten together since its inception. The first meeting in Manhattan consisted of the initial partners: Featherstone, Conforte, Sorokin, Habert and Chaveesuk. Additional meetings have been in Toulouse, France, and Canterbury, New Zealand. In 2006 the program was awarded an International Science and Education Competitive Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services to expand the course to include new partners House, Woodford, Hyuha and Sidhu, who represent North America, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
During the K-State meeting, the partners will review and update the award-winning course. They also will visit some of the premier agriculture facilities in the state, including the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the Biosecurity Research Institute, both at K-State; Frahm Farmland in Colby; Cow Camp Beef in Ramona; and Frito-Lay's facility in Topeka.
Members of the group will also present sessions at an agribusiness conference at K-State, hosted by the master of agribusiness program, discussing the energy situation, global food security and agricultural policy. Sidhu will provide an update of the changing energy situation and needs in India; Sorokin will share a Russian perspective on feeding an increasing global population; and Conforte will talk about the development of dairy and livestock trading programs between South America and China. Other members of the group will participate in a roundtable discussion on the future of the food and agriculture industry moderated by Woodford.
Alumni and current students of the master of agribusiness program attending the agribusiness conference will have the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with the faculty they have previously only known virtually through recorded lectures and Internet chat rooms.
K-State's master of agribusiness program is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry and are from 40 states and more than 25 countries.