graduate Students

2016 Recap

As we wrap up 2016, we wanted to update you on the year's activities.

We hope you'll stay in touch in 2017. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter or stop by for a visit if you're in Lincoln.

Scroll through for all the updates or use the buttons below to go to a particular section.

undergrad Students


Undergraduate Program, By the Numbers

In fall of 2016, there were
  • 214 agribusiness majors
  • 131 agricultural economics majors
  • 15 natural resources and environmental economics majors.
We added new options, commodity marketing and merchandising and pre-law, bringing the total number of options in the majors to 17.
graduate Students


Graduate Program, By the Numbers

We welcomed six new Ph.D. students and nine new M.S. students in fall 2016, bringing the number of Ph.D. students to 16 and M.S. students to 16. Our students come from 17 countries and four states. We're on track to have two Ph.D. students and eight M.S. students graduate in 2016.

photo of the commodity trading room

Faculty & Staff

Dr. Ron Hanson retired from the department this summer. During Dr. Hanson's 43 years at Nebraska, he was a 24-time recipient of the UNL Parents Recognition Award from the UNL Parents Association. Among his numerous other teaching awards, are the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Senior Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Distinguished Educator Award, and the USDA Excellence in University Teaching award.

Two faculty members were hired to take his place. Dr. Tim Meyer teaches the introduction to agricultural economics class and farm and ranch management. Dr. Jeff Stokes, who will join the department in January, will take over the agriculture banking and finance program. Dr. Stokes will be the Ronald J. Hanson Chair in Ag Banking and Finance.

Other new faculty hires in 2016 are Dr. Greg McKee and Dr. Daniela Mattos. Dr. McKee is an agriculture and cooperatives specialist. He joined the department in May from the University of North Dakota. Dr. McKee's position is partially funded by the Nebraska Cooperative Council. Dr. Mattos is an assistant professor of practice in community development. Dr. Mattos had previously been an adjunct instructor in the department.

Staff changes in 2016, include the retirement of budget analyst Roger Wilson. Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch is the new Buy Fresh Buy Local Coordinator. Jon Recker joined the department as an academic advisor.

Faculty Updates

Dave Aiken continues to offer large online courses in agricultural law and in environmental and natural resources law. Course updates include 2016 reforms in federal toxic substances regulations and the new federal estate planning portability rule. He published an article on the Nebraska livestock friendly program with Azzeddine Azzam, Kate Brooks, and graduate student Brian Mills. Professor Aiken is currently researching state manure application regulations in the Chesapeake Bay region and how they might be applied in the Corn Belt.
Azzeddine Azzam has a paper published (with Brian Mills, Dave Aiken, and Kate Brooks) on the impact of the Nebraska Livestock Friendly Country Program on the net entry of cattle and hog farms, has a forthcoming paper (with Sarah Rehkamp and Chris Gustafson) on dietary shifts in US associated CO2 emissions from farm energy use, and forthcoming paper (Sunil Dhubahadel and Matt Stockton) that tests for US market power in importing sugar ethanol from Brazil.
Simanti Banerjee was awarded grants from USDA-NIFA to study producer decision-making given price risk and participation in the Kansas Conservation Stewardship Program. She also initiated two other projects (funded by USDA-NIFA and CBEAR) focusing on conducting lab and field experiments on conservation programs. Simanti was invited to give a seminar at the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics at the University of Delaware. Dr. Banerjee, along with departmental colleague Chris Gustafson, started co-teaching a new course on Behavioral and Experimental Economics.
Kate Brooks switched from her livestock extension role in July 2016 to the agribusiness management position in the department and is teaching the agribusiness management course. The Nebraska Farm Financial Health Survey was administered by faculty from the department in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Dr. Brooks and Dr. Parsons are Co-PI’s on an extension grant “Helping NE Livestock and Forage Producers Understand and Implement existing and Emerging Risk Management Tools” with extension educators in the state that was awarded from the North Central Extension Risk Management Education team.
Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel has been working with communities across Nebraska to help them better market their community to potential new residents Marketing Hometown America. The communities of Red Cloud and McCook have completed the process and the counties of Seward and York are in process. Great Plains Communication, a partner, has provided financial support to underwrite seven locations in 2016-17.
Lilyan Fulginiti and Ph.D. alumnus Federico Trinadade received an award for the best paper in Agricultural Economics the journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. Their paper, "Is there a slowdown in agricultural Productivity growth in South America?," examines agricultural productivity growth in 10 South American countries.
Konstintinos Giannakas' research on property rights issues (like horizon and free-rider problems) in cooperatives was published in the Journal of Agricultural & Resource Economics; his research on the Coexistence of Genetically Modified, Conventional and Organic Food Products was published as a book chapter; while his research on Food Nanotechnology and a New Policy Analysis Framework was presented at the annual meetings of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the joint meetings of the Western Agricultural Economics and the Canadian Agricultural Economists Society, respectively. Dr. Giannakas was a co-PI on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant on “Transformative Food Technologies to Enhance Sustainability at the Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) Nexus.”
Christopher Gustafson's research on consumer choice was published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Agricultural Economics, and a forthcoming book on health disparities. Gustafson was awarded a grant to study the use of social norms to encourage healthier food choice in populations at high risk for diet-related health problems. He also began teaching a section of AECN 141 for W.H. Thompson Scholars, and a graduate class on behavioral and experimental economics.
Brad Lubben’s work has focused on agricultural and public policy and risk management. Analysis of current farm policy and future agricultural policy developments has provided the foundation for numerous publications, presentations, and classroom lectures. Efforts on research and analysis with the Nebraska Rural Poll has provided additional insight on public policy issues in rural Nebraska. Lubben continues to direct the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, which awards more than $600 thousand in grants each year to organizations and institutions that deliver producer-focused, results-driven risk management education projects across the 12-state North Central Region. Presentations included two policy presentations at the AAEA Annual Meeting in Boston in August.
Daniela Mattos started her new appointment  in November 2016. Her responsibilities include teaching and working with a consortium of faculty from other universities (Great Plain Interactive Distance Education Alliance - GPIDEA) in the Community Development Master’s Program.  As one of her new duties, she is also partnering with Nebraska Extension and University faculty to create a Rural Community Development Certificate Program. 
Fabio Mattos had two articles published in peer-review journals, "Formation and adaptation of reference prices in grain marketing: An experimental study" in Agricultural Economics, and "The reaction of coffee futures prices to crop reports" in Emerging Markets Finance and Trade. Dr. Mattos worked with students to create the new Commodity Marketing Club. He also supervised undergraduate students who participated in two competitions: the CME Group's Commodity Trading Challenge and AgYield's Commodity Marketing Challenge.
Greg McKee arrived at UNL in May and is teaching a three-credit course on cooperative business management. Dr. McKee published a paper related to trends in cooperative business finance in Ag Finance Review this year. He also worked with the Nebraska Cooperative Council to develop a video introducing the public to cooperatives. The video can be found at here.
Tim Meyer started his appointment at Nebraska August 15th. His immediate contributions to the department include teaching three large lecture courses. In addition, Tim has filled a role as an Ag Economics/Agribusiness Club advisor. He has also been active with the State FFA program, the state Science Literacy Program, and is a National Advisor for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
Taro Meino’s research on agricultural water use was accepted for publication in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and it is forthcoming. Dr. Meino also started teaching a new Master’s-level econometrics course.
Lia Nogueira's research on technology adoption on the U.S. apple industry was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. She presented her work on changes in technology in the U.S. beef industry at the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium Annual Meeting. Dr. Nogueira was awarded the outstanding published research reviewer award by the Western Agricultural Economics Association.
Jay Parsons was awarded an $85,770 cooperative agreement with the USDA Risk Management Agency to help fund the 2017 Nebraska Women in Ag Conference (with Cheryl Griffith) along with several workshops and educational events to help Nebraska livestock and forage producers manage risk. Dr. Parsons continues to work closely with the UNL Beef Systems research and extension team to map out a new 5-year plan for the Beef Systems Initiative. Daren Redfearn (Agronomy and Horticulture) and Mary Drewnoski (Animal Science) partnered with Dr. Parsons to publish an article on strategies and processes for successful working multidisciplinary research and extension teams.
Wes Peterson led a study tour to Benin (West Africa) in May 2016. The students toured agricultural research stations, sustainable development projects and a variety of historical and cultural sites.
Jeff Royer’s research on strategies rural electric cooperatives can use to accelerate the retirement of member equity was published in the Journal of Cooperatives and the Cooperative Accountant. Dr. Royer is currently working on publishing research on the use of retained earnings as an equity capitalization strategy that may offer advantages over traditional methods of capitalization based on retained patronage refund allocations.
Karina Schoengold is collaborating on a multistate project evaluating future management options for the Ogallala Aquifer. She is also working with some of Nebraska’s Natural Resource Districts to evaluate alternative management policies for groundwater.
Larry Van Tassell enjoyed working with numerous companies and individuals who funded the development of the Commodity Trading Room. The department had a momentous year as we were able to complete a successful five-year review, develop a new student advising center in Filley Hall, and hire four new faculty and two new staff members.
Cory Walters' research on planting saved RR1 soybean seed implications on yield and profit was published in the Agronomy Journal. Dr. Walters received a grant on financial benchmarking from USDA NIFA. 
Emie Yiannaka presented her research on the economic impacts of food nanotechnology innovations at an invited seminar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland in January. Dr. Yiannaka, along with Ph.D. candidate Kofi Britwum, worked on research funded by a NIFA grant to determine consumer attitudes and willingness to pay for food safety enhancing innovations in the beef supply chain. Findings from this research were presented at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX in February 2016, the North Eastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association Annual Meeting, Bar Harbor, ME in June 2016 and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, in July 2016.

Program Updates

Farm Transition Specialist Dave Goeller conducted farm and ranch business succession and estate planning workshops across Nebraska and also worked with dozens of families on the transition process.
The Nebraska Cooperative Development Center (Jim Crandall and Elaine Cranford) worked with eight rural communities this past year, to re-open or transfer ownership of the local grocery store.
Findings from the Nebraska Rural Poll (conducted since 1996 in the 85 nonmetropolitan counties) have been in local, state and national news, legislative conversations, grant applications and planning by government agencies and corporations for determining marketing strategies and long-range strategic plans. Core questions are included every year that over time provide insight about trends and changes occurring in rural Nebraska. In addition, each year rural citizens and government officials identify other key issues or topics to include in the survey.
The 32nd Nebraska Women in Agriculture conference was held in February.
photo of the commodity trading room

Commodity Trading Room

With the assistance of generous donors, we established a commodity trading room that provides students real-time access to commodity markets and advanced training in markets, marketing, merchandising, and futures and options markets. Combined with classroom courses, the trading room experience prepares students to be more successful as they enter the competitive job market. The Commodity Trading Room also provides a vehicle for both students and faculty to conduct research in these areas. Learn More»

Commodity Trading Room

Other Updates

  • Department alumni, Fred Bruning and William Tomek, were honored as the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Alumni Awards. Leone Spencer Harlan received the 2016 Outstanding Service Award. Read More»
  • Did you live in Burr or Fedde Halls? You'll want to want to attend the reunion next June. More information»
  • A new East Campus residence hall is under construction. Read More»

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