Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- May 02, 2001

Cal Poly Agribusiness Students Earn Top Honors in National Competition

In recent competition against 36 universities nationwide, Cal Poly's National Agribusiness Marketing Association (NAMA) team came in second in the Marketing competition tied for first in the Chapter Programs section in the Innovative Ideas category.

The National Agribusiness Marketing Association annual conference held recently in Denver brings together students and more than 2,000 agricultural marketing professionals. Students present a written executive summary, give a 20-minute presentation, and hold a 10-minute question-and-answer session about a company marketing plan.

"The marketing phase is by far the most important and competitive aspect of the contest," according to faculty advisor Phillip Doub, an agribusiness professor and current head of the Food Science and Nutrition Department. "I was impressed by the commitment and ingenuity of the student team."

Cal Poly's team created a marketing plan for Lynnola Grain and Seed, an actual client who plans to implement their suggestions to increase planting cottonseed sales.

The student team members, freshman Jessie Condit of Santa Ynez, junior Summer Kostik of Santa Rosa, senior Michelle Lindo of Gustine, senior Brian Lohse of Winters, and senior Kamina Rosenstiel of Oakley, created a plan based on a comprehensive survey they conducted of 1,300 cotton growers in California.

"The students compete to be on the NAMA team and are selected in September. They give up half of their Christmas break and all of their spring break to work for their client and create the marketing proposal," Doub said. "They put in more than 700 hours on this project and then made their presentation not only to the client, but also in front of over 700 people at the annual meeting. They won out over some stiff competition, including the usual rivals at UC Davis, Arizona State, Cal Poly Pomona and Texas A&M," Doub said.

The NAMA Club's tie for first in the Innovative Ideas Chapter Programs category was for a survey conducted after the 12th annual Ag Showcase.

Using principles learned in Cal Poly's agribusiness market research class, they surveyed student attendees about what they liked and what they thought could be improved on next year. While 60.3 percent of the students surveyed were either extremely or very satisfied, suggestions included inviting a more diversified range of companies. The students plan to conduct the survey again next year to continue improving on the success of the Ag Showcase.

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