USU Agribusiness Team Wins Big in Chicago
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
A five-person team from the Utah State University Agribusiness Club recently traveled to the big city of Chicago and returned home a few days later with a first-place prize.
College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences students Mason Anderson, Bryce Balin, Elliott Dennis, Trevor Knudsen and Trevor Nielson were this year’s winners of the Food Distribution Research Society’s Student Food Marketing Challenge beating out groups from California State University at Chico, California State University at Fresno, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Colorado State University, Louisiana State University, University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University.
The competition, which began Saturday morning [Oct. 5, 2013], challenged students to find a solution to a problem facing the featured business, the Chicago Meat Authority. The problem presented? The Chicago Meat Authority was struggling to recruit and retain recent college graduates as employees, and the competing students had seven hours to develop a solution and a plan before giving two different presentations Saturday night.
As a solution, the USU Agribusiness Club proposed that the Chicago Meat Authority focus on recruiting students with an agricultural background rather than students who had an excellent resume but didn’t have any agricultural ties. The group felt that these students would be a better fit for the company because they have a better understanding of the meat industry and would enjoy the job more from start to finish, stated senior Mason Anderson.
Additionally, the group also suggested investing more money into the new agriculturally knowledgeable employees by implementing expanded benefits for them and increasing the salary.
This suggestion was backed by primary research done just one week before the competition, when the FDRS sent out a hint about what issues might be covered in the competition. Using the hint to its full advantage, the Agribusiness Club sent out a survey to USU students and received more than 300 responses. From the survey the club found that of the surveyed students, salary was the thing they valued most when looking for a job.
Trevor Knudson, a graduate student and the Agribusiness Club president, noted that he thought the research done in the survey was one of the things that really helped the club win first place.
“It was really exciting to know that our work paid off and that we had done something that was noticed,” Knudson said.
As a result of its efforts, the team, mentored by associate professor of applied economics Kynda Curtis, won a plaque and $500 that Anderson said would be put toward funding the Agribusiness Club.
Writer: Allie Jeppson Jurkatis, 435-671-0579, allie.jeppson3@gmail