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June 2013 newsletter

ACE Newsletter

From the Department Head

We just completed another highly successful academic year in ACE.   At the recent commencement, the ACE Department celebrated 130 baccalaureate degrees and 19 graduate degrees.  We congratulate all on this wonderful accomplishment and wish our the new Illinois ACE alumni success.   We are also in the process of welcoming and registering our new class of first year students in the ACE Department.
We've spent the end of the academic year recognizing some of the impressive accomplishments of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff.  Here are a few:

C.J. Elliott Award: Cathryn Ayers, Rochester, IL -- Agribusiness, Markets and Management
Slam Dunk Award for highest GPA in his graduating class:  Christian Butler, Tolono, IL -- Financial in Agribusiness
Warren K. Wessels  Achievement Award Finalist: Michael Carter, Arlington Heights, IL --  Environmental Economics and Policy
Bronze Tablet Recipients:
Christian Butler, Tolono, IL -- Finance in Agribusiness
Carolyn Gehrke, Elgin, IL -- Policy, International Trade, and Development
Adam Tallcott, Mendon, IL -- Agribusiness, Markets and Management
Sharon Wyskiel, New Lenox, IL --  Public Policy and Law
Orville G. Bentley Undergraduate Research Award: Neal Reed, Bloomington, IL -- Consumer Economics and Finance
Outstanding ACE Ph.D. Graduate Student: Alexander Slade 
Outstanding ACE M.S. Thesis: Linlin Fan
Outstanding ACE Graduate Student: Xiaoli Etienne
ACE Graduate Student Organization Outstanding Faculty Award: Dr. Alex Winter-Nelson
ACE GSO Outstanding Staff Award: Pam Splittstoesser
Earl M. and Mildred S. Hughes Undergraduate Teaching Enhancement Award: Dr. David Bullock
I hope you have a great summer.
Paul

NAMA Members Learn Valuable Lessons in Brazil

    Thirteen students from the U of I National AgriMarketing Association (NAMA) traveled to southern Brazil for the first two weeks of January to focus on small business development in the emerging country.
     In addition to studying the operations of Brazil’s agricultural supply chain, participants learned how Brazilian businesses produce and market products to consumers and had the opportunity to engage with people doing work similar to the students’ NAMA competition.
     Through NAMA, a student team creates a business and marketing plan, including a financial plan, for a product one step removed from production agriculture. This year’s team did a plan for the “Morchella,” a greenhouse-grown morel mushroom to be marketed to consumers and chefs in Chicago and Minneapolis–St. Paul.
       Kelsey Abbott, senior in ACE and member of NAMA, said, “Brazil’s agriculture is so different because here [in America] we have many different suppliers, and they only have a few key suppliers. The trip really helped us understand the differences in marketing in other countries.”
      Associate Professor Nick Paulson directed the trip to Brazil and instructs the course that prepares students for the NAMA student competition and advises the team. This is the first time the NAMA club has studied abroad, but Professor Paulson would like it to happen again. He said, “I think with any study abroad opportunity the biggest benefit is simply the experience of being immersed in another culture. It gave them real life experience on top of an international experience that will help their careers immensely.”
     In April, the 2013 NAMA team took the "Morchella" business plan to the national student competition in Kansas City, Missouri, and placed 4th overall among a field of more than 29 teams. The student marketing competition is held during NAMA’s annual conference, when more than 1,000 agribusiness marketing professionals converge to network, learn professional development skills, and celebrate achievements in the industry.

Menu Symbols Effective in Educating Diners

     A provision of the Affordable Care Act requires all chain restaurants with more than 20 stores to list calorie counts on their menus. But research co-written by Brenna Ellison, an assistant professor in ACE, has concluded that numeric labels may not be the most effective means to encourage lower-calorie choices.
     According to Ellison, supplementing the caloric value with a symbol—her research used a traffic light—would reach more diners. The symbol suggests what is “better” or “worse” to eat. Ellison’s research assigned restaurant patrons one of three menus: some menus had no information about calories, some listed calories, and some had calorie information accompanied by a traffic-light symbol, with red, yellow, and green lights to indicate calorie ranges.
     The number-only calorie labels had the greatest impact on the least health-conscious diners—the target audience identified by watchdog groups on nutrition labeling—because the calorie information was new to them. For the highly health-conscious, the traffic symbol resulted in a greater reduction in calories in the items chosen as that was the label that presented new information.
     Ellison noted that consumers are convenience oriented and that many won’t read the detailed calorie information required on a menu. Symbols can communicate a message quickly, reaching consumers despite time constraints.

FarmDoc Daily Transitions to Summer

     With the change of season, FarmDoc Daily, the daily blog portion of the FarmDoc website, is refocusing topics. New subjects include the new Farm Bill, spring planting, and the economic impacts of other legislation, updating producers on issues affecting their bottom line.  Popular stories in FarmDoc Daily can be “liked” or “shared” on Facebook or forwarded in an email. Readers can also recommend stories, some of which become very popular. Blog articles and additional resources are also posted to the FarmDoc Daily Facebook page and Twitter feed.
     A cadre of ACE professors and other professionals around the Midwest contribute regularly to FarmDoc Daily, providing crop and livestock producers in the U.S. Corn Belt with round-the-clock access to integrated information and expertise to better manage their farm business. The blog was created as a viral tool to aid busy people on the go, readable in a daily newspaper format. A new blog post is issued each business day.

“Illinois in Washington” Offers Capitol Experience

     Illinois in Washington (IIW), an academic internship program in Washington, D.C., allows students to take classes while doing an internship that can earn 12 University of Illinois academic credits. Yubing Shi, a senior in financial planning, used her  internship as a launch pad to work at a nonprofit organization dealing with higher education policy and university government relations.
     “The program has inspired me to work in the field of U.S. policy or international relations. Even though it seems not related with my concentration in financial planning, my knowledge on economics, retirement, and tax planning really helps me understand related discussions in government policy,” Shi said.
IIW is open to students of all majors and offers customizable classes. Students are responsible for securing an internship with an agency prior to beginning the program.  To date, interns have worked on Capitol Hill and for the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Democratic National Committee, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, rhe Children’s Defense Fund, and the American Medical Student Association.
     Students work full days Monday through Thursday while simultaneously taking courses.  Being in D.C. offers networking opportunities and helps them gain a deeper understanding of how government works. Shi said, “Working in D.C. will increase your knowledge base on public policy, roles of interest groups, how policy will influence your organization's members, and how you work to create, influence, or implement a policy.”
     Learn more about the Illinois in Washington program at www.washington.illinois.edu.

Where Are They Now? Earl Kellogg

     Professor emeritus Earl Kellogg spent 23 years at the University of Illinois, holding two primary but very different appointments. His work spanned several fields in the ACE department, but much of his career was spent in international affairs. Throughout his career and since retirement, he has aided the university in research and the advancement of the economics of agricultural development.
     Kellogg began working for the U of I in 1970, teaching agricultural economics as a 100-level course and eventually adding courses on the economics of agricultural development.  He organized a group in agricultural development and recruited students and faculty for teaching and research. Kellogg became known for his published work on U.S. agriculture exports which result when developing countries increase their agriculture production.
     Kellogg’s passion for development also led him to become active internationally. His work abroad led him to more than 15 countries, including Thailand and Sierra Leone. In 1997 he became the Associate Provost for International Affairs at Illinois, and he retired from the university in 2005.
     Since retiring, Kellogg remains active as a consultant for IALC, Millennium Challenge Operation, and the Association of Land Grant Universities on the topic of International Affairs. He serves on a number of governing boards, including the American University of Nigeria and the Knowledge Center for Higher Education in African Development, and he has spent time focusing on starting a university in the Republic of Georgia. Kellogg now lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife Bev, and he enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with his family. He has a son, a daughter, and a grandchild. Kellogg would like his former students to know that he is still working, active, and engaged in important activities.

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Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Dr. Paul N. Ellinger
Head of Department

326 Mumford Hall
1301 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801-3605
Phone: (217)333-1810
Fax: (217)333-5538

Email: ace-aces@illinois.edu