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EKU Student Team to Participate in Alltech Innovation Competition

l-r: Fraley, Schlosnagle, Fredrickson, Kennedy, Dust and Risch

Three Eastern Kentucky University seniors, with the guidance of faculty mentors, will be participating in the 2nd Alltech Innovation Competition to be held on April 26, 2014. Alltech is seeking a business plan to capitalize on innovation in Kentucky's food and agriculture sectors - with $20,000 in prizes on the line.

Dr. Ed Fredrickson (Associate Professor, Agriculture), Dr. Corey Risch (Assistant Professor, Agriculture), and Dr. Scott Dust (Assistant Professor, Management) are collaborating with the student team. 

The project proposes creating a brokerage entity that links local non-GMO grain producers with buyers.

Academic mentor Scott Dust said that the number of small farms in Kentucky (under 1,000 acres), along with profitability, has diminished in recent years. Additionally, Kentucky farms lack grain production diversity, specifically non-GMO products, an adaptation that will be necessary for maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. In order to help these Kentucky farmers we are creating a brokerage entity that links non-GMO/organic grain producers with buyers. There is a surging demand for non-GMO/organic food products from consumers, but limited local supply. To fulfill this need, our entity will offer customized brokerage services for farmers of non-GMO/organic grains, including consulting on the growing process, bidding/quoting with appropriate buyers, and new business and renewal contract management. By connecting growers with buyers we will help Kentucky farmers start or expand their non-GMO/organic business, enabling them to remain competitive in a changing agriculture marketplace.

Student team members are:

  • Benjamin Fraley (Senior from Berea) - Agribusiness Management Major, Economics Minor
  • Ryan Kennedy (Senior from Grayson) - Biology Pre-Med Major, Entrepreneurship and Nutrition Minors
  • Chelsey Schlosnagle (Senior from Pleasureville) - Agriculture Education Major

Initial proposals were submitted March 3rd and business plans are due to Alltech by April 7th. Student presentations are set for April 26th at Bluegrass Community & Technical College Newtown Campus. The EKU team will compete against ten other Kentucky universities to determine the very best business plan.

Photo caption (l-r): Ben Fraley, Chelsey Schlosnagle, Ed Fredrickson, Ryan Kennedy, Scott Dust, and Corey Risch

Published on February 28, 2014

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