Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES -- Students on New Mexico State University's National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) team recently placed third in outstanding chapter and received two innovative idea awards at the national convention in Dallas.
The chapter competed against 32 teams across the country in two separate areas. First, the outstanding chapter award is based on the judging of each chapter's book, which includes chapter management, chapter programs, membership, financial evaluations, communication objectives and career development. The goals of the chapter and how they were met also are included, as well as the chapter's activities throughout the year.
"This competition recognizes the ability of students to put together a whole program and not just focus on the marketing competition as a single event," said Cynda Clary, NAMA adviser and an assistant professor of agricultural economics and agricultural business.
Students also compete with their marketing plans, developed from working with real producers to market a product to the public. This year, the NMSU team marketed Texas Longhorn beef at two restaurants in Las Cruces, one in El Paso and one in Alpine, Texas. The students were responsible for conducting market research and financial analysis, designing promotions, summarizing the plan, and then presenting their plan to the judges.
The marketing competition is the end result of a semester-long class called agribusiness market planning. In the class, the students research a product, develop a one-year marketing plan and present it to the producers. Clary said that seeing how much work is involved and being responsible for each segment of the plan gives students a sense of pride in their work.
"As for the class, I think that you really get a good sense of working with a team," said Traysa Field, team member.
To measure opinions about the beef products and promotion, customers were asked to fill out a survey after finishing their meal. "We focused on different demographic information, as well as how that beef compared with other beef, and how they relate that when they purchase it again and how much would they pay if they were to pay a premium amount," said Jennifer Bartlett, another team member.
This year's marketing plan will reward students in more ways than one, since they are being paid as consultants for their work. The plan is being implemented by the Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Registry.
Students who presented NMSU's marketing project at the competition included Bartlett, Lucia Bond, Field, Caleb Kerr, Anna Serrano, Heath Spoeneman and T.J. Runyan. Chapter reporter Wayne Sleep put the chapter book together. Other NAMA team members attending the convention included: Heather Armstrong, Tomas Baca, Coye Balok, Michael Black, Courtenay Eichhorst, Teri Hall, Stacey Hatch, Chadelle Henry, James Joines, Gabe Ludwig, Clayton Lutz, Thomas Miller, Ira Pearson, Alison Sudderth and Sage Wood.
Students say that the best part of the convention is getting the opportunity to talk to professionals about their work experiences. "You are doing a project for school, but then you get to meet the people who are doing it for a living, and you make a lot of contacts," Ludwig said.
There are about 30 NAMA student chapters across the country, located primarily at land-grant universities. NMSU's NAMA chapter was created just four years ago and has won a national award each year. This year, Clary received the meritorious service award from the national NAMA organization for building NMSU's strong chapter.
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