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NMSU Agri-Marketing Team Wins Nationals

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University's National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) chapter swept national competition April 10-13 in Denver with three major awards including national champion in the marketing competition, Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year and an Innovative Idea award.

Incoming NAMA president Kimberly Smith, a junior majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural business, was recognized with a $2,500 scholarship from the Agricultural Business Education Foundation.

In the final round of the marketing competition, NMSU defeated Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Auburn University and Fort Hays University to win the national championship.

"To get to the finals we beat out 31 other universities at this year's competition," said Cynda Clary, chapter adviser and associate professor with NMSU's agricultural economics and agricultural business department.

The student group has won a national award every year since its creation at NMSU in 1994. NAMA collegiate chapters focus on undergraduates interested in agricultural marketing, sales and business careers.

"I never thought I'd enjoy marketing like I did during this competition," said first year team member Brian Baumgaertner, a senior majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural business.

The marketing competition is based on work done during the spring course titled agri-business market planning, AGE 451. During the semester, students research a product, develop a one- to three-year marketing plan and present it to the product's manufacturer.

This year, NMSU developed a plan for the National Pecan Shellers Association to increase pecan sales to the hotel restaurant industry. The students were responsible for market research, financial analysis and promotion design.

A marketing plan was submitted one month before the competition and then during the competition the students did a 20-minute oral presentation to a panel of industry judges using PowerPoint, Clary said.

"I think last year we had a lot of fun at the competition, but this year we learned a lot more about marketing," said returning team member Josh Beyer, a junior majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural business.

The team also won outstanding chapter for the third time in its seven-year history. The outstanding chapter competition is based on an annual report that the team submits prior to national conference. The report includes information on chapter management, programs, membership, financial evaluations, communication objectives and career development. The chapter's future goals and activities also are included.

In addition to these honors, NMSU received an Innovative Idea award in chapter management. The award recognized the "NAMA BUCKS" program that was designed to reward member participation in chapter activities.

Students on the team said the best part of the competition was that students from other universities recognized NMSU because of their consistent high showing at the national competition.

The teaching assistant for this year's group was Shacey Sullivan of Fruitland. NAMA team members are Baumgaertner of El Paso; Beyer of Las Cruces; Katy Bothum of Enterprise, Ore.; Lorna Brown of Las Cruces; Felicia Chacon of Espanola; Jerry Garcia of Las Cruces; Adrienne Harshman of Melbourne, Fla.; Levi Jackson of Lordsburg; Jeremy Kohler of Clayton and Farmington; Kacy Kummell of El Paso; Desiree Maddox of Ruidoso; Darla Mayes of Carlsbad; Josh Ramsey of Alamogordo; Crystal Runyan of Las Cruces; Robby Shuttles of Santa Fe; and Smith of Roy.