Farm Credit gives to establish David M. Kohl Chair

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 27, 2005 – Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences received a $60,000 contribution from Farm Credit of the Virginias, Colonial Farm Credit, and Valley Farm Credit to assist in establishing the David M. Kohl Chair in Agribusiness Management and Finance. Holder of the David M. Kohl Chair will direct the Center for Farm and Agribusiness Management that seeks to address the needs of farmers, agribusiness, and rural entrepreneurs in the areas of management, marketing, taxation, and legal issues.

"It is critical that we are able to provide individuals in our rural and agricultural communities the management and entrepreneurial skills necessary to survive and succeed in today's business climate," said Sharron Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "Farm Credit's gift is the first step in helping us provide this assistance. This center will provide the foundation to expand and strengthen our responsiveness to the educational and research needs of rural communities in the areas of management and marketing."

"As the financial partner with rural America, the Virginia Farm Credit Associations are pleased to be involved in this at the ground level," said Stanley O. Forbes Sr., member of the Board of Directors, Colonial Farm Credit. "We have the highest respect for Dr. Kohl and his work and see this as an opportunity to recognize him as well as help establish a foundation for education, research, and extension in the area of agribusiness and management."

The endowed chair within the center is being named after David M. Kohl, professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics. Kohl taught more than 10,000 students agri-finance and agri-business entrepreneurship during his 25-year tenure at Virginia Tech. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious American Agricultural Economics Association Outstanding Teacher Award. He has also received 14 public service awards and has published more than 400 articles on financial and business-related topics in journals, extension, and popular publications.

"I'm really excited and humbled about the development of the chair and the farm and agribusiness management center," Kohl said. "Hopefully, the center can carry on some of the good work that we, that being the industry and my colleagues, have done in the past and carry it on in the future. As Peter Drucker, the famous management guru of Claremont University, says, 'We are knowledge workers,' and this center is designed to help and assist knowledge people in the agricultural industry."

The center will financially and intellectually support the land-grant mission of teaching, research, and extension in farm and agribusiness management within the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Interim Department Head and Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Herbert Stoevener said the hallmark of the center will be the delivery of information and skills required to convert data into the knowledge necessary to solve problems facing the farm, agribusiness, and rural business sectors. The center also will foster an environment where new knowledge and approaches are created to address underlying problems and opportunities facing the people, businesses, and institutions that serve the commonwealth. Stoevener concluded: "We are grateful to the Virginia Farm Credit Associations for their help in initiating this very exciting opportunity."

An external committee of Virginia agribusiness leaders is being formed to help define the center's mission and goals and to identify and contact potential key contributors. Forbes has agreed to chair this committee. More than $2 million is required to establish the David M. Kohl Chair and the Center for Farm and Agribusiness Management.

In addition to their gift for the David M. Kohl Chair, the Farm Credit organizations also have pledged $50,000 to establish an endowed undergraduate scholarship in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. This scholarship supports students interested in finance and entrepreneurship and will help the center to build on Kohl's legacy of excellence in undergraduate student involvement in applied research and extension programs.

Consistently ranked among the top 10 institutions in agricultural research by the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world's leading agricultural scientists. The college's comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become one of the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.