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ABEF Celebrates 10 Years.

Ten years ago a group of agri-marketing professionals started a Foundation to promote careers in agribusiness. Since it began, it has steadily grown due to the support of numerous corporate and individuals. The primary financial function of the Agri-Business Educational Foundation (ABEF) is to support the program and activities of the NAMA Student Careers program.

One of the long-time supporters, and current ABEF Chairman, Mick Sibbel says the group's initial goal when creating the organization was to "serve as a funding source for the student portion of the annual conference." Since that first year he says ABEF "grew through the efforts of board members and supporters who saw the issue as being a larger focus than our original goals."

Bob Cline, president of Cline Consulting Services and another long-time ABEF supporter, says he finds great value in the organization because "prior to ABEF, the Careers program was where volunteers came and went. Lots of folks were involved, but they didn't have a permanent plan for the future. But ABEF is both focused and looking to the future, meaning it is permanent." He describes the organization as "a Foundation dedicated to providing students the tools they need to be successful in agribusiness.

"I thought it was a great opportunity to put together a meaningful program to ensure the ability of NAMA to continue to help students," he continues. "I feel it's important to get quality, young persons involved in agribusiness."

Sibbel, president of Ayres Advertising/Marketing in Lincoln, Neb., says "seeing our annual financial statement increase each year and recognizing the support we receive from so many people is a very rewarding experience.

"The organization reflects the opportunity to give back to the industry and ensure we have a steady supply of new talent coming into the industry," explains Sibbel.

As a way to prepare students for their careers in agri-marketing, ABEF supports the Student Marketing Competition at the annual Agri-Marketing Conference & Trade Show. The competition was at a record-high during the 2001 Conference & Trade Show, with 35 teams competing.

Another way ABEF nurture's students throughout their college years is to provide scholarships to deserving students. This year $15,000 was awarded in scholarships at the Student Awards Ceremony, April 12, during the conference.

Cline says he finds his experience with ABEF rewarding because of "the willingness of the leadership and membership to embrace the concept and understand that as NAMA moves forward, it will have the ability to make sure careers and scholarship programs have a solid basis." He continues "the way the membership has been willing to participate and be involved, and the number of students ABEF helps every year, has all been very gratifying."

To keep the organization striving, Cline says he will personally "continue building awareness among people interested in careers in agribusiness and aggressively promote the Careers program." Also he will "remind companies of having qualified individuals seeking careers in agribusiness through ABEF."

Sibbel says in the future he will continue to stay involved in the ABEF board and "create awareness to other NAMA members for the value the Foundation provides." He continues "it is a valuable organization that requires each NAMA member's support to ensure we reach our ultimate goal and provide opportunities to deserving students."

ABEF Highlights over the Past 10 Years

* The number of student chapters has grown from 29 chapters in 1991 to a record 37 chapters in 2000.

* Over 15,000 college students have benefited from the Student Careers Program through the annual activities including the Marketing Competition and participation in the annual Agri-Marketing Conference & Trade Show.

* $48,000 in scholarships has been awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the agriculture industry, increasing from $1,500 per year in 1991 to $15,000 per year in 2001.

* Almost $750,000 has been donated by companies and individuals to the ABEF in support of the Student Careers Program.

* The ABEF is financially planning for the future with over $75,000 pledged by individuals, companies and organizations to the R.C. "Fergie" Ferguson Scholarship Endowment Fund.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Agri-Business Educational Foundation
Comment:ABEF Celebrates 10 Years.(Agri-Business Educational Foundation)
Publication:Agri Marketing
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Previous Article:2001-2002 Slate of Officers and Executive Committee Members.
Next Article:US Secretary of Agriculture Proclaimed March 18-24, 2001 National Agriculture Week.

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