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Dermot Hayes, College of Business, (515) 294-6185
Rich Pirog, Leopold Center of Sustainable Agriculture, (515) 294-1854
Kim Schroeder, College of Business, (515) 294-5800
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in Iowa State University's College of Business will incorporate a sustainable agriculture minor and two new graduate assistantships next fall.

The new MBA minor combines some of the coursework from ISU's Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture (GPSA) in the College of Agriculture. The GPSA, which began in 2001, was the first graduate program of its kind among land grant universities.

Dermot Hayes, Pioneer Hi-Bred International chair in agribusiness at Iowa State, said the minor will allow MBA students to experience agribusiness in a new way.

"The minor in sustainable agriculture will let our students develop competence and expertise in sustainable agricultural systems, while developing a strong knowledge of the functional areas of agribusiness," Hayes said.

The two graduate assistantships are funded by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, Mich., for another new effort at Iowa State, Value Chain Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture, coordinated by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The graduate students will assist working groups on the development of food supply networks for local and regional foods, specialty pork and products related to bio-based businesses in Iowa.

"The sustainable agriculture minor complements our original agribusiness MBA program, which began in 1984," said Anthony Hendrickson, associate dean for the College of Business. "The agribusiness MBA was the original motivation to begin the ISU MBA degree program that is still the only ag MBA program in Iowa."

Sustainable agriculture considers community and environmental components as well as economical aspects of agricultural production systems. One of the goals of the Value Chain Partnerships project is to build value chains that reward small and midsize farmers in Iowa who follow sustainable agricultural practices in their operations.

"The premise of sustainable agriculture fits nicely with the growing commitment toward corporate social responsibility," said Labh Hira, dean of the College of Business. "This notion of accountability encompassing all stakeholders is a part of the business world's larger duty. It refers to business decision-making linked to ethical values, compliance with legal requirements and respect for people, communities and the environment."

To apply for one of the new MBA assistantships, contact Gretchen Zdorkowski, program coordinator for the College of Agriculture, at (515) 294-6061 or e-mail For more information about the MBA degree, go to


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