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National Agri-marketing Association Team Finds Success in Kansas City

Farm Business Management Update, June/July 2006

By Dixie Watts Reaves (, Associate Professor, Agribusiness Management and Marketing, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech student National Agri-marketing Association (NAMA) team recently advanced to the finals in competition in Kansas City, Missouri, one of nearly 30 teams from the United States and Canada. The NAMA competition includes both a written and oral marketing plan, completed for an agricultural product or service of the team's choice. The Virginia Tech team began working last fall semester to create a plan for marketing square watermelon. Utilizing information from Japan, where square watermelons have already been introduced, team members interacted with engineers at Virginia Tech to determine the characteristics of a patented growing cube for the watermelon. The six-member student team then conducted primary and secondary market research; developed goals and objectives for a three-year roll-out; set pricing and promotional strategies; estimated three-year financial projections; and determined a strategy for monitoring and measuring the success of the plan.

While in Kansas City, the Virginia Tech team had the opportunity to present its plan three times. The team was one of two to advance from its initial heat of five teams to the semi-final round of twelve competitors. Virginia Tech was then one of two schools to advance from its semifinal round to the final six. While the judges did not select them as the winner of the competition, Virginia Tech’s marketing plan for square watermelon, utilizing the slogan, “It’s cool 2 B square,” was chosen as the popular pick award by students, advisors, and marketing professionals who witnessed the final round. In addition to making it to the finals of the marketing competition, the Virginia Tech team also made it to the finals of the Outstanding Student Chapter competition, based on the activities documented in their 2005-06 annual report. Team members were Morgan Allen, Rose Bradshaw, Jeff Kidd, John Muncy, Wendy Slusher, Devon Smith, and Kathryn Taylor. The team was advised by Dr. Dixie Watts Reaves and Mr. Scott Sink.

Past years’ teams have conducted marketing plans for the Agricultural Lending University, Grab ‘em & Go Nuts, Appalachian Aquaculture Live Tilapia, Blue Ridge Premium Beef, Graves Mountain Jams and Jellies, and Ruby Rainbow Trout. Any business that would like for the NAMA team to consider its product or service for next year’s competition should contact Dixie Reaves at


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