By James Broaddus
Sophomore, agricultural communication major, agribusiness minor
The Cal Poly National AgriMarketing Association (NAMA) Team recently returned to Cal Poly with a suitcase full of hardware, big smiles, and another National Championship.
Cal Poly has clinched nationals three out of the last four years under the guidance of advisor Dr. Linsey Higgins, a Cal Poly alumnus of the Agribuisness Department before earning her masters and PhD in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M. Higgins selected the team in November and meetings began the first week of December.
The seven-person team included (from left to right): Eleanor Harlan, an agribusiness senior from Woodland; Caitlin Stevenson, a agribusiness junior from Santa Maria; Blair Brooks, an agribusiness senior from Kelseyville; Shane Gillard, a graduating agribusiness senior from Atwater; James Broaddus (myself), an agricultural communication sophomore from Davis; Jenna Nichol, an agribusiness junior from Cottonwood; and Molly Gilmartin, a graduating agribusiness senior from Valencia.
The National Agri-Marketing Association runs the annual student competition giving three guidelines for products. First, the teams must use an agricultural product/commodity that demonstrates a clear objective of benefiting the producer. Secondly, the team must emphasize value-added differentiation using marketing techniques of an existing product/commodity, and finally the product/commodity must assume operation in an existing market with a primary objective of displacing major competitors to gain market share.
Cal Poly’s team then created Rise, a line of baking mix products that offer added protein, fiber, and antioxidants compared to traditional competitors. Rise hosted one special ingredient, grape pomace flour, which is the remaining seeds, stems, and leaves of grapes after being pressed into wine—roughly 18% of every grape—and then dried and ground for flour.
The team connected with experts at Jackson Family Wines in Sonoma, Calif. to write a five-page executive summary for launching the product into retail markets. Additionally, a twenty-minute presentation was prepared complemented with an in-depth slide deck.
After months of hard preparation in the library, the Cal Poly NAMA team boarded a plane to Dallas, Texas to compete against 29 schools from across the country. Following the morning preliminary round, the team moved into the semi-final round in the afternoon. That evening, my team was announced as being one of the top six teams slated for the final round. During the final presentation, the team’s hard work and collaboration shown through propelling Cal Poly to win another championship!
With all the time spent together, I would like to publically thank our advisor Dr. Higgins for her time, patience, and effort put forth to drive and motivate us as a team to be the very best. Congratulations on being awarded the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science Advisor of the Year—it is well deserved.
To the rest of the team: it was an honor and a pleasure working with each and every one of you. I truly value all the long hours spent in the yellow lab of the library despite the late nights, by the end we turned into a real family.