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NMSU takes top prize in ag marketing competition


New Mexico State University’s NAMA chapter placed first in NAMA’s 2023 Student Marketing Competition held earlier this month in St. Louis, outperforming more than two dozen other schools from the United States and Canada.

To prepare for the competition, 19 students worked together over the fall and spring semesters to develop a marketing plan around an agricultural product of their choice, using research and skills in agribusiness marketing, sales, public relations and advertising. The students included Hunter Alcon, Marissa Cereceres, Kari Dominguez, Sophia Flores, Gabriel Gregory, Kaleb Herndon, Elizabeth “Anne” Hodnett, Carmina Jaramillo Martinez, Analisa Jeffers, Emily Johnson, Brandon Larranaga, Maggie Long, Marisol Olivas, Antonio Ethan Ian Ortiz-Ulibarri, Morgan Owen, Charles “Tyler” Peraza, Chyanne Rael, Sarah Roderick and Patrick Torres.

The students’ marketing plan centered on a freeze-dried salsa product developed by a Las Cruces company. They submitted a five-page executive summary and presented their plan to a panel of marketing professionals who served as judges during the competition.

“We just took it round by round,” said Peraza, a senior majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural business who currently serves as the chapter’s president. “We had our presentation down well, and we felt we had a decent chance to make it to the semifinals. We made it to the semis, killed it there with all the questions, and felt confident we would make it to the finals.”

NMSU was one of six schools that made it to the finals – and ultimately later prevailed over Purdue, University of Guelph, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State.

It was the first time in more than a dozen years NMSU took first place in the competition. In 2021, NMSU placed second, behind the University of Guelph.

When the students returned to campus after winning the competition, dozens of their biggest supporters from across NMSU gathered in Gerald Thomas Hall for a surprise celebration.

 “Thank you very much for your dedication and hard work,” College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Dean Rolando A. Flores Galarza told the students. “You really made my day. A few years ago, we were national champions. But now, we are international champions.”

NMSU Regent and ACES alumna Dina Chacón-Reitzel also joined the celebration.

NMSU’s NAMA chapter brings together students from all majors interested in agribusiness marketing. Students work closely with faculty mentors from ACES Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business to hone their marketing skills and prepare for professional positions.