The IGP Institute at Kansas State University announced the retirement of Jay O’Neil, senior agricultural economist, effective June 30.
O’Neil joined the IGP Institute in 2006 after obtaining 32 years of experience in domestic and international commodity markets. O’Neil taught many IGP Institute courses focused on grain purchasing and risk management. O’Neil remained active in the grain industry serving on the Feed Association Contracts and Arbitration Committee along with publishing a weekly ocean freight and transportation report and traveled to 45 different countries on grain export related business.
When O’Neil began with IGP less than 10 courses were offered annually. According to Shawn Thiele, IGP interim associate director, O’Neil has been a critical player in helping IGP increase the number of courses it offers. With the support of the commission partners, O’Neil and the institute faculty led 44 courses on-site and 44 distance courses in 2017.
“Jay has been an amazing team member and instrumental driver to the growth and success of the IGP Institute over the last 12 years. His dedication and passion for the IGP Institute and meeting its mission has really shown over the years through his extensive work with many stakeholders and supporters,” Thiele says.
One of those close partnerships was with the Kansas Soybean Commission. Speaking about O’Neil, Kenlon Johannes, administrator and CEO of the Kansas Soybean Commission, says, “Jay always has been a great resource for Kansas soybean farmers and their checkoff board, even accompanying the commissioners on a trip to China. His knowledge of all facets of international trade – from transportation to product purchasing – has been invaluable to our export efforts.” Johannes adds, “He also has been great at communicating with our international buyers, clearly answering their questions with great detail.”
O’Neil also maintained a relationship with the U.S. Soybean Export Council staff and stakeholders. In talking about that relationship, Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO, says, “He (O’Neil) is a key resource for USSEC, speaking and teaching at countless workshops for us both here in the U.S. and internationally. When U.S. soy customers are learning from Jay, we know they’re getting the best possible information about markets, purchasing, trading, risk and U.S. supply chain.”
Along with his work with customers, O’Neil was also involved with the Kansas Wheat Commission. Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat, says, “Jay had the unique ability to relate Kansas farmers and buyers around the world. We have been fortunate to have someone who is an expert in their field and is passionate about our industry working with us.” He adds, “We appreciate all that he has done for Kansas farmers.”
In addition to his external work, O’Neil also served as a faculty member of grain science and industry at Kansas State. Speaking to O’Neil’s time with the university, Gordon Smith, IGP Institute director and grain science and industry department head, says, “Jay has been a productive and integral member of the IGP team for more than a decade. His team first attitude, subject matter expertise and institutional knowledge will be greatly missed.” He adds, “We thank Jay again for all his efforts to build our programs and wish him well in retirement.”