Rural Entrepreneurship chair established at Texas A&M ag economics

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Parr Rosson, 979-845-2116, prosson@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Ed Rister has been named the inaugural holder of the M. Edward Rister ’74 Chair in Rural Entrepreneurship, according to Dr. Parr Rosson, head of the agricultural economics department at Texas A&M University.

Rister is professor and associate head of agricultural economics at Texas A&M and a Texas A&M AgriLife Research economist.

Dr. Ed Rister, professor and associate head of agricultural economics, Texas A&M University. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Blair Fannin)

Dr. Ed Rister, professor and associate head of agricultural economics, Texas A&M University, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research economist. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Blair Fannin)

“The non-endowed chair has been established for a five-year period to enhance support for the development of rural-based economic activity in Texas,” Rosson said.

Rosson said rural entrepreneurs are continually confronted with complex decisions related to a number of factors. Those include business location, enterprise selection and combinations, capital asset acquisition and financing, marketing strategies, policy choices, investment opportunities, risk management and resource control.

He said the chairholder is expected to develop a nationally-recognized program in rural entrepreneurship to develop  the entrepreneurial capacity of students in business or public sector startups related to agribusiness, production and processing, service, wholesale/retail trade, finance or land economics.

“The program will engage networks of existing entrepreneurs to mentor students, provide feedback and support chair holder activities.”

Rister, a faculty member since 1981, was recognized with a Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Teaching in January by Texas A&M AgriLife. The award documentation cited both his undergraduate and graduate teaching efforts during his career, and current leadership in AGEC 424 and AGEC 425 Rural Entrepreneurship capstone courses. In these courses, students develop a detailed prospectus addressing the economics, finances, producer and marketing aspects for a business of their individual choosing, with substantial interaction with real-world mentors and frequent one-on-one guidance by Rister.

More than 100 graduates, other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are annually involved in the end-of-year, two-day experience at which the students present their business plans. Annual scholarship support of more than $20,000 is contributed by former students and others.

“Dr. Rister has been one of the most influential people in my life ever since I first stepped into the classroom,” wrote Clinton “Bubba” Moser, a 2001 former student, in a nomination support letter. “His energy and passion about what he does for his students and for Texas A&M University is second to none.”

“Through his efforts, Dr. Rister has been able to touch students’ lives in a way very few professors take time to do,” wrote Mark Miller, a 1987 graduate in his letter of support.

“Dr. Rister made a huge impact on me because he was able to teach and show me the link between academics and life after graduation,” wrote Wesley Welch, a 2004 graduate in his letter of support.

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