CSU, Chico

Jessica Neugebauer, Agricultural Business

Jessica Neugebauer, Agricultural Business

Jessica Neugebauer is on her way to becoming a marketing guru. She helped her Domestic Food Marketing Team win at the Western Collegiate Food Marketing Competition, and she and her fellow teammates will represent CSU, Chico at another marketing contest in Puerto Rico this fall.    

"My friend Bliss Bidwell actually talked me into joining the team, and I'm so glad that I had the chance to be a part of such a great experience and team," Neugebauer said.

During the spring of 2012, Neugebauer competed in Fresno, California, at the Western Collegiate Food Marketing Competition on the Chico State Domestic Team. Neugebauer helped her team win the competition by presenting their Bacchanalia Liqueur-infused ice cream marketing plan they developed in Agriculture and Food Marketing Composition, ABUS 412.

Along with three other College of Agriculture students, Neugebauer is competing in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 13–14 at the 2012 Food Distribution Research Society Student Food Marketing Challenge. "I chose to participate because it's uncharted territory for me and for Chico State," Neugebauer said. "I thought that this would be a great opportunity to meet new people, discover a little about Puerto Rico, learn more about businesses, represent Chico State, and, of course, create memories."

After committing to the team, she found out just how big a challenge she is facing. She had been under the impression that the team would come up with a product and market that product to a panel of judges, just as they did in Fresno. Instead, this competition requires teams to play the role of consultants competing for the account of a mystery company that is facing a challenge that may be related to supply, distribution, marketing, or management. The team will then develop potential solutions to the problem and present their plan to a company executive.

In addition to her involvement in the Food Marketing Team, Neugebauer is a member of Young Cattlemen's Association (YCA) and the agricultural business club, Society of Agriculture Managers. Neugebauer also works at the CSU, Chico Farm Office, where she has been employed for the past year.   

"At the farm you get to see all the different businesses within the farm such as the meats lab, crops and orchards" Neugebauer said. "I do a lot of clerical work and typical office duties, but I also do things that most wouldn't do in a normal office setting. Writing receipts for eggs and products from the meats lab are a part of my daily tasks. Whether it's apparel or nuts and olive oil, I am always stocking shelves or selling these goods to customers."

Most of the calls the office gets besides campus calls are people interested in scheduling tours or people wishing to purchase University Farm commodities, including eggs, organic vegetables, and meat.

"I have learned so much about accounts payable, accounts receivable, and many other tasks that a classroom can't cover," Neugebauer added. "The University Farm is different from that of a regular business because we have to follow guidelines from the University as well as basic business guidelines."

CSU, Chico was one of several schools Neugebauer had to choose among when planning her transfer from Modesto Junior College. In fact, she originally wanted to transfer out of state, but she decided she liked it here in California. The Chico campus's natural environment and the fact that it is close to her McArthur, California, home won her over. She said she is glad she made the decision because of the relationships she has formed within the College of Agriculture. "The teachers are on a personal basis with you, and I like that they have an open door policy," she said.

"I chose ag business as my major because I want to become a fair manager, and running a fair is like running a business," Neugebauer added. "In addition, ag business opens a lot of other opportunities careerwise."

Over the course of her college career, Neugebauer has had internships and positions at numerous fairs and fair organizations. In January she was the "Blue Ribbon Intern" at the 2012 Annual Western Fairs Association Convention. She has clerked for county fairs throughout Northern California, including Placer, Stanislaus, and Butte. This summer she was the assistant superintendent at the Dixon May Fair and entry office assistant at the California State Fair, among other clerical positions at numerous fairs in the state of California.

"Not only are fairs a place to gather and socialize, but they are a place of education," she noted. "The public needs to be informed of the importance of agriculture and the fair industry, especially with the big hit fairs took in government funding. When I become a fair manager, I can see to it that the general public gets the opportunity to learn more about agriculture and the fair industry."