MSU Extension welcomes new farm business management educator

Meet Daniel Ochs, farm business management educator serving northern Michigan.

Dan Ochs

We are pleased to welcome a new Michigan State University Extension farm business management educator to northern Michigan! Daniel Ochs joined MSU Extension in June 2018 and his office is housed out of the Antrim Country MSU Extension office, where he serves northern Michigan clients. Within the realm of farm business management, Ochs assists farmers with a wide variety of farm management topics and has special interests in farm financial analysis, succession planning and precision agriculture. Ochs is originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York and comes to MSU with a unique skillset, blending his formal education with first-hand field experiences.

Growing up in New York’s Finger Lakes’ agricultural landscape, Ochs has had a close connection with farming since his childhood. As a young adult, he decided to attend college to expand his understanding of agriculture by studying the economics related to the scope of factors involved in agricultural production. More specifically, Ochs’ curiosity of consumer choices and behavior as economic drivers led him to pursue his bachelor’s of science in applied economics and management from Cornell University, which he received in 2010.

Following graduation, Ochs put his degree to work as an agricultural finance analyst in Mexico City, Mexico. Ochs was awarded this opportunity through a one-year Fulbright scholarship program. Prior to his position in Mexico City, Ochs had studied Spanish and exercised his bilingualism while studying abroad in Costa Rica as a high school student. However, it was in Mexico that Ochs became fluent in Spanish. He also gained a great appreciation for Mexican culture, history and tacos!

After completing his Fulbright, Ochs returned home to the Finger Lakes region to work for his family’s crop consulting agency that serves more than 200 dairy and field crop producers. As an Ochs Consulting, LLC consultant, Ochs earned his Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and assisted consumers with agronomic decisions and precision agriculture techniques, including seed selection, soil and plant tissue testing, field scouting, integrated pest management and variable rate seeding and nutrition inputs. Ochs also gained experience in on-farm research while working for the New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association and experience with vegetable production in Fairbanks, Alaska.

It was through his experience conducting research and working directly on farms that Ochs discovered a passion for unbiased science-based information that would help agricultural producers. With this new mindset, Ochs pursued a graduate program at Michigan State University where he completed his master’s of science in agricultural, food and resource economics in June 2018. His thesis identified consumer preferences for how eggs are produced and labeled in grocery stores.

In his short time with MSU Extension, Ochs has already made an impression with growers and his colleagues in northern Michigan. He is working to develop dynamic economic tools that will help fruit growers with farm business decisions related to tart cherry and apple production; he has also submitted research proposals to fund future farm business projects. We are fortunate to have Ochs’ talent and expertise in northern Michigan.

Keep up the good work, Dan, and welcome aboard!

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