Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences received a $60,000 contribution from First Bank and Trust Company, headquartered in Lebanon, Va., to assist in establishing the David M. Kohl Chair in Agribusiness Management and Finance. Holder of the David M. Kohl Chair will direct the Center for Farm and Agribusiness Management that seeks to address the needs of farmers, agribusiness, and rural entrepreneurs in the areas of management, marketing, taxation, and legal issues.

This is the second major contribution from a Virginia agricultural lending institution to the endowment fund for the chair.

“First Bank and Trust’s gift brings us one step closer to expanding and strengthening our responsiveness to the educational and research needs of rural communities in the areas of management and marketing,” said Sharron Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It is critical that we are able to provide individuals in our rural and agricultural communities with the management and entrepreneurial skills necessary to survive and succeed in today’s business climate.”

“I think there is no better way to demonstrate our support for the college, our farmers, and our community than to participate in this initiative. The center will benefit the community we serve by giving valuable research knowledge back to the community to help agriculture continue as a viable industry,” said William H. Hayter, president and CEO of First Bank and Trust.

The endowed chair within the center is being named after David M. Kohl, professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics. Kohl taught more than 10,000 agri-finance and agri-business entrepreneurship students during his 25-years at Virginia Tech. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious American Agricultural Economics Association Outstanding Teacher Award. He has also received 14 public service awards and has published more than 400 articles on financial and business-related topics in journals and extension, and popular publications.

“First Bank and Trust Company based its business model upon linking traditional values to cutting-edge initiatives in the agricultural and rural communities of Virginia. The company’s investment in the center will help continue to enhance the creativity and innovation needed to keep Virginia’s agricultural and rural communities competitive in the global marketplace,” said Kohl.

The center will financially and intellectually support the land-grant mission of teaching, research, and extension in farm and agribusiness management within the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. The center also will foster an environment where new knowledge and approaches are created to address underlying problems and opportunities facing the people, businesses, and institutions that serve the commonwealth.

The First Bank & Trust Company offers a wide range of products and services, including free checking and a full compliment of loan products, as well as trust, brokerage and insurance services through its offices in Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee, and the Shenandoah and New River valleys.

Consistently ranked among the top institutions in agricultural research by the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading agricultural scientists. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program.

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