Jayson Gill
In 2021, Jayson Gill received two bachelor’s degrees, one in Agribusiness from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and another from Crop and Soil Sciences from the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. He received his master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics in May 2023.

Gill grew up on his family’s farm located in Virginia’s Northern Neck, surrounded by crops of corn, soybean, wheat, and pumpkins. It was no surprise that life on the farm played a big role in his love for agriculture and drive to want to help farmers. It was a natural transition for him to attend Virginia Tech.

As an undergraduate student, Gill was part of the Commodity Investing by COINS at Virginia Tech student organization, also known as COINS, the only student-managed commodity fund in the U.S. managing a portfolio of more than $1 million.

“I have been exposed to commodity trading with real money. I learned a lot in the classroom, but to have this type of experiential experience is invaluable,” Gill said.

After graduating in 2021, the organization’s advisor, Olga Isengildina-Massa, the John B. and Kristi L. Rowsell professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, talked with Gill about graduate school.

“Faculty-student mentoring is the best. I was fortunate to have Dr. Massa guide and help me determine that my next best step should be to continue my education. I am glad she did,” Gill said.

The department’s graduate program allowed Gill to do the very research he is passionate about and that is to help Virginia’s grain farmers get the most money they can for their crops.

His research focused on Virginia grain markets and aimed to point out patterns and tendencies in the local grain markets to help grain farmers get the most return for their grain. His research also focused on different hedging and marketing strategies that farmers can utilize for better returns and risk management.

Another way he is helping farmers is through the Virginia Commodity Marketing website.

The newly enhanced website showcases Gill’s research along with research from a former graduate student, Elijah Griles, who developed similar information for feeder cattle. The website provides instrumental resources like local grain locations, hedging strategies, a target price calculator, and more. The webpage also features Gill’s case study outlining hedging using the futures market versus selling in Virginia’s cash markets.

“Grain marketing is one of the most complicated and the Virginia Commodity Marketing website will help with this challenge that farmers face,” Gill said.

“Jayson gained a lot from his graduate degree supported by USDA NIFA National Needs Fellowship but at the same time, he has always been ready to give back. He gave back through his support and service to the COINS program as a graduate fellow and through sharing the results of his research with VA producers via the Virginia Commodity Marketing website. He is a true representation of Ut Prosim,” said Massa. 

Gill scouting a canola field in Australia on a study abroad trip in 2022. Photo courtesy of Jayson Gill.
Gill scouting a canola field in Australia on a study abroad trip in 2022. Photo courtesy of Jayson Gill.

After graduating, Gill began working for Perdue Agribusiness as a grain originator in Tappahannock, VA. His responsibilities include maximizing local grain origination and procurement with farmers and dealers to ensure a timely and cost-effective supply of grain.

Gill is happy he gets to work near his family’s farm and with many of the farmers that he grew up around. “Some of my best memories growing up were going to the grain elevator with my dad.” For decades, Gill’s farm has sold grain to the very company he is now working for … “Dreams do come true,” he said with a smile.  

By Melissa Vidmar
June 2023