The idea for a Conference on Applied Statistics in Agriculture was hatched when Drs. Jim Higgins and Jim Schwenke, faculty members in the department with partial appointments in the College of Agriculture, met for coffee one day in the late 1980s. They believed there would be great enthusiasm for a conference with an emphasis on the problems faced by those who work in and with agricultural research. Dr. George Milliken, statistics department head at the time, invited Dr. Ron Hocking from Texas A&M University to be the keynote speaker for the inaugural conference held in Manhattan in the spring of 1989. The conference was named the Kansas State University Conference on Applied Statistics in Agriculture and it was an immediate success. At the conclusion of the conference, plans began immediately for an encore event the next year. The conference has been held annually since 1989.
The conference has remained relatively small, with registrations typically ranging from 100 to 125 annually. It has sought to provide an intimate venue where researchers from government, industry and academia, as well as students, could interact with one another on a face-to-face basis. Team-delivered talks in which subject matter scientists present scientific background and statisticians then discuss the challenges and solutions to data analysis have always been encouraged and well received.
In addition to a keynote address and contributed papers and posters, since 1995 the conference has included a technical workshop as well. A complete list of keynote speakers, their affiliations, keynote titles and workshop topics can be found below.