CABNR alumnus Bill Helming encourages young entrepreneurs

Bill Helming is a highly respected agribusiness consultant and economist.
Bill Helming is a highly respected agribusiness consultant and economist.

As a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, Bill Helming ’64, ’66 M.S. (agriculture economics) was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Professors and mentors encouraged him to become a professor or administrator. He listened graciously, thanked them, and then did his own thing.

“When someone you admire and respect gives you advice, you don’t take that lightly,” says Helming, the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR). “But I really wanted to show them the direction I was going would be successful.”

And it was. Helming has been self-employed since 1972 as the owner of Bill Helming Consulting Services (formerly the Helming Group), which became one of the most respected agribusiness consulting firms in the country.

In gratitude to the university that helped lay the foundation for his success, Helming has established the Bill Helming Agribusiness and Entrepreneurial Scholarship to support students with an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong desire to work in the private sector after graduation. The scholarship is both merit and character based.

“This is my way of giving back to the University and encouraging students to embrace the United States capitalistic and free-enterprise system,” Helming says.

Helming is a nationally known economist, agribusiness consultant, author and speaker with clients and subscribers throughout the U.S. and Canada. From 1977-1991, Helming produced the Helming Report, a syndicated radio broadcast featuring economic and agriculture sector commodity market outlook.

In 1988, the University of Nevada Board of Regents honored Helming with the Centennial Alumnus Award. He also gave the Commencement address that May.

 “In many ways, he is a shining example of the type of student who graduates from a land-grant university,” says CABNR Dean Bill Payne.

After completing his bachelor’s and master’s at the University, Helming became the first chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the founder and general manager of CattleFax. He has been self-employed as a consultant since 1972.

Helming’s next venture is a large-scale, sustainable, vertically integrated farming operation, which will produce forage-based rations to grow cattle to increase the supply of ground beef to U.S. consumers at more affordable prices. The company will have seven operating divisions, including farming, feedlot, cattle ownership, beef-packing, chicken production and processing, hamburger and chicken restaurant food merchandising, and solar, wind and renewable energy.

“This project, dream and vision represents a culmination of my life’s work since graduating from the University,” Helming said.

by Roseann Keegan