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K-State Today

July 29, 2014

International Grains Program Institute trains USDA-Cochran participants about grain purchasing

Submitted by Lisa Moser

The International Grains Program Institute hosted the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Cochran Program Grain Purchasing course on July 7-15 with seven participants from Vietnam. The course covered topics including the U.S. grain production and marketing system, grain storage techniques and price risk management.

Jay O'Neil, International Grains Program Institute senior agricultural economist, presented a majority of the course topics, which focused on contracting, futures markets, and trading and hedging.

"The more our international customers know and understand about our U.S. export system, the more confident they will be in buying U.S. origin grains and oilseeds," O'Neil said.

The course included classroom work and trips to several leading agricultural venues, including the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service, DeLong container loading facility, a local farm, K-State's feed mill, Cargill Grain Elevator in Topeka and Midwest Ag Services in Seneca.

A sales executive at Tan Long Trading Co., Manh Linh Truong, found the trips to be especially beneficial.

"Going to Cargill was great because we are planning to build a new feed mill in our company," Truong said. "Being able to see the Cargill facility answered a lot of my questions. Because of this opportunity, I was able to gain the knowledge needed before we can begin building."

With the constant market changes, it is important for industry professionals to be able to adapt and improve as the industry evolves, O'Neil said. One participant, Pham Tran Bich Hanh with Quangminh Corp., said the course exceeded her initial expectations of understanding grain purchasing.

"I wanted to know more about futures in terms of corn and soybeans," Hanh said. "Jay was good at that and was knowledgeable. He taught me a lot about how the market works."

This is just one example of the many courses offered through the International Grains Program Institute. In addition to grain marketing and risk management, the institute offers training in the areas of flour milling and grain processing, and feed manufacturing and grain management.