MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — The Kansas State University (KSU) International Grains Program (IGP) teamed up with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to host a course in Colombia June 12-June 15, highlighting issues of grain contracting, grain quality and ocean freight.

IGP has been hosting short courses since the 1980s on-site and via distance education, but until recently IGP faculty had never traveled elsewhere to deliver on of their standard short courses. IGP and USGC held a Grain Purchasing Short Course in Bogota, Colombia and Medellin, Colombia.

Jay O’Neil, senior agricultural economist, describes this as an opportunity to showcase the programs outside of the U.S. IGP faculty held five, one-day short courses for five different audiences. The short courses took place at four of the top feed manufacturing companies in Colombia and included more than 80 participants. The content of the topics will help Ana María Ballesteros, international purchasing manager for Solla S.A., and other participants to better understand the information during purchasing.

“I learned to request more information to providers at the time of purchase to show a greater knowledge of the business. The right to log inspection, different types of fumigation, the need to request guarantees for fat and protein in DDGS, and to request proof,” Ballesteros said.

With IGP expanding its course offerings off-site, it allows them to reach a broader audience. O’Neil said that it is important to strengthen the relationship with Colombia now because the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement has recently been passed allowing easier trade to take place between the U.S. and Colombia.

“With the recent ratification of the U.S. - Colombia Free Trade Agreement, U.S. wheat, feed grain and soybean farmers have reason to be optimistic about the opportunity to recapture market shares in Colombia,” O’Neil said.

IGP and USGC together are able to diversify and expand the content, as well as make it more accessible to people around the world. Having that relationship with other grains companies is important because trends are always changing. Participants from this course understood that concept and appreciated having the accessibility to attend the presentations.

“IGP has a knowledge which is really important for companies that handle grain. In our daily life we learn many things by events that happen, with IGP’s knowledge we can learn it in advance,” Ballesteros said. “USGC can also adequately get together companies that best take advantage of this information and allow access to this knowledge.”

Due to this course, IGP is hoping to open doors to other opportunities to deliver courses overseas. Being able to take a course off-site is more cost effective for participants and allows more people to come together and network.