MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Participants from across the globe traveled to the International Grains Program (IGP) for the annual two-week grain purchasing courses. The courses took place March 31-April 11, with a field trip to an export facility in Portland, Oregon, U.S., as well as the Chicago Board of Trade.
The first week, March 31-April 3, featured presentations and discussions about contracting, transportation and logistics, and it allowed the 10 participants to network and learn from each other.

“The range of presentations that were featured provided grain buyers and traders with the tools needed to ensure product quality, while managing price risk and contract integrity,” said Jay O’Neil, course coordinator and IGP senior agricultural economist.

The realistic aspect of the course was what participant, Theiva Muthu, found most interesting. He is responsible for a lot of his company’s commodities and attending this course will help him do his job better, he said.

“Sixty percent of my time is invested into commercial sourcing with commodities and a lot of it comes from the U.S. so I wanted to understand more about the sourcing and all the elements that go into it,” Muthu said. “It has helped me understand my job and how to do it better.”

Between the first week of sessions and the second week, participants had the opportunity to join an optional field trip to an export facility in Portland, Oregon, U.S., and also to the Chicago Board of Trade. This gave participants a more direct idea of how the export systems and trading works, O’Neil said.

During the second week, April 7-11, the nine participants dug deeper into futures trading techniques, hedging and price risk management.

A participant from the course, Jonah Nickerson, said the caliber of the course exceeded his expectations. Nickerson was directed to this course by a coworker and after attending he realized why it was highly recommended.

“My coworkers who have attended have said it was a great course and I have seen that. The knowledge of the staff is great and the structure of the course and the knowledge I have gained is fantastic,” Nickerson said.

Along with O’Neil, the courses highlighted industry and academic presenters with experience in grain purchasing and pricing challenges.

“Each of the key fundamentals that domestic and international grain buyers and traders need to know to conduct their business in a proper way are taught and discussed in this course,” O’Neil said. “It is more than just educating people on how to write a contract and manage risk. We cover what professionals need to know to protect their company’s best interests and hopefully stay away from trouble.”