MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Participants from around the world traveled to the IGP Institute in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., for the annual two-week Grain Purchasing courses. The courses took place April 6-17, with 20 participants from 10 countries.

The first week of the course focused on how grain is traded and transported. This included U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grading standards and how they are implemented, how to read a USDA report and how to establish a proper contract among other topics.

“The markets that we are facing today complicate the jobs of grain merchandisers and grain buyers,” said Jay O’Neil, course coordinator and IGP Institute senior agricultural economist. “Our courses are designed to educate participants on the specific dangers involved in price risk and to provide them with the tools necessary to protect their companies.”

Between the first week and second week of sessions participants had the opportunity to join an optional field trip to an export facility in Houston, Texas, U.S., the Federal Grain Inspection Service in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., as well as 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, participants dug deeper into futures trading techniques, hedging and price risk management. Along with O’Neil, the course 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.”

The course featured presentations from industry professionals with interactive activities and discussions. Katrina Dela Cruz, course participant, felt the course layout offered a wide range of material that was easy to understand and digest.

“The theories explained and applied through the field trips and actual production tour sites combined in two weeks was very educating an enjoyable,” said Cruz.