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AMES, IOWA, U.S. – The Iowa Grain Quality Initiative (IGQI) and the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) will be partnering to offer a week-long course in advanced grain elevator operations management. The course will be offered on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa, U.S., Jan. 8-12, 2018. 

“We are excited to partner with Iowa State to offer this course for grain elevator managers in the state of Iowa and surrounding area,” said Joel Brinkmeyer, chief executive of the AAI. “The close relationship between IGQI and the AAI Grain Committee keeps our members up to date with information on the latest technology, seasonal challenges, and regulatory changes. This course will be a new opportunity to provide professional development for front line operations managers and location superintendents.” 

The 1,100 members of the AAI represent a wide range of ag-related businesses, including more than 95% of all grain facilities in the state of Iowa.

“AAI is on our IGQI advisory council and we have been discussing different approaches to partner with them in delivering educational offerings to their members and the Iowa grain industry,” said Charles Hurburgh, who directs the IGQI. “Iowa State has rapidly increased its emphasis on grain and grain processing in recent years, with the start of a feed mill development project, addition of Dr. (Dirk) Maier to the faculty, and the creation of an academic minor in feed technology. The technologies and risk management required of grain elevators are quickly turning grain handling into an industrial supply chain. This course will help current operators be on the leading edge of this transformation.”

Dirk Maier, professor of grain and feed operations and processing in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and a member of the IGQI management team, will lead the course. 

“Managing grain for maximum quality and quantity during handling, drying and storage is key to profitability of a grain elevator,” Maier said. “Operations personnel carry a critical responsibility for minimizing shrink loss and maximizing quality. This course will teach the scientific principles and advanced practical skills to further increase the professional competence of grain industry employees.” 

Maier expects grain elevator managers from Iowa and surrounding states to attend the course, which is scheduled to allow for driving to Ames on Monday morning and back home Friday afternoon. 

The course will be team-taught by Bob Marlow, owner of Operations Professional Services and a trainer with over 40 years of grain industry experience. Course content is based on the book Managing Stored Grain to Preserve Quality and Value written by Carl Reed. Each course participant will receive the book as part of his or her registration fee. Subjects will include personnel management, operations costs, grain quality characteristics and measurement, air properties for drying and cooling, handling and conveying to minimize grain breakage, principles of grain drying and conditioning, grain monitoring and aeration control, and managing shrink loss to maximize profit. The emphasis of all topics will be on operating economics.

The course will be registered for participants to earn three continuing education units (3 CEUs) through Iowa State University that will be transferable toward maintaining existing grain industry credentials. Registered professional engineers will be able to submit course participation to count toward professional development hours.

The AAI exists for the purpose of advocating, communicating and educating on behalf of a proactive, profitable, and environmentally responsible professional agribusiness industry. The AAI’s membership consists of over 1,100 business locations across the state that supply feed, seed, crop protection chemicals, grain, fertilizer, equipment and additional products and services that benefit agriculture as a whole.