NCI Procurement Courses Advance Into Electronic Trading

Fargo, N.D., USA -- Twenty-one soybean buyers from seven Southeast Asian nations will learn how to better negotiate electronic trading systems as they attend the Soybean Procurement Management for Importers short course at Northern Crops Institute (NCI) this week.  Focus of the course is to learn more about contracting and purchasing U.S. soybeans.

The course is hosted at NCI from October 6-12.  Then the group travels to Portland, Ore., where the course concludes October 16.

Course participants are from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

“This course is the result of a multi-state effort by the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota soybean organizations, who are providing major funding for this program.  For Northern Crops Institute, this soybean program is the first of its kind in that it is generated at the grassroots level, in cooperation with the American Soybean Association International Marketing (ASAIM),” says NCI Director Mark Weber.
“Soybean research has shown that northern-grown soybeans have very high protein quality, which is a true indicator of feeding value and efficiency in livestock.  The Southeast Asian region is a very large and growing market.  We believe that we can capitalize on that growth by bringing customers here to improve their risk management skills, which they then can apply to their U.S. soybean purchases,” Weber concludes.

Much of the course will take place in the electronic Commodity Trading Room (CTR), a new addition to the Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department at North Dakota State University (NDSU), Fargo.  In this new commodity trading and financial laboratory, students will learn how to extract and analyze information, and then make decisions with respect to risk and risk management. The CTR is the brainchild of William Wilson, Ph.D., NDSU Distinguished Professor of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, who is the lead instructor for the NCI procurement courses. 

“Our trading room is truly unique because of its focus on agricultural trading. It is critical to expose students to the modern technology currently used in this industry.  I envision organizing the procurement classes around the trading room as a means of illustrating the tools and technology of trading,” says Wilson. 

The CTR is a high-technology room with live information feeds for financial information including equities and credit, plus commodity market information such as agriculture, energy and biofuels.  The room has 32 seats, each with a PC station and dual monitors. Students have electronic access to information through Bloomberg, DTN and X-Trader simulation software from Trading Technologies, a state of the art tool for executing electronic trades. 

John Crabtree, NCI Assistant Director, coordinates the course.  Additional instructors are Gordy Elliot, INTL FC Stone; Miguel Escobar, Global Director, Animal Utilization, U.S. Soybean Export Council; Thunyaporn (Naggie) Jeradechachai, NCI Crop Quality Specialist; Mike Krueger, The Money Farm; Ryan Motl, Gavilon Grain; and Frayne Olson, Ph.D., NDSU Extension Service.   

During the Fargo portion of the course, the group will visit Agassiz Valley Grain, Barnesville, Minn., hosted by Manager Dan Noreen; Alton Grain Terminal, Hillsboro, N.D., hosted by Manager Cory Tryan; and the Pete Lovas farm near Mayville, N.D.
During the second week of the course, NCI Director Mark Weber will accompany the group to Portland, Ore., where most soybean shipments to Asia originate.  In Portland, they will visit the Federal Grain Inspection Service, hosted by Tom Steele; Wheat Marketing Center, hosted by Executive Director David Shelton, Ph.D.; the Port of Longview export grain terminal, hosted by Brad Hansen, EGT, LLC; and the Port of Grays Harbor export grain terminal, hosted by Craig Pietig, Ag Processing Inc.