PHOTO: Eric Maichel, Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program extrusion lab manager, shows extruded product to American Soybean Association International Marketing short course participants. The extrusion process forces mixed ingredients through an opening in a perforated plate, or die, designed specifically for a food or feed product, which is then cut to a specified size by blades.
To native Kansans, fields of rolling, golden wheat and deep red, harvest-ready sorghum are familiar sights.
But to a visitor from another country, those fields might be as foreign as the metric system is to a Kansan.
For those attending International Grains Program training sessions, that unfamiliarity soon fades. IGP’s mission is for those visitors to gain a new understanding of Kansas and U.S. cereal grains and oilseeds.
“The International Grains Program provides the global grain-based food and feed industry with leading-edge continuing education and technical assistance that increases the preference for Kansas wheat, corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum in the global marketplace,” said Dirk Maier, IGP director and head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry.
In 2012, IGP hosted 530 participants from 35 countries, who attended one of its 32 short courses. The program, which was started in 1978, is divided into three curriculum areas: feed manufacturing and grain management, flour milling and grain processing, and grain marketing and risk management.
To keep up with market demands and trends, IGP has expanded its curriculum to offer customized courses in Spanish and via distance education. Additionally, throughout the year the IGP Conference Center hosts many academic and industry conferences, meetings, and tours.
As the second vice president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and a past president of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Paul Penner has seen the opportunities participants have by attending IGP short courses.
“IGP brings customers and users to the source and gives them tools and knowledge that are invaluable,” Penner said.
Ivonne de Alvarado of El Salvador is a two-time participant who has put this training to practice.
“I came home after the grain-purchasing course and talked to my boss about the things I learned, de Alvarado said. “We changed the way we were buying and saved nearly $200,000.”
She added, “He sent me back to learn more.”
Recognizing that opportunity, Lance Rezac, at-large commissioner at the Kansas Soybean Commission, explained why creating that experience for participants is an investment for Kansas and U.S. agriculture.
“Any time that the customer can get to know you, put a name with a face and can actually see the process by which we produce a healthy, clean product with nutritional value, I think that they can leave with a good comfort level about buying our product,” Rezac said.
According to IGP associate director Mark Fowler, the program continues to be a source of education and training in the grain science industry because of the collaborative dedication and common goal of many people.
“The partnership IGP has with state, national, and international groups expands our influence and enhances the reach of our program,” Fowler said. “With participants from more than 30 countries annually, IGP does have a global impact.”
The short courses are conducted at the International Grains Program Conference Center and the Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program building in the Grain Science and Industry Complex on Kimball Avenue, northeast of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
For More Information:
Mark Fowler, 785-532-1189, firstname.lastname@example.org
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