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International Grains Program helps build a foundation

Wheat commissioners from across the U.S. traveled to the International Grains Program at Kansas State University for the Wheat Commissioners Training Program. Seventeen members participated in the training opportunity held Dec. 10 to 12, 2012.

Throughout the week, participants attended presentations from Mark Fowler, milling specialist and IGP associate director; Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat; and Dave Krishock, flour quality and baking specialist. To start off the course, participants were in the classroom learning about the classes and quality of wheat, milling math and blending.

"We came to get an education about what we do," says Tom Zwainz, director for the Washington Grain Commission and wheat grower. "When we get new directors, we need to send them through these types of trainings to give them a better foundation with which to make decisions."

During the training, participants had the opportunity to put that knowledge to the test during a bakery laboratory in Shellenberger Hall at K-State and a soft and hard wheat milling laboratory in the Hal Ross Flour Mill. The laboratory experiences gave the participants a better understanding of how wheat is made into flour and the different classes of wheat, Fowler says.

"Scientifically, things haven't changed in the process of making flour in over 100 years, but I hadn't realized all that it takes to break down wheat into flour," Zwainz says.

Another participant, Shelia Frahm, Kansas Wheat Commission, has wanted to attend a milling course for 30 years, and she says the hands-on learning experience is a follow up to her dream. She now knows wheat definitions, different classes of wheat and steps of milling.

"We've been able to condense three semesters of classes into three days and we've experienced something pretty incredible," Frahm says. "Through this course I've seen wheat from kernel to flour and I did not realize there were so many steps to the process."

With such a high percentage of U.S. wheat being exported, it is crucial that wheat growers and buyers understand the international market as well.

This is just one example of the many partnership trainings offered through IGP. In addition, IGP offers trainings in the areas of feed manufacturing and grain management, flour milling and grain processing, and grain marketing and risk management. To learn about the training opportunities offered by IGP please visit the IGP website at www.grains.k-state.edu/igp.

Date: 1/7/2013

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