Agribusiness and Applied Economics


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Students learn high-tech world of commodity trading

It’s an amazing introduction to the fast-paced, pressure-packed world of risk management and trading. The scene is NDSU’s new Commodity Trading Room.
Students learn high-tech world of commodity trading

Paul Rice and Vance Zacharias

It’s an amazing introduction to the fast-paced, pressure-packed world  of risk management and trading. The scene is NDSU’s new Commodity Trading Room.

Described as a laboratory to analyze commodity markets, the facility features the latest and best in technology.

 “It’s all very state-of-the-art. Students learn the technology that is becoming commonplace in the commodity marketing field,” said William Wilson, University Distinguished Professor of agribusiness and applied economics. “With a few clicks of a button, you can now do things that would have taken months previously.”

 The assignments are prime examples of learning by doing.

 Using dynamic linkages, students can produce spreadsheet analysis using multiple sources of information. Anything on a monitored screen can be linked to another screen, and the instant a number or order changes anywhere, it automatically updates the spreadsheet statistics.

 “The Commodity Trading Room is probably the best teaching tool that has been presented to me during my time at NDSU,” said senior Matt Poulson, an agricultural economics major from Casselton, N.D., who enjoys following rapid market changes through trading programs by Bloomberg and DTN-ProphetX. “It allows us to get a feel for what we can expect as commodity traders. I like using the same technology that we will be using once we are out in the working world as grain merchandisers and traders.”

 Meantime, Tanner Rohloff, a senior majoring in agricultural economics from Morris, Minn., said the high-tech equipment and marketing programs provide an essential real-world experience. “Th Commodity Trading Room is a top-of-the-line facility that has had a tremendous impact on my education here at NDSU,” he said. “It is incredible how simple these programs make extracting important data such as basis history and price trends that would typically be a serious time commitment.”

 Stephan Johansen, a graduate student in international agribusiness from Furnes, Norway, used information and software available in the facility for his thesis. “The information and analytical software at our disposition allows you to find all information imaginable,” Johansen explained. “It has prepared me to take a question, find the data and analyze it to find the answer. In the end, I think this is one of the most important things you can learn.”

 Located on the first floor of Richard H. Barry Hall, the trading room has 32 workstations and can be expanded to 48 seats.

 “Our goal is to teach students how to extract data efficiently from the multi-media world we live in,” Wilson said. “Employers tell us they want more students, more technology and better training. With the Commodity Trading Room, we are doing that.”

 Funding for the facility has come from a variety of sources. The Office of the Provost and NDSU Technology Fee Advisory Committee supplied seed money. Also, agribusiness companies provided fi   ncial support, including ADM, CHS, Gavilon, Th Rice Trader and George M. Schuler III of Minn-Kota Ag Products Inc. State commodity organizations also provided funds, including the North Dakota Corn Council, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Wheat Commission and Northern Crops Institute.

Featuring State of the Art Software Technologies
Blooomberg MarketsDTNTrading Technologies@Risk
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