Kansas experienced record rainfalls in June, causing farmers to worry if they would ever be able to harvest their wheat. Meanwhile, a group of individuals from Nigeria wondered if they would be able to see for themselves why Kansas is touted as “the breadbasket of the world.” Fortunately, the rain eventually stopped and harvest commenced.
In mid June, the IGP Institute welcomed 15 participants to the U.S. Wheat Nigerian Flour Milling course. As a major U.S. partner with the Nigerian milling industry, Kansas State University’s IGP Institute annually hosts a group of Nigerian flour millers.
Accompanying the group on the trip was Cathy Marais, an accountant for U.S. Wheat in Nigeria. “Not only does this course allow the millers to keep up with technology and new ideas, but also takes them back to grass roots,” Marais says.
Throughout the two-week course, participants shared their time between classroom presentations and hands-on laboratories. The instructor of this course was Mark Fowler, course manager and IGP Institute’s associate director.
“The Nigerian market is extremely important to hard red winter wheat producers. From bread to noodles, the market is very diverse and quality-oriented. In this two-week course, we led participants through the entire milling process from selecting the right class and quality of wheat, to producing the correct quality of flour for various wheat-based products,” Fowler says.
The participants not only learned the milling processes from on-site trainings at the Hal Ross Flour Mill, but they also traveled to several locations in Kansas to learn more about the entire milling operation.
The course included a field trip to observe Kansas agricultural practices. They began the trip by traveling to Newton, KS to tour Ardent Mills. Next they visited Salina, KS to witness a Kansas wheat harvest and new equipment technology in action at the Kejr family farm. The group wrapped up the day at the Cargill Grain Elevator where participants learned the economics of storing grain and the management practices that must be followed in the facility.
“What I enjoyed most about my experience at the IGP Institute was the people. The people have positive spirits, and they are willing to impart every detail they know unto you. You can ask any question and doing so led me to learn so much more,” says Abubakar Muyiwa Amuda, course participant.