Ethiopians learn basics of US wheat quality

Kansas State University IGP Institute hosted the USDA Cochran Ethiopia course

Kansas is known to many as the wheat state and the statistics back that up. Kansas was the number one wheat-producing state in 2016 and a large exporter of wheat. One of the emerging markets for wheat exports is Ethiopia.

With the goal of helping to educate potential importers of Kansas and U.S. wheat, the Kansas State University IGP Institute hosted the USDA Cochran Program for Ethiopia—Introduction to U.S. Wheat Quality and Grading training—April 17-27. Through this course, participants learned about U.S. wheat quality and grading, and they toured farms, grain handling operations and port facilities.

“It was interesting to be able to discuss U.S. wheat quality and grading with the Ethiopians and learn about their operations,” says Shawn Thiele, IGP’s flour milling and grain processing course curriculum manager and course coordinator.

“The Ethiopians were impressed with the methods of determining wheat quality and function in the U.S. and seeing the size and scale of farms, grain elevators, the export facility and the mill. They were eager to go back home to incorporate the techniques they learned here into their own milling practices.”

The course exposed the participants to classroom learning and laboratory training through the following topics: U.S. wheat grading standards, U.S. wheat classifications and production structure, wheat quality analysis and baking.

In addition, course participants went on tours to see all aspects of wheat production. Stops in Kansas included Ardent Mills, Newton; Cargill, Salina; Kejr Farm, Brookville; Hal Ross Flour Mill, Kansas State University, Manhattan; USDA Office, Manhattan; AIB International, Manhattan; and the Kansas Wheat Commission and Heartland Innovation Lab, Manhattan. Other tours were held at the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland, Ore.; Kalama Grain Export Facility, Kalama, Wash.; and U.S. Wheat West Coast Office, Portland.

“The course is really inspiring, because everything has been organized and very automated,” says Abeba Tesfaye Meteku, co-owner and deputy managing director of Girum Food Complex P.L.C. “We learned a lot of higher grading, especially when we had to build a product in our workshop. It was interesting to go through each of the milling stages from seeing the wheat at the beginning to the final product.”

The IGP Institute offers several other training courses in addition to flour milling and grain processing. The institute holds training in feed manufacturing and grain quality management and grain marketing and risk management. To learn more about these other training opportunities, visit the IGP Institute website at