A new space for students to learn about commodity marketing, logistics, trading and risk management is nearing completion in Richard H. Barry Hall. The commodity trading room is scheduled to be available for classes starting next fall. Equipment is scheduled to be installed in June.
William Wilson, University Distinguished Professor, said the room was developed in response to the growth in commodities trading and the importance of commodity trading to North Dakota, which includes trading in agricultural, energy and transportation products. “The output will be more and better trained students who will work in the different segments of these industries,” he said.
Wilson said the trading room should be viewed as a laboratory for analyzing markets and financial instruments, no different than a laboratory for biology or chemistry. Students will have the ability to analyze portfolios, trading strategies and risks. “All of these are important in North Dakota and the region,” Wilson said. “Most competing business schools have financial and trading rooms. Developing a trading room in Barry Hall will provide similar training and research opportunities for NDSU students and faculty. For the agribusiness industry, NDSU will be the first school having such capabilities that focus on agriculture and the biofuels sector.”
The room is modeled after a similar project at Tulane University, New Orleans. Technically, it will have 32 work stations. Sixteen of the work stations will have access to live commodity and financial market information for agriculture, commodities and financials. The number of live stations will be expanded in the future.
The trading room will be used for teaching courses in agribusiness and the College of Business. Opportunities also will be explored through the Tri-College University system. There also are plans to develop numerous outreach programs for individual firms, commodity organizations, Northern Crops Institute, biofuels sector and fee-based advanced programs.
Funding for the commodity trading room has been provided by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, vice president for academic affairs and NDSU Technology Fee Advisory Committee. The funds are seed money for computers and other hardware.
Wilson said the project has been encouraged by major agribusiness firms that have provided varying forms of financial support, including ADM, CHS, Gavilon, The Rice Trader and George M. Schuler III of Minn-Kota Ag Products Inc. A number of state commodity organizations also have provided funding, including the North Dakota Corn Council, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Wheat Commission and Northern Crops Institute. He said other agribusiness firms and entities have expressed interest in a sponsorship.
The NDSU Development Foundation is working toward establishing an endowment for the permanent support of the commodity trading room.