By Olabisi Ekong, MS Agricultural Economics
The Center for Risk Management Education and Research (CRMER) Student Fellows visited Gavilon Headquarters’ situated in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, August 29, 2016. Gavilon is a leading commodity management firm connecting producers and consumers of feed, food, fertilizer and fuel all over the world. They have presence in Asia, South America, Europe, North America and Africa. We were welcomed to the company by Patrick Burke, Marketing & Communications Supervisor, who led us on a tour of their trading floor where price discovery and risk management strategies were implemented.
Ed Prosser started the presentation with a brief description of his background and experience. He grew up on a farm in Dodge City and graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1985 (GO WILDCATS). He is presently the Chief Trade & Risk Officer in Gavilon and has over 30 years’ experience in risk management. He is also a member of the Commodity Markets Council board of directors, Chicago Board of Trade and Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Furthermore, Ed gave us a brief history of Gavilon, the commodities they manage (grains, fertilizer, food and feed ingredients) and their locations.
Ankush Bhandari, Vice President of Economic Research spoke to us about ‘Emerging trends in agriculture and energy’. He enumerated various factors affecting supply and demand leading to the volatility in food prices. These factors include increase in global population, government policies, GDP rates and acreage and yield in agricultural production. He explained using various examples to highlight the fact that every activity in the world is intertwined and has a way of affecting the price of agricultural produce whether in a positive or negative manner. He ended with a quote from David Ricardo – ‘The world will always raise the most food in the most economically way if the farmer grows the best crop in its soil and climate and trade with others’
Finally, Human Resources discussed with us on the various career opportunities (full time positions and internships) available at the company explaining employee benefits and paths to a successful career.
At the end of the presentations there was an interactive session where Ed answered questions, gave us insights about his experience in the risk industry over the years. CRMER Fellows appreciated Ed’s insights: use skills acquired as fellows for securing jobs and for decisions making whether in a managerial position or as entrepreneurs, be flexible in job locations now when young as our focus will differ once we start having families.
The Fellows at the Center for Risk Management Education and Research greatly enjoyed the presentations and insights shared by the speakers. We very much appreciate Gavilon’s hospitality and commitment to education through their support as founding partner of CRMER.