WILMINGTON — Wilmington College students regularly engage in hands-on learning experiences as far away Japan, Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati.
For Chad McKay’s commodity marketing class, a rich experience was available recently less than a quarter mile from campus at Buckley Bros. grain elevator.
McKay, assistant professor of agriculture, believes is it essential for students learning about grain merchandising to actually visit a grain elevator “and see what they do.”
Mark Buckley, president of Buckley Bros. Inc., led a comprehensive tour of the operation on Main St. starting with the office, where producers work with staff in coordinating delivery of the grain, its price, title transfer and the settlement.
Students viewed the truck scales and staff taking samples to determine grain weight, moisture, potential damage and amount of foreign materials.
“Students will actually do this exact exercise in class in a couple of weeks,” McKay said, “but I always feel it is important for them to see firsthand what I am talking about in class.”
While making their way through the elevator, the students witnessed a robotic feed bagger/stacker, which Buckley noted increases efficiency and decreases workers’ physical labor. In the drive-through retail part of the facility, students learned the community can purchase a variety of items ranging from seed to propane and dog tags. The tour concluded at the warehouse, where the business stores cat, horse and dog food, the retail sale of which is also part of the business.
“Mark says that diversification is key to maintaining a successful business,” McKay added.
McKay would no doubt agree that diversification of learning opportunities, with outside-the-classroom trips like this, is key to producing successful agriculture graduates with a working knowledge of commodities marketing and grain merchandising.