Dr. Rami Reddy, professor of Agribusiness in the UW–Platteville School of Agriculture, recently received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to build a commodities trading laboratory for agribusiness students.
The $139,776 grant, “Developing Tomorrow’s Agribusiness Leaders Through the Creation of the Pioneer Undergraduate Research and Commodities Education Lab,” will allow students to pursue undergraduate research and gain hands-on experience.
The process for this grant began in 2014 with a grant-writing project through the provost’s office. The proposal was submitted earlier this year and was fully funded once approved. Reddy spent this summer setting up the resources to make sure that by fall the lab in Russell Hall will be ready a trial run. The lab should be running in full by spring.
“Land grant universities such as Texas A&M and University of Nebraska, are starting the business finance labs,” said Reddy. “We are one of the only non-land grant universities to have such a lab with help from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land Grant Colleges program.”
The purpose of this lab is to stimulate the undergraduate research in commodity trading concepts by providing hands-on experience for the students, as well as to pass the national certification exams which adds value to their portfolios while enabling them to create solutions for real-world situations especially in risk management.
“It will bring exposure and visibility to the agribusiness program here at UW–Platteville and will be used as a recruitment tool,” said Reddy.
Once started, there will be many possibilities for the program, such as creating a student club called the Commodity Trading Group, with the mission of competing in several investments and trading challenges across the nation.
“I am in touch with many companies within the industry, a lot of grain elevators and brokerage companies who are already hiring a lot of our graduates. And with a lab like this they have even more experience in the world of commodities trading,” said Reddy.
The PURCE lab will not only affect agribusiness students but also students in the agriculture department with other majors. Reddy would like to see a strong relationship with the School of Business, specifically the finance and accounting majors.
“I am very excited because this lab is a unique resource that will position our agribusiness program very well with the industry and meeting its needs,” said Reddy. “There is a strong demand for well trained graduates which we will supply to the industry.”