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K-State Research and Extension

Commodity-futures conference attracts overflow crowd

What we are doing:
Ag Futures ConferenceThe Center for Risk Management Education and Research, based at Kansas State University and led by agricultural economics professor Ted Schroeder, worked with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to host a first-of-its-kind conference on futures markets. The conference in Overland Park, Kansas, brought together agricultural producers, federal regulators, brokerage firms, commodity merchants, elected officials, CFTC regulators, market institutions and economists.

Our impact:

  • The conference, designed to bring together anyone involved in or affected by commodity futures trading, drew 370 attendees, with more on a waiting list.
  • Participants discussed challenges that have occurred since high-frequency, electronic futures trading replaced in-person open outcry and engaged in dialogue about what's working and what isn't for those who use futures to manage risk.
  • The conference sparked dialogue and laid the groundwork for potential changes including in CME Group futures themselves, oversight by the CFTC and how those who use futures contracts manage their positions.
  • Guest speakers included:
    • Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
    • Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
    • USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey
    • K-State Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of K-State Research and Extension John Floros
    • CFTC Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo
  • CFTC officials said they want to conduct such a conference again next year and Kansas State University "needs to be our partner."

"Without question the best academic/industry conference on ag markets I have been to in my career."
- Scott Irwin, Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing, University of Illinois

"It was a good forum for many people to voice an opinion on the current status of the industry. They (customers) all use the futures market for price discovery and to hedge off risk associated with buying and selling grain,"
- Michael O'Dea, INTL FCStone LLC

"Maybe the most encouraging of all was that the CFTC chairman pledged to reconvene the conference in a year to allow the hedgers to comment on the progress that was made."
- Ed Prosser, former chief trade officer for Gavilon and K-State's Center for Risk Management Education and Research advisory council chairman.

To learn more, listen to an Agriculture Today interview about the conference, starting at the 12:50 mark in this episode: