Introduction to Grain Operations

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning! GEAPS Introduction to Grain Operations is a new and interactive course.

Limited Time Offer!

$195 for members
$295 for non-members

The regular price for this course will be $250 for members and $525 for non-members. 

Course Description

This revamped, interactive course provides basic, yet comprehensive, information about operations and handling procedures at grain facilities. It serves as an introduction to new hires, students and others needing beginner-level training. Stressing safety, the course focuses on how grain moves through a facility. It covers main elevator types; components and equipment; grain receiving procedures; sampling, testing, and grading; binning; housekeeping and maintenance; fumigation; outbound procedures; and other fundamental grain facility functions. 

Course Goals

Introduction to Grain Operations is intended to introduce the key purposes, equipment and processes of grain handling facilities. The course aims to provide basic and practical information about the most common grain facility operations, serving as a primer for those who could benefit from an introductory look at the grain handling and operations profession. The course also is intended to cover the most common hazards at grain facilities and to emphasize safety at all facility levels and operations. 

Target Audience

This course is for new hires or recently employed operations staff, non-operations staffers who need to learn more about storage and handling procedures, frontline supervisors with responsibilities for training, students, interns and other people considering jobs or careers in grain operations. 


GEAPS extends a special thanks to grain industry professionals who contributed their time and expertise to make this course valuable for learners.

Mark Fowler  Farmer Direct FoodsSee Bio

Mark Fowler is the Associate Director of the IGP Institute as well as the Flour Milling and Grain Processing Curriculum Manager. Mark’s expertise include technical flour milling, plant operations management and food and employee safety program development. Mark received both his B.S. in Milling Science and Management and his M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University. Prior to joining the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University, Mark developed an interest in the international milling business working for Seaboard Corporation as the Overseas Milling Technologist. He worked on projects in several developing countries including Ecuador, Guyana and Haiti. Mark also served as the Technical Director of the Africa Division within Seaboard’s Overseas Group in Durban, South Africa. His work in Africa extended from Angola, Nigeria, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zambia to the Congo. Before his employment at Seaboard, Mark gained extensive milling experience working for Cargill in both Los Angeles and Wichita, KS.

Rebecca Miller, PhD  Kansas State UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Rebecca Miller earned her BS in bakery science and MS and PhD degrees in grain science from Kansas State University. She is currently a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Grain Science at KSU and also serves as Director of the KSU Wheat Quality Lab. Prior to joining KSU, she was the Principle Research Scientist at Ru0026R Research Services, Inc. where she conducted contract research in the field of cereal chemistry. She has lectured in numerous short courses in the US and abroad for the American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI), American Institute of Baking (AIB) and various food companies. Dr. Rebecca Miller is an active member of AACCI, serving on the Book Committee, Edith A. Christensen Award Jury, Bread Baking Methods Technical Committee co-chair and three terms as a Cereal Chemistry associate editor. Rebecca’s research interests include understanding and improving the quality of wheat, flour and baked products and the development of testing methods to measure wheat and flour quality. She has published 26 scientific papers, 11 articles, co-authored one book chapter and holds two US patents.

Heather Cook  Kansas State UniversitySee Bio

Teaching Assistant

Chuck Kunisch  Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Inc.See Bio

Chuck Kunisch is corporate safety director and specialty soybean manager for Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Lansing, Michigan. A GEAPS member since 2002, he is president of GEAPS Board of Directors. For more than a decade, he has served as a member of GEAPS’ Exchange Educational Programming Committee. Chuck also serves on the MSO Chapter board, is a member NGFA’s SHEQ committee as well as the MABA safety committee and the SSGA competitive shipping action team.

Bob Braun  Douglas Products & PackagingSee Bio

Blake Buckner  Degesch America IncSee Bio

Blake Buckner is the Director of US Operations for Degesch America. Blake joined Degesch America, Inc. in 2002 as a project supervisor and his career with has taken him through many job growth opportunities as he built a career in the fumigation industry from the ground up. He is highly experienced in fumigation and protection of a multitude of commodities but possesses vast expertise in stored products and motor vessel fumigations. Blake directs the service operations across the United States but is also highly involved with developing internal and external training programs focused on fumigation safety, product stewardship and product development for Degesch America.

Matthew Schmitt, PE, SE, CGOM, CGPM, GHEM  VAA LLC See Bio

Matthew Schmitt is a Sr. Structural Engineer for VAA, LLC, Plymouth, Minnesota. A GEAPS member since 2014, he is a past president of the Greater Iowa Chapter and past chair of the Membership Committee. In addition to his volunteer leadership with GEAPS, he has served as a director on the Ankeny Economic Development Corporation board and is a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 5569. Matthew has worked in the grain, seed, and processing industry for more than 10 years. During that time, he has earned GEAPS Credentials in Grain Operations Management, Processing Management and a Specialist Credential in Grain Handling Equipment Management.

Bob Horvat  Cargill Inc.See Bio

Bob Horvat, PE is manufacturing tech lead for Cargill Inc, Wayzata, Minnesota. He has been a GEAPS member since 2010 and was elected in 2019 as a board director. In 2020, Bob was appointed treasurer and in that role he leads the board’s stewardship of GEAPS’ financial resources and oversight of funding strategies for member programs, services and general operations.

The Course of Study

Module 1: Introduction Details

Learners will examine each employee’s value to a grain industry facility during this introductory module. This will explain different types of grain facilities and users. Once the types of facilities have been discussed, the main components of the grain elevator and transportation methods and routes to move grain will be covered.

Module 2: Inbound Grain Receiving Details

This module shows learners how grain enters a facility and covers application and receiving layouts. Using a scale ticket as a point of reference, the participant will evaluate and simulate the activities of a scale house.

Module 3: Grain Testing, Sampling Operations and Procedures Details

Grain testing and its importance is the topic of this module. Learners will examine various types of equipment used for grain testing and will learn how to analyze grain tickets.

Module 4: Grain Handling Through a Facility Details

The learner will define and analyze the characteristics of bins, binning processes and planning for segregation of grains.

Module 5: Grain Storage and Drying Details

This module will show thee learner how to identify advantages and disadvantages of certain grain storage structures. Learners will also compare types of dryers and learn how they are used.

Module 6: FumigationDetails

This module provides an overview of fumigants—from applying fumigants to monitoring grains for pests and when it’s time to call in a professional.

Module 7: Grain ShippingDetails

Where will the grain go and how will it get there? This module helps the learner think about grain shipping, planning considerations such as costs, safety measures, sampling grain as it leaves the facility and loading commodities onto trucks, rail cars or barges.

Module 8: Grain Dust Explosion Prevention and Housekeeping Details

This key module educates learners on the dangers of grain dust explosions. From reviewing historical grain dust explosions to identifying and controlling the components of an explosion. Participants will learn about rules, regulations and compliance, as well as master sanitation schedule. Identifying grain dust explosion risks and the housekeeping that will prevent explosions is information employees need.

Module 9: Maintenance & Recordkeeping Programs Details

The learner will learn about preventive maintenance, recordkeeping programs and walk-through inspections.

Module 10: Facility Safety Details

This module covers key facility safety components. From grain movement concerns to emergency action plans to process management maintenance and housekeeping tools, this module is a great finishing touch on this great course for beginners.

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