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New Commodity Challenge game ready for action

ST. PAUL -- Commodity Challenge, an online grain trading game, has been redesigned and relaunched by a University of Minnesota Extension economist at the University's Center for Farm Financial Management.

The Commodity Challenge game ( features real-time cash, futures and options quotes for corn, soybeans and wheat. It offers a one-of-a-kind approach to learning about commodity markets and price risk management. It is used in high school and college classrooms, and by farmers to learn about marketing strategies. Players will find it to be intuitive and easy to navigate. Commodity Challenge was used last year by more than 1,500 people in 12 states.

For newcomers to the world of grain marketing, Commodity Challenge offers a hands-on opportunity to learn about futures and options terms and pricing tools. Commodity Challenge also introduces players to the basics of trading grain: placing orders, unwinding positions, and accounting for gains and losses.

"Commodity Challenge asks players to put themselves in the shoes of a grain producer, allowing players to experience the pain and glory of trading decisions in a risk-free environment," said Edward Usset, Extension economist and grain marketing specialist with the Center for Farm Financial Management.

Usset said it's different from other online trading games. "Other games concentrate on a speculative approach to trading -- a 'buy low, sell high' approach. This game focuses on the use of futures and options contracts to manage price risk."

Some decisions players face include: How will you manage price risks associated with producing grain? Will you sell grain today, or store grain to sell later? Will you establish a price using futures contracts, or buy put options to set a minimum price? Commodity Challenge offers a way to explore pricing tools and marketing strategies.

The redesigned website improves upon a successful learning experience, featuring a great new look with links to social media and a game dashboard. Game leaders will be able to monitor player decisions and progress.

The new version also features a broad selection of local cash markets. Commodity Challenge games can be customized to display nearby prices and quotes on forward contracts.

The best way to experience Commodity Challenge is to register and join an open game (a game without password protection). Players can place orders, check account actions and develop a feel for how the game works. Creating a Commodity Challenge game for groups is easy. Email Usset at and specify the group's location, a start date, end date and grains to trade (corn, soybeans, HRW wheat, SRW wheat, HRS wheat). If you have specific questions or inquiries about Commodity Challenge, contact Usset.

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