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January 04, 2018 | Views on the News | Steven Kilger

Looking Forward and Looking Back

Views on the News returns with a look at industry trends in December 2017

Happy New Year!


2018 is upon us and Feed & Grain has a lot planned for the coming year to expand and strengthen the feed manufacturing and grain handling community. We’re starting with the relaunch of Views on the News as a monthly blog. Longtime readers may remember Views on the News in its former rendition, a weekly blog going over the top news stories of the past week. This new iteration will go over the news from the previous month, tying the biggest stories together to form an image of what’s happening in the industry.


The news of December 2017 carried some common themes that are indicative of the current business climate:

  1. CHS Closes Three Plants
  2. OSHA and Bartlett Grain Reach Settlement Agreement

  3. CHS Closes South Sioux City, IA, Plant

  4. Explosion at Argentine Grain Port

  5. CHS Elects Directors; 2017 Officer Slate Elected

  6. Alltech Sees High Mycotoxin Levels in 2017 Analysis

  7. NCGA Announces 2017 Yield Contest Winners

  8. ADM Launches New Specialty Feed Additive

  9. Dakotaland Feeds Purchases Diamond W Feeds

  10. Didion Milling, Cambria, WI, Appealing OSHA Fines

Consolidation and streamlining


It is no secret that the agriculture neighborhood is shrinking — if not in size then in population. Mega-mergers like Dow-DuPont or the proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger are the most obvious sign of this, but barely a week goes by without a company acquiring, merging or consolidating with another. In December of 2017,  Dakotaland purchased Diamond W Feeds, Nutriad bought out its buyers’ shares in China JV, Cooke Inc. acquired Omega Protein Corporation and ADM sold its Bolivian oilseeds operations.


There wasn’t any big news about co-op mergers, a trend that didn’t slow down in 2017, and no real headway made in the Bayer-Monsanto merger. Dow Chemical Company’s sale of a portion of its corn hybrid seed business was part of a deal it struck with regulatory agencies last year in order for the DowDuPont merger to take place.The fallout from that changing landscape deal is still unfolding.


Companies both large and small are trying to figure out just how to survive tough economic times in agriculture. CHS Inc.made news by suddenly shutting down three processing plants as it moves out of the soybean protein processing business in an effort to streamline operations. The company hopes to sell the facilities as early as January 2018, but in the meantime, it let go the employees of those facilities.


Slowing down for winter


With harvest in the rearview mirror and a frigid cold settling in across the Bread Basket, December is a time to reflect on the past year. Year end reports on the highest yields, mycotoxins levels found during the growing season and the 2017/2018 Corn Harvest Quality Reports were all released. Growmark also released its year-end results, with several more expected out in January.  


Winter weather has shut down the upper Mississippi River until March 6, and it may cause navigation issues further down as the ice formations narrow usable lanes and drop the water level throughout the river system. But the low river levels also gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is an opportunity to remove some of the more dangerous rocks in the Mississippi River that threaten barges when water levels are low.


I hope you enjoy the new and improved Views on the News! We’ll be testing and tweaking it over the next few months so Email me anytime, I would love to hear your suggestions, comments and concerns, or let me know you’re seeing other trends in the industry you want to see covered.  Don’t forget to subscribe to Industry Watch, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for all the latest news in the industry.

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