April/May 2011

April/May 2011

What's on the Horizon? Predictions for the Future of Agriculture


April/May 2011 Articles

Affordable Options

April 01, 2011 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

“Options cost too much!” What elevator manager hasn’t heard this from a farmer about minimum price contracts? Premium cost may be the most commonly cited reason for not buying put or call options as a form of price ‘insurance’ in volatile markets. The irony is that options, with their inherent flexibility and limited risk for buyers, should give managers the confidence to buy puts or calls to set price floors or ceilings, especially in volatile markets.

The CME/CBOT tackled this dilemma...

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Novus International Wins IT Award

April 01, 2011 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

In early 2011 the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) launched its first-ever Information Technology Innovation Award to recognize the AFIA members creating technologies meant to tackle the issues impacting feed, pet food or ingredient manufacturers.

Novus International was awarded the honor for its submission of AIMS®, a vendor-managed, remote inventory monitoring system for feed ingredient bulk liquids. The system provides daily inventory management of Novus’s ALIMET feed...

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Working with the Facebook Generation

April 01, 2011 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Facebook, cell phones, smart phones, YouTube, Twitter — aren’t we already way too connected? Old timers might say, “Yes, this is all too much!” Younger producers may say, “I pick and choose how I connect and communicate and the more options the better.” The reality probably falls somewhere in-between. However, there are multitudes of ways to communicate with your feed and grain customers in today’s world — and some of these mediums and techniques can and should be looked at — and used!...

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The Floods of 2011

April 01, 2011 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

This season the Northern Plains faced major flooding of the Red River, disrupting grain flows and delaying planting. Then the rains hit the mid-South and the Eastern Corn Belt, swelling rivers and streams that soon pushed the Mississippi to levels not seen since the infamous flood of 1927. Numerous barge stations became forlorn, sandbagged islands as millions of cubic feet of water rushed past every second on the Lower Mississippi.

The 2011 floods will hit agriculture in several ways:

(1)...

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Tips for Approaching a New Lender

April 01, 2011 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

Despite the difficulty experienced in financial markets in the last few years, agriculture has served as an economic bright spot. Not to say serious volatility hasn’t posed challenges, but the sector overall remains an attractive prospect for banks.

“It’s an interesting time for agriculture with lots of opportunities out there andthe financial resources have to be managed relatively well,” says David Oppedahl, economic researcher with Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, noting that repayment...

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Micro-quality: Making Every Kernel Count

April 01, 2011 | Special Report |

Technology drives innovation. In the grain industry, this adage can be applied to everything from automation to invoicing. Notably, post-harvest grain quality measurement technology has proven to be a critical, ever-evolving tool for the industry. Quick and accurate mycotoxin testing has improved feed safety and blending techniques, however, they are limited in their ability to provide a snapshot of quality attributes at an individual-kernel level.

Analyzing singular kernels could be the...

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Industry Pushes for Science-Based Salmonella Regulations

April 01, 2011 | Feature |

In August 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a long-awaited Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) on Salmonella in feed. CPGs provide to FDA’s field staff interpretations of laws and regulations and represent current thinking on enforcement and compliance. For the first time since 1975, the agency completely overhauled its stance and agreed to separate human food from animal feed with respect to enforcement of Salmonella regulations.

This conclusion is consistent with...

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Stormy Harvest Ahead?

April 01, 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Tornado outbreaks and epic flooding, the spring of 2011 will be remember as one of the most destructive and deadly in recent history. Add less-than-ideal temperatures, and agriculture is sent reeling, trying to navigate the unpredictable and attempting to catch-up with delayed planting. The Northeast and central United States have endured their wettest late winter and early spring on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. As of mid-May, 63% of the nation's corn was...

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Food Safety Regulations Impact Feed and Grain Industry

April 01, 2011 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

From the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to the Reportable Food Registry to calls for increased penalties for some food safety violators, food safety is clearly on the national radar. What many are unaware of is the extent to which these new food safety regulations impact the feed and grain industries.

FDA regulates animal and pet food products and ingredients under the same authority and regulations as it does human food products — the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act. The...

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