April/May 2012 Articles

Kerr Feed and Grain Embraces Innovation

April 11, 2012 | Online Exclusive | Jackie Roembke

Wade Bryant, general manager at Kerr Feed & Grain, represents the fourth generation of the Kerr family to provide feed and nutrition products to producers surrounding Henrietta, TX. In 1930, the company started to plant its roots with small retail location where Bryant's great grandpa started selling feed and other farm supplies. By 1948, Kerr Feed & Grain was born and had established itself as a retailer for other lines of feed; by the mid-50s, it had established the mill and began...

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If Selling Is In Your Future Move Quickly

April 11, 2012 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

There are many reasons why middle market owners wanting to sell their companies during the next ten years should consummate a sale no later than 2014, preferably sooner. Although most points discussed in this article pertain with equal relevance to all companies regardless of size, the article is primarily directed at middle market companies, which are firms with transaction values between $5 and $250 million.

I am more optimistic about the prospects for the short and intermediate-term...

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How to Get Involved With Social Media

April 11, 2012 | Online Exclusive |

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Public sentiment is everything.  With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

I have spent three decades of my life communicating for farmers and the agricultural industry.  Never has the need to tell agriculture’s story been so great. But with less than 2% of the nation involved in production agriculture, reaching the other 98% seems like a daunting task. Until now …

We have a powerful tool. It’s called social media!

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NGFA’s 116th Annual Convention

April 11, 2012 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

The National Grain & Feed Association held the 116th edition of its Annual Convention in Charleston, SC , March 18-20. The historic downtown Charleston Place Hotel proven a formidable backdrop for the three-day event packed with the perfect balance of business, networking opportunities and leisure.

After the open-to-all-attendees committee meetings adjourned on the first day of the convention, attendees made their way through the exhibitors of the Ag Village and into one of two ballrooms...

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Risk Management Goes to Grad School

April 11, 2012 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Before 1848 farmers brought wagons of grain to Chicago and took the price a buyer offered or returned home. Some opted to dump their grain in the Lake when prices got too cheap. The system was easy, but not very useful. The 1848 launch of the CBOT introduced forward cash prices, which evolved over the years into standardized ag futures contracts at Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis. Managing risk became more complex but the results were worth the effort for farmers, as well as for...

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How to Improve Grain Quality Through Hazard Prevention

April 11, 2012 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

Depending on the context of the discussion, "grain quality" has many connotations. From moisture content to density, the variables dictating the perception of grain quality hinges on measurements the specifications outlined in a customer contract and, ultimately how the commodity will be consumed. Aside from the physical and intrinsic characteristics of the lot, the management of grain sanitation yields its own set of allowances and penalties in today's regulatory environment -...

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Management Implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act

April 11, 2012 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law a little over a year ago — on January 4, 2011. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is the “most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.” Registration under this new law is not only required of manufacturers of human food products — but also pet food and animal feed...

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Tips for Purchasing Automated Palletizing Systems

April 11, 2012 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

Feed mills of all sizes have long benefitted from the efficiencies offered by automated palletizing systems, yet many whom have not adopted the technology may be unaware of how far robotic systems have evolved in the last decade.

“I think some consumers still have the mindset that robots are too complex, but now 99% of the time any issues can be resolved with a phone call,” says Phil Wright of Icon Robotics, an integrator and manufacturer of palletizing and packaging systems, a division of...

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Nonconformity With Delivery Obligations Under NGFA Trade Rules

April 11, 2012 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

As anyone involved in the grain or feed ingredient business knows, managing the flow of commodities between producers, handlers and end users requires constant attention to ensure that the timing and quality of commodity deliveries meets customer expectations. Market volatility, thin margins, high working capital requirements, and constant efforts to reduce transaction costs translate into a system in which a single failed delivery can have devastating impacts on overall profitability....

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Mobile Mania: New Use for Hand-held Technology

April 11, 2012 | Special Report |

Start with a decades-long adoption of operations automation, add unmatched dedication to quality control and sprinkle generously with state-of-the-art mobile devices for maintenance tracking. This yields one award-winning feed division, belonging to one of the nation's largest farmer-owned co-ops: Richmond, VA-based Southern States Cooperative.

Southern States Cooperative’s Park City, KY, feed mill was built in 1977 with cutting edge (for the time) automation technology in its receiving,...

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Technology Takeover

April 11, 2012 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

I recently attended my daughter’s FFA awards banquet at a local high school where she teaches agriculture. Like most kids, everyone of the students had their cell phones in their hands, typing away. After a failed attempt to get the kids to practice one more time before the event started, the teachers confiscated all of the phones from the kids on stage — and it was like taking one of their arms away to give them up. The awards ceremony went off without any interruptions, at least no one...

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Feed Industry Investigates Future Challenges

April 11, 2012 | Feature |

By the year 2050, the United Nations projects the world's population will swell to 9 billion. That's 2 billion more people's mouths to feed than there are today. Sustaining the population at that level will put more strain on agriculture than ever before, but it's a challenge that today's feed industry is already preparing to address.

With up to a $50,000 grant from the Institute for Feed Education & Research (IFEEDER), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has commissioned a study...

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