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February/March 2013

February/March 2013

Joint Venture Excedes Expectations

Cover photo by: Jackie Roembke

Digital Magazine


February/March 2013 Articles

Preparation 101: The Pillars of Safety

February 01, 2013 | Feature | Elise Schafer

It's often said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Perhaps in the grain industry a better analogy is a kernel of prevention is worth a bushel of cure, but however you look at it, safety experts and emergency responders close to the grain industry couldn't agree more.

Preparing for natural disasters, explosions and other emergencies should rank among facility managers' highest priorities  — right up there with boosting efficiency, meeting regulatory compliance and increasing...

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10 Sweep Auger Safety Principles

February 01, 2013 | Online Exclusive | Jackie Roembke

Attorneys with the law firm Epstein Becker Green's OSHA practice office in Washington, D.C. recently resolved a citation delivered by OSHA to an IL grain company due to an sweep auger violation. The citation was withdrawn and the agency agreed to allow employees to work in grain bins with energized sweep augers in the future assuming they comply with the agreed upon terms of the 10 Sweep Auger Safety Principles outlined in its settlement agreement. 

Below is the list of Sweep Auger...

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Food Fight

February 01, 2013 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

The 117th edition of the National Grain and Feed Association’s (NGFA) Annual Convention, held in San Francisco in mid-March, drove this sentiment home in its general sessions: While agriculture is one of the greatest growth industries, the coming years will be filled with the unique challenge of restoring the public’s trust in the food system. For those working and living agriculture, it should come as no surprise that much of the content presented by the event’s diverse set of speakers...

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Warning: Grain Tsunami Incoming

February 01, 2013 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Grain merchandising is a never-ending series of challenges, and 2012 crop has been that in spades. Drought-decimated corn and soybean crops left elevators with less grain to handle and less revenue. Buyers and sellers alike have had to adapt to record high basis levels on corn and soybeans, tight holding by farmers, and volatile futures spreads. At least wheat offered some reasonable revenue opportunities!

Even bigger challenges lie ahead. September 1 combined stocks of corn, soybeans, and...

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Getting the Measure of Mycotoxins

February 01, 2013 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

Getting the measure of mycotoxins is no easy task especially in the wide range of cereal crop commodities providing feed grain and the main ingredients of finished feed. Many field fungal pathogens and storage molds synthesize mycotoxins. Each group of fungi, including the aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus molds or the large number of Fusarium fungal pathogens delivering a broadside of Deoxynivalenol (DON), Zearalenone (ZEA), T-2 and HT-2 mycotoxins, has its own environmental requirements.

... [Read More]

Egg Ranch Cracks into Feed Production

February 01, 2013 | Special Report | Jackie Roembke

From its humble beginning in Guy and Nell Hickman’s backyard in 1944, Hickman’s Family Farms has grown to become the largest egg producer in the southwest. The family owns and operates three Arizona locations: one in Maricopa and two in Arlington. In total, it houses 5.4 million layer hens — and an additional 1.3 million replacement pullets — and produces 2.3 million dozen eggs a week with distribution spanning six states, including Hawaii.

The success of Hickman’s egg and egg product...

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Loads of Benefits Delivered by a Transportation Subsidiary

February 01, 2013 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Whether your business is in the production of feed, the manufacture of pet foods, milling operations — or any other manner of production or processing — you must be able deliver your product to the customer. If a producer does not engage an outside carrier to haul its product, then chances are that one of the most material and burdensome parts of its operation occurs in the maintenance and operation of its transportation fleet.

Improved safety, compliance and tax savings

Running a...

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To the Rescue: How Salvage Operations can Minimize Commodity Losses

February 01, 2013 | Feature | Elise Schafer

Preparation 101: the Pillars of Safety, part I of this two-part series, focused on how grain and feed facility managers can prevent emergencies by preparing their staffs for a variety of disasters and following three fundamental safety rules: keep written safety policies, conduct frequent training and drills, and maintain a good relationship with first responders.

Part II takes into consideration that some catastrophic events, whether “acts of God (usually weather related)” or pure...

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Beyond the Scale

February 01, 2013 | Departments | Elise Schafer

Operations management software can deliver benefits that go far beyond the scale to not only improve the grain handling operations themselves but also streamline back-office functions and improve customer service – from faster weighing processes and traffic flow to speeding up invoicing to improving accuracy and communications.

At a grain handling facility, generating a scale ticket is the first step in managing the operations for inbound and outbound shipments. Operations management...

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GEAPS Exchange Education Sessions

February 01, 2013 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

In late February, grain elevator operators descended upon the land of bourbon and thoroughbreds for the 2013 edition of the GEAPS Exchange. The event, held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in the heart of Louisville, featured a diverse line-up of educational sessions, which tackled many of the industry’s critical issues, and a trade show with more than 300 exhibitors eager to showcase their latest equipment.

GEAPS Exchanges focus on education and information that provide...

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Motivating Employees: Carrots Beyond Salary and Benefits

February 01, 2013 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Almost all managers have heard (and likely used) of both carrots (rewards and recognition) and sticks (punishments or censures) as methods to work with your employees.  In this column we draw on a recent book entitled, The Carrot Principle, by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton who base their recommendations on a 10 year study of 200,000 managers and employees — where they state that top managers (as measured by performance of their firms on Return on Equity, Return on Assets and Operating...

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Are Computers Needed in Agriculture?

February 01, 2013 | Departments | Elise Schafer

The world is changing rapidly. When I first took over my mom and dad’s agriculture computer systems business 20 years ago, it was a challenge to get cooperatives and other ag-related businesses to see the advantage of automating their accounting, managing the company’s books with computerized management software.

The systems were shockingly expensive and needed staff to run them. Moving into the late 90s, the challenge was the impression that computer systems only cost money and didn’t...

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Sweeping Change Ahead?

February 01, 2013 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Since I began my tenure as Feed & Grain’s editor, OSHA’s 2009 Letter of Interpretation regarding bin entry and sweep auger operation has remained a point of strife and confusion among our readers.

In the letter, a response to an insurance agent’s inquiry about the restrictions involved with employees working in a grain bin with an energized sweep auger, OSHA stated that it is in violation of the Grain Handling Standard (1910.272 (g) (1) (ii) to do so unless the employer eliminates all...

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Compliance and Sustainability Dominate IPPE Agenda

February 01, 2013 | Feature | Elise Schafer

The 2013 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) once again gave feed industry professionals a bird's eye view of today's most pressing issues, opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Providing that information was the American Feed Industry Association, the sponsor of the International Feed Expo, one of the three shows co-located at IPPE 2013.

AFIA presented educational programs including the International Feed Industry Institute and the annual Pet Food Conference as...

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Global Feed Industry Collaborates to Benchmark Livestock Sustainability

February 01, 2013 | Feature | Elise Schafer

As members of the feed and agriculture industry, we slightly cringe when restaurant servers describe their grass-fed, locally sourced beef as though the alternative should be avoided; we shudder when television cooking show hosts refer to “meatless Monday” as having an overwhelming impact on the environment; and we shake our heads in dismay when animal rights activists claim it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat.  

It’s not that we don’t support small farms...

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