January 2010

January 2010

A Personal Test of Mettle and Concrete


January 2010 Articles

Infrastructure’s impact on grain flow

January 01, 2010 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

Grain transportation involves much more than moving commodities from Point A to Point B. To make efficient transportation happen, many logistical intricacies must synchronize; however, it’s no secret that the foundation of our nation’s transportation delivery system — our infrastructure — is in need of special attention. As international markets catch up with our ability to handle and export grain, capital investments need to be made to keep the United States competitive in the global...

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Thank you and goodbye

January 01, 2010 | Departments |

This is my last column as editor of FEED & GRAIN magazine. There, I said it and wrote it down on paper, so it must be real.

Now, faced with the unenviable task of saying goodbye to a job that I have truly loved, I find myself at a loss for words (for those who know me, you know how hard a feat that must be). But after looking at all I’ve experienced in the past three and a half years, I think the better path to “goodbye” is found by saying, “thank you.”

First, I’d like to thank those staff...

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Ag Retails First Contract Confirmation Model

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

The grain industry is no stranger to price volatility, as a result the grain industry has a well-developed set of trade rules and arbitration through the National Grain & Feed Association; meanwhile, on ag retail side, such matters have been handled differently.

While many grain co-ops and country elevators sell ag inputs — feed, chemicals and fertilizer, they tend to look at their retail clients as a customers and not as a risk-baring counterparties.

The reality of word-of-mouth contracts...

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Siting a new facility

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Expansion or relocation of one’s business, whether the change involves a small distribution site, a large manufacturing facility — or anything in between — is always an exciting and challenging process. Before you get to the point of determining how you’ll furnish, staff and stock your new facility, it’s important to take time to consider how you’ll use your new location, what restrictions will govern its use, and how you can fit the pieces together to ensure that your new location is one...

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AFIA leaders reflect on the state of feed industry

January 01, 2010 | Feature |

Feed industry prepares for better conditions in 2010

By Joel G. Newman

We all know the economy in the United States and around the world was affected profoundly by the economic turmoil of the last one to two years. We likely know family members, friends or others in our communities who have struggled mightily in these times.

The feed industry has not been immune to the difficult conditions. The dramatic escalation of corn prices and other commodity prices in the first half of 2008, combined...

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Feed & Grain’s special report from the IPE/IFE

January 01, 2010 | Special Report | Jackie Roembke

The 2010 International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo, held January 25 – 29 in Atlanta, covered an array of today’s most relevant topics during its five day educational program lineup. The American Feed Industry Association and the Poultry and Egg Institute summoned a host of the most progressive thinking minds in the poultry industry to speak at this year’s programs.

With presentation topics ranging from sustainability, animal welfare, new regulations and production...

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About Face?

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Must all good things come to an end? Corn futures moved above $3 in the fall of 2006 and have held there. Soybeans moved above $7 in early 2007 and have only rarely traded below $8 since then on front-month futures. Even CBT wheat has remained above $4.25 since 2006. This three-year run has turned into a mind-set about value that may cause buyers and sellers to be complacent, even when conditions change.

This commodities roller coaster ride since 2006 was powered by various factors.
• The...

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Benchmarking: Comparing performance over time and against industry norms

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Many of us have a bit of a competitive streak in us — whether it is pitting ourselves against some friends in a friendly game of cards, hitting the links on the local golf course with some acquaintances, bowling at the alley on league night or cheering for our favorite NFL team in the playoffs. We like to compare and compete against others — in fact, this is the psychological basis of the free-market system: Competition will best serve the needs of society.

A useful and productive method...

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An Editor’s Dilemma

January 01, 2010 | Editors Note |

Prior to becoming the editor of FEED & GRAIN, admittedly, my exposure to agriculture was limited; however, for what I lack in experience, I can offer something equally as valuable: an outsider’s objectivity.

In September, Michael Pollan, the controversial — and highly visible — author of books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and, most recently, Food Rules, spoke to a crowd of roughly 7,000 at the University of Wisconsin. Those in attendance ranged from students to farmers to curious...

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A personal test of mettle . . . and concrete

January 01, 2010 | Feature |

Every day we juggle career obligations, family schedules and other responsibilities in an effort to keep our professional and personal lives humming along at peak efficiency. Juggling schedules is a concept Chad Allen, manager of the Milling and Grain Division for Allen’s Hatchery Inc., and Allen Family Foods, Seaford, DE, understands in spades.

“We had quite a lot to accomplish in a short period of time,” says Allen. “In order to take advantage of certain marketing opportunities, we had...

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Focus on Research: Multistate research project impacts global agriculture

January 01, 2010 | Departments |

Marketing and Delivery of Quality Grains and BioProcess Coproducts,” dubbed NC-213, is a multistate research project composed of a team of scientists, engineers and economists from leading United States land grant universities, USDA, USDA-ARS research centers and representatives from private industry. This informal research association dates back to the first organizational meeting, held in January 1978 in St. Louis.

NC-213 objectives

NC-213 goals are to characterize quality attributes and...

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CO2 Monitoring: a New Grain Management Tool

January 01, 2010 | Feature |

The 2009 harvest, characterized as unusually late, wet and followed by a warmer-than-average winter, has raised grain quality concerns among grain handlers, processors and users across the country. Over the past decade, grain quality has been generally good and taken for granted, but faced with today’s grain condition challenges, grain elevator operations managers are looking for better ways to monitor their stored grain.

A joint research effort by Kansas State University and Purdue...

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Using the 5S Approach

January 01, 2010 | Departments |

Many people are familiar with the production management techniques of W. Edwards Deming who taught the Japanese a principle of management which increased the quality and reduced costs in the car manufacturing industry in the 1950’s. Deming divided the goal of achieving business effectiveness into 14 key principles which were published in his book Out of the Crisis.

He believed that the key to improved quality and lower costs was practicing continual improvement and thinking of...

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Grain Stocks Report

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

According to report published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture corn, soybean and all wheat stocks are up from Decemeber 2008.

Corn stored in all positions on December 1, 2009 totaled 10.9 billion bushels, up 9 percent from December 1, 2008. Of the total stocks, 7.45 billion bushels are stored on farms, up 15 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.49 billion bushels, are down 3 percent from a...

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A harvest for history

January 01, 2010 | Departments |

“And to think just four months ago I was worried whether I should raise my bids to avoid losing volume. Of all the things I didn’t need to worry about, that should have been No. 1 on my list. Oh well — there wasn’t any way to know Harvest 2009 would be one for the history books.”

Dave lays his glasses on his desk and closes his eyes briefly — it’s been another 16-hour day and he feels every one of his 60 years. He has a small but good staff and they’re as exhausted as he is. The guys...

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IAOM Annual Conference held in Vegas

January 01, 2010 | Special Report | Jackie Roembke

The International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) will hold its annual conference and expo in Las Vegas for the first time in the organization’s history. The association’s 114th annual conference and expo will take place April 19-23 at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and Las Vegas Convention Center.

“We expect around 900 grain milling professionals and allied trade representatives from across North America and around the world,” stated Melinda Farris, IAOM executive vice president. ...

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2009 Crop: Record Yield, Record Problems?

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Merchandising is more than buying and selling grain; it’s about using your working capital and other assets to maximize returns for your business. Evaluate many components, including:

  • Current and forward basis values on the commodities you handle
  • Potential basis changes on those commodities
  • Futures spreads
  • Logistics, freight availability, and cost
  • Alternative uses of space and money
  • Quality and discounts.

Some years, futures spreads are your big risk factor; other years it...

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Multistate research project impacts global agriculture

January 01, 2010 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Marketing and Delivery of Quality Grains and BioProcess Coproducts,” dubbed NC-213, is a multistate research project composed of a team of scientists, engineers and economists from leading United States land grant universities, USDA, USDA-ARS research centers and representatives from private industry. This informal research association dates back to the first organizational meeting, held in January 1978 in St. Louis.

NC-213 objectives

NC-213 goals are to characterize quality attributes and...

[Read More]

Looking to the future: Observations from the millwright’s vantage point

January 01, 2010 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

It’s the beginning of a new decade, and everyone — in every industry — is wondering what lies ahead. After facing the unique challenges posed by 2009’s  later-than-usual, wetter-than-average — and overall  record — harvest, elevator operators and feed manufacturers have been forced to take a critical look at their operations.

Given their insider perspective on the needs of the industry, FEED & GRAIN spoke with leaders in the millwright community to gain insight into the issues critical to...

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NGFA Annual Convention Preview

January 01, 2010 | Special Report | Jackie Roembke

Members will descend upon Maui, Hawaii, for the NGFA’s 114th Annual Convention, held March 3-5, 2010 at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. The NGFA convention again will feature a high-level, business-focused program featuring top policymakers, substantive open forums and outstanding general sessions exploring the most important issues facing the industry in the year ahead. These convention sessions will provide information you need to strategically position your business for success.

“The NGFA...

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Exploring the needs and desires of your customers

January 01, 2010 | Departments |

There is no doubt that the past year has been one of challenging times for all businesses and your feed and grain business is no exception. You may be tempted to move into “survival mode” in times like this, but now is the very time to be proactive, adapt your business to the needs of your customers before your competitors do, and ultimately you will be more profitable. Your customers’ needs and desires are changing and an excellent strategy is to actively explore these. In this column,...

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Legal Q&A: Get on top of new tax tools for 2010

January 01, 2010 | Departments |

Many of the tax tools grain and feed facilities have employed over the past few years expire in 2010, which could lead to challenging times ahead for facility managers and their accounting and legal teams. In this issue, FEED & GRAIN visits with Adam Thimmesch of Faegre & Benson LLP to help us bid adieu to the old rules and say hello to new opportunities for those seeking tax relief in 2010 and beyond.

Feed & Grain: With the uneven economy of the last few years, certain programs were...

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