Magazine > June/July 2011
June/July 2011 Articles
Selling Your Company? How To Obtain a Premium Price
For one reason or another, companies of all sizes maybe looking to get out of the grain handling or feed manufacturing business. George Spilka, president of George Spilka and Associates, a national investment banking firm based in Pittsburgh specializing in middle market, closely-held corporations, offers Feed and Grain readers his advice for getting the right price for your business.
Current Deal Pricing
Deal pricing is making strides to return to normal levels and middle market deal...[Read More]
The Feat of Moving Wheat
Southwest of the Wichita Mountains, in the heart of cattle country and Tornado Alley, agribusiness firm Gavilon Grain LLC has staked its claim to export wheat market accessibility. The company, assembled from the acquisitions of ConAgra’s Peavey grain division and DeBruce Companies, holds claim to the No. 3 position for most grain storage in the United States. Just behind Cargill and ADM, Gavilon holds 300 million bushels of grain across 10 states and Mexico.
Now, building off this...[Read More]
Export Markets Offer a Silver Lining
Drought conditions in the Southwest rival the dust bowl of the 1930s. There is good news about the hard red winter wheat in these drought stricken regions. Yields will be lower, with projections citing a drop of 22% from last year, but the loss in volume will be made up for by interest in export markets.
Though the U.S. has experienced record wheat yields in previous years, the protein quality wasn't there, requiring handlers to blend to achieve the levels in demand. This year, as lack of...[Read More]
Understand and Sharpen Your Decision-Making Skills
Decisions, decisions, decisions. They fill our activity every day. From what to wear and eat, to which words to use, to which project to tackle next, to how to spend money. As a manager in the feed and grain industry, your job is filled with problems and decisions too: Should the business expand into new products or into a different geographic area? Should you purchase new equipment or just repair the old stuff? Should you let that low-performing employee go or try to modify his/her...[Read More]
Time to Reprioritize 2012 Farm Bill Cuts
In the midst of unresolved talks over raising the nation’s debt ceiling (at least at the time of this publication’s deadline), there’s no denying that U.S. government spending cuts are necessary. No one sector should count itself untouchable — not NASA, not Medicare, not military, not even agriculture.
The 2012 Farm Bill will no doubt see its fair share of reduction in government program funding. Crop subsidies are an easy target that most people can live with — even farmers. Farmer group...[Read More]
Biofuels Reach a Turning Point
The political war over $5 billion to $6 billion in federal tax supports for corn-based ethanol is about to take a dramatic turn. Biofuel now takes center stage for the elimination of one-off tax supports for industries deemed “mature” enough to operate without Uncle Sam’s help, thus contributing to trying to fill the deep chasm that is the federal deficit.
In broad macroeconomic terms, using food/feed grade corn to fill citizens’ gas tanks and not their stomachs is blamed by livestock and...[Read More]
8 Things You Need to Know About Retrofitting Motors
Energy efficiency is a topic of growing interest across the industrial processing industry, including feed and grain. Many equipment suppliers now offer high-efficiency lines to meet the rising demand, but there are ways to decrease energy consumption without purchasing new equipment.
Retrofitting existing motor-driven machinery with NEMA Premium Efficient, or EISA-compliant, motors can decrease utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions. In some cases, simply retrofitting a smaller sized...[Read More]
The Magic of Trading Limit Markets
Limit markets in futures can be frustrating; it’s like running into a brick wall. A ‘limit-down’ day can make it seemingly impossible to sell futures, and merchandisers are often unsure what to bid farmers. “Limit down” means the market has reached its lowest possible price for that session, although there may be active trade at that price. “Locked limit down” means prices have hit the lowest possible value for the day, and there are unfilled sell orders at that price. Trading stalls....[Read More]
Fostering a Safety Culture
Regardless of the amount of safety training offered or the standard operating procedures put in place, there are forces beyond a manager’s influence determining whether or not employees will employ proper decision-making at a grain elevator. Most of these [oversights] will have little effect on the overall business yet others may have fatal consequences. The question is how do managers evaluate, address and sway an employee’s behavior one way or another. A research assistant with Iowa...[Read More]