Falling Commodity Prices May Change Planting Trends

| Online Exclusive | By Bob Young, American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist & Deputy Executive Director, Public Policy

After more than a few fairly good years for crop producers, 2014 is shaping up as a year where farmers are going to need to spend a little more time sharpening their pencils, a little more time sharing a cup of coffee with those that help them market their crops and maybe not looking at as much new paint as they did in 2012 or 2013.  While we are still likely to see one of the most productive years ever for the sector and cash receipts will be much higher than what we observed throughout...

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Triple Expansion Keeps Wheat Exporter on Top

August/September 2013 | Special Report | Elise Schafer

As you drive west on U.S. highway 2 in Northeastern Montana, you’ll begin to make out an enormous grain elevator on the horizon, amongst the oil wells that dot the Bakken oil field landscape. Impressive by all accounts, this high-capacity, state-of-the-art, highly automated loop track facility in Culbertson, MT, is strategically the only shuttle train facility within a 40-mile radius.

But despite its isolation, it is hardly one-of-a-kind. In fact, it is only one of a set of nearly...

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Country Elevator Conference Concentrates on Congressional Action

August/September 2013 | Feature | By Steven Kilger

Country elevator operators will soon converge on St. Louis for the National Grain and Feed Association’s 42nd Country Elevator Conference and Trade Show (CEC). The CEC is the largest gathering of country elevator personnel in the United States.  The show will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency hotel next to the St. Louis’ Arch. The tradesshow portion opens on Sunday Dec. 8th at 4:00pm with doors closing on Monday Dec. 9th at 7:00pm. The Confrance portion will be going on any time the show...

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IFEEDER Refines its Mission

IFEEDER Refines its Mission

October/November 2013 | Feature | By Steven Kilger

“One of the biggest challenges we face is getting the AFIA membership to realize we must attack the issues facing our industry with a united front, and IFEEDER gives us a vehicle to do that,” Crutcher states.  “As individual companies, we do not have enough critical mass to make an impact.  We must work together to pool our resources to make a meaningful impact on the issues our industry faces.”

 Ken Thomas will allow IFEEDER to keep its finger on the pulse of the industry, to make sure...

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Trade Partners, Industry Not Warm to COOL

Trade Partners, Industry Not Warm to COOL

October/November 2013 | Departments | Legal Q&A | By Todd Langel & Bradley McKinney

Multiple consumer and industry groups have sought to intervene in the suit in favor of the revised rules. The Plaintiffs have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to halt the implementation of the rule before it causes further damage to the industry. The motion was denied on Sept. 11, 2013. In denying the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the Court held that the Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm. The...

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Expectations and Leadership: Dont Make them Guess

August/September 2013 | Departments | By Jay Akridge and John Foltz

One weekend, three brothers were building a new deck at one of the brother’s home. (One of the three brothers is co-author of this column.) Running out of weekend to finish the project, tensions started to build as reality began to set in. Then, it started to rain (we are not making this up!)—slowing progress even more. The brother with the least construction experience was working as fast as he could placing joists to support the deck. Unfortunately, he was not performing the task in the...

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FSMA’s Tight Deadlines, Scope of Reform Worry Feed Industry

August/September 2013 | Feature | Steven Kilger

As the Food and Drug Administration picks up the pace in promulgating Food Safety Modernization Act rules, feed facilities and suppliers are working against the clock to prepare for some of the biggest regulatory changes the feed industry—with its 900 ingredients and facilities and suppliers of all sizes—has ever faced.  

“I think a lot about the ability of our industry to be sophisticated at all levels to absorb, understand and implement these kinds of controls. We’re not really sure we...

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A Strong Link in the Food Chain

August/September 2013 | Departments | By Bob Stallman

On July 30, a very significant event occurred for Feed & Grain magazine and the American Farm Bureau Federation.  While technically an acquisition of the former by the American Farm Bureau, I rather like to think of it as a marriage of two very strong brands that are deeply-rooted in the agriculture industry. While each in its own right is important to the agriculture community, both Feed & Grain and the American Farm Bureau Federation are strengthened because of the combination.

So, who...

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A Bittersweet Summer

August/September 2013 | Editors Note | Elise Schafer

I recently celebrated my five-year anniversary as a full-time employee of Cygnus Business Media, Feed & Grain magazine's former parent company, and nearly simultaneously reached another milestone in my career: being named editor of Feed & Grain.

Over the past five years, I have worked for several Cygnus publications in various industries (all while serving as part-time Feed & Grain staffer), but I always felt most at home among the folks in the feed and grain sector. Through my travels as...

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Spread Signals

August/September 2013 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

Futures Trading 101 tell us a futures spread is the price difference between two futures contracts. A futures carry is when the deferred contract price is higher than the more nearby month. A futures inverse, or an inverted market, is when the nearby price is higher than a deferred price. Futures spreads can be bought or sold, and have a daily price limit equal to double the daily limit move of the underlying futures.

An important principle of futures spreads is that with storable...

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OSHA’s Sweep Auger Policy Comes Full Circle

August/September 2013 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

After nearly five years of back-and-forth between the grain industry and OSHA over its fluctuating sweep auger policy, a recent agency memo has brought some degree of closure to the issue.

The controversy was sparked in 2008, when an insurance agent wrote to OSHA regarding its policies on whether employees could remove their harnesses and lifeline inside a bin if there were no engulfment hazards present, and if employees could operate sweep augers if the sump was not protected by grating....

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Leadership Communication Skills: Listening and Being An Empathetic Leader

August/September 2013 | Departments | Elise Schafer

Colin Powell said, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” In his book, It Worked for me in Life and Leadership, Powell shares with us rules that he developed, concepts that he found effective, and stories of his life that impacted him and his leadership style.

Good leaders...

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Accurate Nutrition Without the Lab

August/September 2013 | Feature | Steven Kilger

The United Nations’ department of Economic and Social Affairs released a report in 2012 that the world’s population will reach an estimated 9 billion by the year 2050 (http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm).  This estimate has placed a great deal of emphasis on agriculture and non-agriculture entities to determine the best way(s) to produce food for future generations. The current facts are that the amount of arable land to plow and sow is limited, and meat consumption is increasing as...

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Put Your Money to Work

August/September 2013 | Feature | Elise Schafer

Since 2008, the U.S. economy has remained generally grim as it’s teetered between periods of recession and slight uptick. Industries like manufacturing, construction and realty famously suffered, while others like technology and food weathered the storm less scathed. But one segment has consistently outperformed the rest throughout this tumultuous period in U.S. history: agriculture.  

Given the strength of the industry, banks are eager to lend money to the grain segment, but according to...

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Identifying the Core of Your Business

August/September 2013 | Feature | By Damien McLoughlin

In today’s market, companies often lose sight of their core. Most feed or grain companies have ambitions to grow their business but few have an actual plan, beyond working harder. With the agricultural sector’s increased understanding of how to optimize animal and plant performance, there is continuous pressure to keep up with genetic improvements. This manifests itself through choices made by owners and presidents whether to enter specialist or niche markets, open up new geographies and...

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