Limiting Recall Risk with Tracking Technology

June/July 2012 | Online Exclusive | By Meetesh Shah, president, iRely

Everyone in the agricultural business is well aware of the significant damage a product recall can have on all the companies involved. It is bad for the customers, bad for the partners, bad for publicity and certainly bad for the bottom line. Experts follow best practice rules to help lower the risk of recalls but for many, one slip up can be devastating to the business.

Yet despite this risk, many feed and grain operators are still running basic, outdated technology. It’s no secret that...

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Building a Safety Culture

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Julie Waltz

In general, feed and grain companies conduct operations in a way that promotes “production first and safety second”. Even the notion of putting “safety first” does not by itself promote a safe workplace. Safety is an attitude and should not be thought of as “first" or "second,” but should be integrated into all thought processes throughout a business.

Undoubtedly, the most influential source of a company’s safety culture is the front line supervisor or location manager due to their daily...

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Leading Change in Your Feed and Grain Business

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Drs. Christine Wilson and John Foltz

John F. Kennedy said, Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. Think about that. How does this outlook fit with your feed and grain business? What changes might you need to make to keep your business competitive or on-track for the future? It is an understatement to say that in the past 100 years (even in the last 20!), we have experienced dramatic changes in production, technology, world trade, economics, and government...

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Ships O’ Soy!

June/July 2012 | Special Report | By Jackie Roembke

On the shore of the estuarine bay of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, WA, Ag Processing Inc's (AGP) new port terminal elevator sits only 12 miles away from the Pacific Ocean-

When OSHA Comes Knockin

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Eric J. Conn and Lindsay A. Smith

As Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” No truer words could be said to employers in the grain industry today about OSHA inspections. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, summed up OSHA’s enforcement philosophy during her swearing in, when she stated: “There is a new sheriff in town. Make no mistake about it, the Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business. We’re serious. We’re very serious.” OSHA has certainly lived up to...

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How to Get Involved With Social Media

April/May 2012 | Online Exclusive | By Donna Moenning

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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Kerr Feed and Grain Embraces Innovation

April/May 2012 | Online Exclusive | By 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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Mobile Mania: New Use for Hand-held Technology

April/May 2012 | Special Report | By Elise Schafer

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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Feed Industry Investigates Future Challenges

April/May 2012 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

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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How to Improve Grain Quality Through Hazard Prevention

April/May 2012 | Feature | By 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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Nonconformity With Delivery Obligations Under NGFA Trade Rules

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Todd Langel

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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Risk Management Goes to Grad School

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

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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Tips for Purchasing Automated Palletizing Systems

April/May 2012 | Feature | By 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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Technology Takeover

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Arlette Sambs

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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Management Implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Jeff Kronenberg, Dr. John Foltz and Dr. Joan Fulton

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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