How to Deal with the Aftermath of a Catastrophic Event

April/May 2013 | Departments | By Mark D. Aljets

A grain dust explosion at a facility may be the most traumatic event a grain company will ever face. In the first hours after the explosion occurs, there needs to be a team in place to address all of the issues that literally will be coming at the company in rapid fire succession. 

All of the following recommendations should be ready to be implemented even when the fires may still be burning.  Some of these are common sense observations. Others may be issues a grain company has never...

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How to Utilize Data to Make Management Decisions

April/May 2013 | Departments | By Drs. John Foltz and Joan Fulton

“Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.”

“Lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Although the definitive source for the first quote is uncertain it has been attributed to several individuals including Carroll D. Wright and Mark Twain. Mark Twain popularized the second quote in the U.S. Anyone who has worked with data knows firsthand how you can come up with a different conclusion depending upon how the data is presented, understanding the first phrase very well. However, numbers and data have...

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Protecting Stored Grain to Maximize Quality

June/July 2013 | Special Report | By Tom Phillips, David Hagstrum and Gerrit Cuperus

Stored grain, as with other durable stored commodities and their value-added products, are at their highest quality just after harvest or manufacturing, and are at risk of decreased quality during storage from the depredations of insects, molds, vertebrate pests and physical damage. A new technical training book produced by Kansas State University titled, Stored Product Protection, details the types of pests and damaging agents, methods for management, prevention of infestation, control...

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Behind the Scenes: Cargill AgHorizons’ Hales Point, TN, River Terminal

April/May 2013 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

In early 2011 Cargill AgHorizons awarded Kajima Building & Design (KBD) Group Inc. the bid to overhauled its outdated Hales Point, TN, barge-loading facility located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The plan involved expansion of its storage and handling capacity and a structural foundation capable of meeting the demands of river terminal operation. However, given the unpredictable nature of Ol' Man River, the Atlanta, GA-based design/build firm had to overcome a number of unique...

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‘Strong’ Phosphine Resistance Found in U.S. Stored Grain Insects

June/July 2013 | Feature | By George Opit and Thomas Phillips

The lesser grain borer (Fig. 1) and the red flour beetle (Fig. 2) are two major pests of stored grain in the United States, and are often combated with phosphine fumigation. These fumigations are starting to fail, raising questions about their effectiveness. Resistance in stored-product insect pests has become a major problem in many countries, with very high levels of resistance found in some parts of Asia and Africa and, more recently, in Australia and South America. Drs. George Opit,...

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Food Fight

February/March 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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Getting the Measure of Mycotoxins

February/March 2013 | Feature | By Dr. Terry Mabbett

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.

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Beyond the Scale

February/March 2013 | Departments | By Steve Day

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/March 2013 | Feature | By Mike Martin

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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Warning: Grain Tsunami Incoming

February/March 2013 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

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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Motivating Employees: Carrots Beyond Salary and Benefits

February/March 2013 | Departments | By Drs. John Foltz and Jay Akridge

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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Global Feed Industry Collaborates to Benchmark Livestock Sustainability

February/March 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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Loads of Benefits Delivered by a Transportation Subsidiary

February/March 2013 | Departments | By Stephen H. Paul and Fenton D. Strickland

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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Egg Ranch Cracks into Feed Production

February/March 2013 | Special Report | By 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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To the Rescue: How Salvage Operations can Minimize Commodity Losses

February/March 2013 | Feature | By 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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