A harvest for history

January 2010 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

“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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AFIA leaders reflect on the state of feed industry

January 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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A personal test of mettle . . . and concrete

January 2010 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

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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If you want a seat at the table, you’d better bring your chips

October/November 2009 | Editors Note |

If you want a seat at the table, you'd better bring your chips

Agribusiness in general and the feed and grain industry in particular are no strangers to high-stakes gambling.

An industry that routinely deals with the vagaries of weather and the whims of a fickle public for its livellihood is well prepared for just about anything. That is, maybe, until now.

In this issue we cover the potential impact pending climate change/cap-and-trade and food/feed safety legislation could have on our...

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Bringing vision and values to life in your firm

October/November 2009 | Departments | Drs. John Foltz & Jay Akridge

Harvest is upon us and in some areas the feed and grain industry is hitting on all cylinders. The middle of what may be the most intense part of the year may seem like an odd time to be thinking about your firm’s vision and values, but that is what we are going to ask you to do in this column. Being in the midst of “doing what you do,” is not a bad time to take a look at the alignment between what your firm’s vision and where you are now. Likewise, when your organization is running flat...

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Climate change and food/feed safety legislation

October/November 2009 | Departments | By Elise Schafer

Since President Barack Obama has taken office, change has been abundant. Between his proposed healthcare reform, new strategy for the war in the Middle East and his views on funding for higher education, it seems there is little the president wants to remain status quo.

Members of Congress have recently seen two separate pieces of legislation that could profoundly affect the feed and grain industry. One deals with food and feed safety and the other pertains to climate change and cap and...

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Wheat: The Road to Convergence

October/November 2009 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

Staring ahead while standing on a railroad, it appears the rails converge on the horizon. But as we walk forward, we find the convergence is an illusion and the rails remain as far apart as where we started. That separation is fine if you’re running a railroad. It’s not fine if you’re hedging wheat, anticipating that cash and futures prices will come together; converge, when you reach the futures delivery month. Soft red wheat basis in many markets has resembled those railroad tracks for...

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No Room For Compromise

October/November 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

You won’t find it written on plaques hanging on the wall. Nor will it be emblazoned on letterhead or notepads lying on a desk. However “it” makes all the difference in how Vita Plus Corp. goes to market and is the key driver to its success.

“It” is the simple phrase “employee-owned,” that appears underneath the company logo. Although it holds a subordinate position in the graphic sense, it is the dominant point of light which guides the company and is the bedrock of its operating...

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You will never know unless you ask

August/September 2009 | Editors Note |

Curiosity is a wonderful quality.

Small children have it in abundance and use it often as budding food scientists who delight the world with contributions such as the peanut butter and summer sausage sandwich — seriously, this is really pretty good. With these and other discoveries the researcher in all of us is unleashed.

As we age, our curiosity and research efforts lead to more social research projects. Most notable of these pursuits is testing and adopting peer groups, running...

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Nincompoops & Stick-in-the-Muds: Dealing with Difficult People

August/September 2009 | Departments | Dr. John Foltz & Dr. Christine Wilson

Love your job but sometimes really dislike dealing with some of the people you work with? Trust us, you are not alone. In fact as a manager and leader in your feed and grain business, your job heavily involves dealing with people — your subordinate employees, other managers and co-workers, customers, and others. Some people are always pleasant, easy and enjoyable to work with, but as you well know, often you will find some very difficult people at work. As a manager, you are much like an...

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Navigating a course through coarse particulate matter regulations

August/September 2009 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dropped its proposal to exempt agricultural sources from requirements to implement control systems to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for coarse particulate matter (PM), these sources remain exposed to further EPA regulation under the auspices of the Clean Air Act.

In this issue’s Legal Q&A, Feed & Grain visits with Eric Triplett of Faegre & Benson LLP to help lend some clarity to the potential impact the EPA’s action...

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Makin Money

August/September 2009 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

It’s a crisp morning with a hint of autumn in the air. Mike pulls up to the elevator in his pickup and shuts off the engine, pausing before climbing out to open the office and start another harvest day. As the trucks and wagons begin to arrive and farmers stop in for some morning coffee, Mike sits in his office looking over the year-to-date financials. Volume looks promising — he expects local crops will overrun the capacity of area elevators this harvest — but Mike wishes the fiscal year...

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Rootworm Research Leads to Synthetic Dye Alternative

August/September 2009 | Departments | By Elise Schafer

After years of breeding corn in an effort to discover host plant resistance, a husband and wife research team bred a unique purple maize with potential applications for the feed and food sectors.

Many of today’s commonly used household appliances, medications, and even foods were discovered by accident. The camera, microwave, potato chips and penicillin are a few examples of everyday products that researchers, doctors and inventors stumbled upon while aiming to create something entirely...

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Capturing value, creating new markets

August/September 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

Two friends share a beverage after a long day and during the discussion one of them asks, “I wonder if there’s a way to get more value out of my wheat midds?” On the surface, it seems like an innocent query to a common problem faced by wheat processors.

However, that simple question served as the genesis of an idea which has such far-reaching implications for processors, feed manufacturers, researchers, livestock operators, and even those involved in the economic development arena.

If you...

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Energy auditing: The pathway to efficiency

August/September 2009 | Feature | Elise Schafer

Energy auditing may sound like an intimidating process, but following the guidelines provided by the EPA's Energy Star program makes it easy to decrease energy consumption and begin reaping the benefits of energy efficiency.

In today's tough economy, a main objective for many companies has become to decrease operating costs without decreasing production or compromising the quality of their product. With several fixed expenses, such as freight rates, the cost of raw materials and payroll,...

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