Appropriate Use of Financial Leverage in Your Feed and Grain Business

January 2011 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

In simple terms, leverage is the measure of debt (borrowed dollars) to equity (dollars the owners have invested in the business) in your feed and grain firm. When we say that a firm is “Highly Leveraged,” it means that the company has a large amount of debt relative to how much equity the owners have in the firm. Why is this important? Well, as we discuss in more detail below — if you can use someone else’s money to make you money — you can significantly increase your return on...

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OSHA to ‘Aggressively Pursue’ Safety Violations in Grain Handling Operations

January 2011 | Departments | Jackie Roembke

Recently, OSHA put grain handling operators “on notice” that it intends to “aggressively pursue” workplace safety violations in the grain handling and storage industries. On August 4, 2010, OSHA Administrator David Michaels sent a letter to over 3,000 grain handling and storage operators warning them that OSHA “will not tolerate” non-compliance with workplace safety standards. A copy of this letter is available at http://www.osha.gov/asst-sec/Grain_letter.html. In a related press...

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The Challenges of DDGS Caking in Transit

January 2011 | Departments |

The challenges of unloading Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS), the major co-product of corn ethanol production, from hopper cars or ship cargo holds at their points of destination have been a major logistical problem facing the marketing of DDGS.

Product caking in hopper cars is primarily the major problem when hopper cars turn up “hard” with nonflowable product (Figure 1). This problem has led to two Class I railroad carriers announcing that they will not permit railroad-owned...

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Save with Feed Mill Automation

January 2011 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

Advanced system controls take many functions of day to day feed mill operations out of human hands, reducing labor costs and the risk of error.

Automating major processes also helps facilities achieve maximum uptime, productivity and throughput, while promoting consistent product quality and compliance with safety regulations.

Feed & Grain sat down with experts from today’s leading automation system providers to gain insight on the benefits of implementing automation technology.

Our panel of...

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No Grain, No Gain

January 2011 | Special Report | By Jackie Roembke

J.D. Heiskell & Co., a 125-year-old grain and commodity trading business, motto says it all: “Right feed, right time, right place.” The privately held company as evolved it’s business to stay true to this promise, while maintaing the family values it touts as its foundation. The country's fourth largest feed manufacturing company by volume, J.D. Hesikell has boldly grown in order to keep up with the demands of its customer base, exceeding expectations along the way.

[Quote from chairman of...

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The tide also rises

October/November 2010 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Happy 2011! As we all gladly welcome this new year of opportunity, we as an industry have to be cognizant of political and market trends — both domestically and abroad — to be able to capitalize on and maintain agriculture's momentum.

In early December I attended my first National Feed & Grain Association's Annual Country Elevator Conference. The dynamic and informative line-up of speakers touched on everything from hot-button regulatory issues to the financing tools; however, there seemed...

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How to maximize dust control

October/November 2010 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

Government agencies are poised to more strictly enforce regulations, and operators in the grain handling and feed manufacturing industry are going to need to know the rules as they evolve or face the consequences.

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) study sharpened its focus in 2006 with its Combustible Dust Hazard Study, in which it reported that from 1980 to 2005, combustible dusts caused 281 incidents that killed 119 workers and injured 718. Even with the...

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KC Wheat Futures Shift Gears

October/November 2010 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

2010 has been rough on hard red wheat farmers, merchants, and the Kansas City Board of Trade. Farmers watched KC wheat drift lower from late 2009 until harvest. Exporters struggled to sell hard red wheat before harvest against cheaper overseas offers. But adverse weather slashed Canada’s wheat crop by 17% and the FSU crop by almost 30% and wheat futures climbed as the scope of the problems widened.

Then a 1+ billion bushel US hard red wheat harvest arrived. Terminals were ready, the early...

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Elevator Pitches for Elevators

October/November 2010 | Departments | Drs. Joan Fulton, John Foltz, Nicole Olynk and C. Gustav Helmers

Elevator pitches, or elevator talks, have received considerable attention recently in the media and business press. Elevator pitches got their name because they were originally associated with the scenario where an entrepreneur had the time it took for the elevator to go from the lobby to the executive suite (about two minutes) to convince the would-be investor of the value of his/her business or invention. The concept has evolved and now is used to fit a variety of important interactions...

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Plucked For Success

October/November 2010 | Cover Story | By Jackie Roembke

Sanderson Farms, a fully integrated poultry producer, is committed to taking a fresh approach to everything it does, be it the implementation of new technology or the millions of pounds chicken it ships every week. The nation’s fourth largest poultry producer adheres to the same hometown values — honesty, integrity and innovation — that have been with it since the Sanderson brothers founded the company in 1947.

The company has more than 10,000 employees and over 770 independent growers....

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Negotiating State Commercial Feed Licensing Requirements

October/November 2010 | Departments | By Andrew Anderson and Jess Phelps

Over the years, states have increasingly regulated the sale of commercial feeds. States now typically require producers and distributors to obtain commercial feed licenses in advance of commencing operations within a given state. In addition to these commercial feed licenses, product label registration and inspection fees can also apply — further increasing the regulatory framework applicable in this area.

The regulations governing the sale and distribution of commercial feeds naturally...

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Seize the day, plan for tomorrow

October/November 2010 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Showcase 2011 marks two milestones: The beginning of a new year of opportunities and Feed & Grain's 50th anniversary. Over the course of our tenure many innovations have graced the pages of this magazine — and many of you have been with us along the way. For this, many thanks and a promise that we will stay true to our mission of delivering in-depth coverage and insights to the feed, grain and allied processing industries. 

As always, our goal — here and in every issue of Feed & Grain — is...

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NGFA’s Country Elevator Conference & Trade Show

October/November 2010 | Special Report |

The National Grain and Feed Association will hold the 2010 edition of the 39th annual Country Elevator Conference and Trade Show Dec. 5-7 in Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel.

According to NGFA, the event is the single largest gathering of country elevator and feed manufacturer personnel. More than 500 industry members are expected to attend the day-and-a-half conference and trade show. The major trade show, which will occur Dec. 5-6 during the conference, is nearly...

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The Increasing Role of Federal Regulation Within the Commercial Feed Sector

October/November 2010 | Departments | By Andrew Anderson and Jess Phelps

By this time, most feed companies are thoroughly familiar with many of the issues presented with and by commercial feed regulations at the state level, including the widespread facility registration and inspection fee regimes that typify this field. State regulators, however, are not the only regulatory bodies interested in monitoring or controlling the commercial feed supply. Recently, federal agencies, particularly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are devoting an increasing...

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OSHA Steps It Up

October/November 2010 | Feature | By Shannon DeCamp

The tone has changed in the OSHA Administration and efforts to ramp up and crack down are already in motion. More resources are being allocated to enforcement, and penalties and fines are being increased. Now is a good time to review your safety program and ensure that it is iron-clad. Here is a brief overview of some of OSHA’s recent and planned actions.

Improved record keeping

Part of the stage for stronger enforcement was set with the initiation of the Recordkeeping National Emphasis...

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