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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Treat Yourself Like You’d Treat Your Grain

June/July 2009 | Editors Note |

I’m mad. I know I shouldn’t write when I’m mad, but I am. I’m mad at my friend Phil. Like many of us, Phil was dealing with a lot of stress lately at work. Sensing that the stress was starting to slow him down a little — and wanting a clean bill of health before turkey season and golf season got into full swing — he had some stress tests done, which he passed. But that’s not why I’m mad at him.

A few days after the tests he was at work and started feeling some pains in his arm. Knowing...

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Focus on Biofuels: DDGS Heads East

June/July 2009 | Departments | By Elise Schafer

A cooperation agreement between the U.S. Grains Council and a Chinese dairy association has expanded the U.S. DDGS market eastward, where the potential for growth is enormous.

The U.S. Grains Council is helping to increase exports of U.S. dried distillers grains with soluables (DDGS), a co-product of the ethanol industry, through its cooperation program with dairies along China's coastline. On March 10, 2009, the USGC signed a cooperation agreement with the Guangdong Provincial Dairy...

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Managing Feed-Related Claims

June/July 2009 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty, Todd Langel and Jacob Bylund

The formulation and manufacture of feed is an increasingly complex science-based process. As is the case with food products for human consumption, great care is taken by feed suppliers to ensure that a high-quality and safe product is delivered to the customer. The business of marketing feed and maintaining client relationships is also increasingly complex and competitive.

As animal agriculture consolidates, and producers generally become larger, the size of individual customer accounts...

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Time Manange It or It Will Manage You

June/July 2009 | Departments | Drs. John Foltz & Joan Fulton

Today's economy is forcing most of us to try to do more with less. One resource that managers definitely do not have more of is time. Your work week — whatever it is — sometimes 60 hours or more — is a finite resource. Time is kind of like land: "They're not making any more of it!" So how do you utilize this precious commodity more efficiently?

In this issue we delve into effective time management. While we know there have been many books, seminars, websites and studies devoted to time...

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Swaps, Spreads and Safety Nets

June/July 2009 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

Last year took the world's financial markets to the brink. Trillions of dollars of real estate transactions, OTC credit swaps and other derivatives couldn't be valued; managers didn't know what their portfolios were worth, or how to exit their positions.

Grain merchandisers had it easy by comparison. Deep, liquid futures markets let you quickly and easily lay off price and spread risk. Everything is marked to market daily for complete transparency. Hedges are exchange-cleared, where the...

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