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Putting A Price Tag On Quality

June/July 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty and Elise Schafer

"Value-added."

We read and hear that phrase so many times that it's become part of our daily vernacular.

However, the problem with this phrase is that it is often difficult to define "value" to the end user. In simple terms, however, once money finds its way back into our pockets, only then can a product or service truly considered as having added value.

Is the expectation any different in the feed and grain industry vs. the consumer retail arena? Absolutely not.

Some would contend...

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Rebuilding Infrastructure, ‘Bracketology’ Style

April/May 2009 | Editors Note |

I was surfing the U.S. News and World Report website (www.usnews.com) the other day, and a story about the NCAA college basketball tournament caught my eye. As I write this column, the Sweet 16 is about to commence and all people can talk about is the condition of their “bracket” and how many teams they still have in the title hunt.

One part of the story that intrigued me was this: The Nevada Gaming Commission estimates the legal amount wagered on the tournament to be somewhere between $80...

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Avoid a Logistics Logjam

April/May 2009 | Departments |

Suppose you decide to build a house. Would you buy the materials first, or would you draw up the blueprints and then schedule subcontractors and get the materials?

In grain merchandising, having a “blueprint” of your facility’s logistics is also an important first step. I don’t mean literally having a blueprint of the bins or the trackage, but knowing your operation’s capacity for throughput — the logistics of when and how much grain you can receive, store, and ship. Trying to merchandise...

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Focus on Regulatory: Bridging the Regulation Gap

April/May 2009 | Departments | Elise Schafer

American feed and food companies pride themselves as being providers of some of the highest quality, safest products in the world. Feed associations, such as the American Feed Industry Association, have played a role in encouraging and helping their members follow the regulations set forth by the USDA and FDA through the development of third-party certification programs.

In today’s global economy, however, it’s not enough to meet only U.S. regulations. That’s why the AFIA has teamed with...

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When Does a Contract Become Real?

April/May 2009 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty

Whether it’s a lease agreement, signing on to take a new job or buying a home or other big-ticket item, sooner or later we all are faced with having to review and sign a contract to close the deal. Once we’ve “signed our life away,” on the dotted line, we are now obligated to live up to the terms of the signed contract.

While this scenario is played out a countless number of times per day, a markedly different protocol is engaged when executing a grain contract. FEED & GRAIN again turns to...

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You Get What You Pay For and Other True Tales of Employee Management

April/May 2009 | Departments | Dr. John Foltz, Mr. Jim Miller and Dr. Jay Akridge

Finding, hiring and keeping good people presents a challenge in any industry and the feed and grain industry is no different. In fact, due to the rural nature of the industry, many managers have even a more difficult time than businesses located in larger metropolitan areas.

In this issue we take a look at a number of issues which surround your workforce. Employee management can be rewarding and is certainly essential, but often maddening at the same time — because you are dealing with...

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The Global Pond

January 2009 | Departments |

Kids in the country learn early that a stone skimmed across a pond creates ripples that can travel far. In today’s global agricultural markets, one country’s problem can directly impact many other countries. Losses to the Australian wheat crop sharply boosted our exports two years ago and in 2008 the Former Soviet Union’s bumper wheat crop crushed the U.S. soft red wheat basis. In 2009 it’s South America that will affect us next.

Losses in South America mean overseas importers of its...

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Taking a New Look at Grain Storage

January 2009 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

The newly-launched Integris USA, LLC and its parent company, Calgary-based OPIsystems Inc., have an ambitious goal for U.S. commercial grain handlers and grain producers: Change your thinking about stored grain.

OPIsystems has sold its “Advanced Grain Management” systems throughout the world for more than two decades, and OPIsystems president and CEO Dave Crompton says that experience is what convinced him a sea change regarding stored grain was in order.

“All the sophisticated management...

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Fighting a New Kind of Old Enemy

January 2009 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

Stem rust is an age-old disease that has stricken a variety of grain crops since ancient times, and has the tenacity to nearly destroy an entire wheat crop.

Over the past 50 years the United States and other developed nations have experienced measurable success in fighting this pathogen using a resistance gene called Sr31, a gene for which no virulence had been reported anywhere in the world.

However, after years without incident, a new type of wheat rust has emerged in Africa, puzzling...

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2009: Looks Like a Risky Proposition at Best

January 2009 | Editors Note |

Considering that within the last year our industry's big headache has shifted from, "Will I find enough grain?" to "Will my customers and I find enough credit to keep operating?" it becomes clear we are now fully engaged in the risk industry.

Admittedly, that observation is no news flash for you out there on the front lines, but what is noteworthy is how deeply risk elements have permeated the operating environment and how broadly the effects of risk will be felt now and in the future.

It's...

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Word-of-Mouth Marketing - You Can Make it Work for You!

January 2009 | Departments |

When you hear reference to word-of-mouth marketing do you think “oh, that is the buzz that some firms get who are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and get everyone talking about their product,” like Cabbage Patch dolls in the 1980s or more recently ipods. This buzz is one aspect of word-of-mouth marketing and some companies have been able to successfully sustain that positive talk amongst their customers. Additional examples that come to mind are Saturn owners who...

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Celebrating a Centennial of Service

January 2009 | Special Report |

The year is 1909.

British explorer Ernest Shackleton finds the magnetic South Pole; the Wright brothers deliver the first airplane to the U.S. Army; the United States Mint issues the first Lincoln penny. Shortly after President Taft is inaugurated during a March snowstorm which dumped 10 inches of snow on the nation’s capital, a group of 18 feed manufacturers gathered in Chicago and agreed to form a new organization called the American Feed Manufacturers Association.

After that first...

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Laying the Track for Success

January 2009 | Cover Story | By Elise Schafer

The poultry industry has seen its share of better days. The price for breast meat has plummeted thanks to a gluttonous supply, and although the price of grain has decreased in recent months, it’s still well above average over the previous 30 years. These factors have forced Tyson Foods and other poultry producers across the nation to cut production and close processing plants’ doors for good. These conditions also contributed to the bankruptcy filing of the nation’s largest chicken...

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St. Louis Hosts GEAPS Exchange

January 2009 | Feature | Jackie Roembke

After GEAPS Exchange 2008's record-breaking attendance, it's hard to imagine that the 2009 event could outshine last year's. But that's exactly the goal program coordinators set out to achieve for GEAPS Exchange 2009.

Industry professionals can expect this year's show - slated for Feb. 28- March 3 - to match last year's numbers and provide three days' worth of the most valuable educational programs that GEAPS Exchange has ever offered.

Booth sales for the exchange, held at St. Louis'...

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Cellulosic Ethanol: A Path to Energy Independence

January 2009 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

Ethanol producers see a future in which their product is no longer an additive to gasoline, but the primary fuel for America’s vehicles. It’s a vision of energy independence, eliminating imports for fuel.

Using new technology and new feedstocks is the only way to make the notion a reality, and one company claims that technology is on the verge of hitting the market.

The most common source of renewable fuel has been corn ethanol; however, companies and governments across the globe have been...

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