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Fractionation: An Answer to the Food vs. Fuel Debate

August/September 2008 | Feature | Elise Schafer

As the economy continues to decline and financial experts say we're headed into a recession, American families struggle to put both food on the table and gas in the tank. 2008 saw a 36% increase in milk prices compared to 2007, and the national average price for a gallon of unleaded gas peaked at $4.11 in July. These circumstances have some people asking "Do I feed my kids, or my car?"

Although research released by the American Farm Bureau Federation says that the climb in food costs are...

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Quality from the Ground Up

June/July 2008 | Special Report | Gerry Whitty

Depending on whom you ask, most people will say that grain quality reaches its peak at harvest.

Indeed, once it leaves the farm, the primary driver of grain quality evolves from its initial function of producing a quality crop to one of grain quality preservation.

While the role played by elevator operators and those who handle grain as it enters the marketing channel is vital to overall grain quality, the upfront work done by grain producers themselves has added a much-needed boost to...

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Delivering on the Promise

June/July 2008 | Special Report | Gerry Whitty

The United States remains the leading provider of high-quality grains to the global marketplace; however, can we be expected to maintain that position forever? FEED & GRAIN looks at how the industry is positioned and the factors which impact our place in the grain quality equation.

What is Quality?

Quality means many things to many people. To some it's a style of management that improves your business via TQM. Others use it as a way to wish someone well, without really meaning it;-

Quality Practices that Pay

June/July 2008 | Special Report | Elise Schafer

Don't risk premiums by letting moisture, mold, pests or undesirable temperature compromise grain quality. Using appropriate drying, aerating and inspecting practices help protect and preserve the value of your grain.

Guarding grain quality is the mission of thousands of grain elevators and farms across America. The guardians of grain quality dedicate their lives to monitoring the commodity at every step in its lifecycle from harvest to feed trough, and it's not always an easy job....

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Quality - How to Keep it Everybodys Job

June/July 2008 | Departments | By Dr. John Foltz & Dr. Joan Fulton

Quality — we talk about it lots. Customers are concerned about it — grain farmers that deliver grain to your elevator – where their grain is graded by quality; or livestock farmers that purchase feed from you in the feed business — where they want the highest quality feedstuffs to feed to their dairy cows, poultry, hogs or other livestock. When you sell grain, your customers are also concerned about grain quality of the wheat, corn, soybeans or other grain products that you ship out of...

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Discounting Your Profits?

June/July 2008 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

Once again we are with Mike, the general manager of our mythical multistation grain cooperative located somewhere in the Western Corn Belt. Today, Mike is discussing the company’s P&L with his accountant and the conversation is not going well. Nevertheless, Mike’s temporary misfortune sheds some much-needed light on how discounts can rob you of profits and productivity, and FEED & GRAIN examines ways to minimize the impact discounts have on your bottom line.

Mike sits fuming in his office,...

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FEW Restores Faith in Ethanol Industry

June/July 2008 | Feature | Elise Schafer

Nashville, TN has a lot to be proud of. "Music City" is the beating heart of country music, home of the Grand Ole Opry and rich in American history and world culture. And after June 16, Nashville can also proudly boast that it hosted the 24th annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW), the largest ethanol conference and expo in the world.

The 2008 FEW will be bigger than ever, with an expected attendance of 6,000 - roughly 700 more than last year, and over 600 exhibitors. Dave...

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An Industry Perspective

June/July 2008 | Feature | By Gerry Whitty

Making and keeping your commitment to providing high- quality feed products and grain to the marketplace needn’t be a daunting task. Our industry works hard to ensure all links of the grain channel chain are tempered with the resources needed to support grain quality. Join us as we check on how our industry’s associations engage and enlighten its member and stakeholder publics on quality-related issues.

What criteria are important to consider when looking at hiring a new employee? Or,...

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New Solutions to Old Problems

April/May 2008 | Departments |

In business we must take the good with the bad, and rarely does something truly good come along without a hitch. Ethanol producers found this to be true when they discovered that wet distillers grains (WDG) is not only difficult to handle, but also has a shorter shelf life, resulting in a lower valued product.

Since the ethanol boom began, around the late 1990s, producers have found a market for the co-product. WDG, or wet cake, is more palatable and nutritious for dairy cows and cattle...

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Triumph Over Tragedy

April/May 2008 | Special Report | Gerry Whitty

"I'll see you back at the office."

We've all heard or uttered this phrase, when departing on a business trip. For Dan Shefland, vice president operations/engineering for McC Inc., it holds a distinctly different meaning. Those were the last words he ever spoke with McC Inc. project manager Dave Kammerer.

"They were sitting on the runway waiting to depart and we had just talked about our missing laptop and we decided to deal with it later when we were all back in the office," says Shefland....

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Do You Make the Grade? A Report Card for Your Feed and Grain Business, Part Two

April/May 2008 | Departments | Dr. John Foltz & Dr. Christine Wilson

AUTHOR'S NOTE: In our last column we presented Part One of a Grade Card for the feed and grain business. This month we give you Part Two of the Grade Card — additional criteria you can use to evaluate your firm in some key strategic management areas. Our grade card can be thought of as a method to assess where your business is — a subjective measuring tool relative to your own perceptions, and perhaps relative to other firms in your industry.

As with our last column, we start with the...

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The story of ‘Clownie,’ or ‘How I Learned to Let Go and Move On’

April/May 2008 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

As a little girl I had a small cloth clown that I carried everywhere. He was soft and familiar and infinitely comforting during the numerous trials of my childhood. But Clownie became grubby and beat up, and lost much of his stuffing despite my mother's secret attempts to patch him for me. I still loved him, but one day I recognized that it was time to keep my old friend in my room and carry something else with me.

Managing merchandising risks this year reminds me of my beloved clown. The...

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Maintenance Made Easy

Maintenance Made Easy

January 2008 | Departments |

Ever try driving a car that hasn’t had an oil change, a tire rotation or its fluids checked in a year? Chances are you haven’t, and if you did, you were blinded by the check engine light the whole way to your destination. All those maintenance issues, when not properly tended to, can cause a major breakdown. Handling each tiny maintenance procedure at its scheduled time is simple and will save the driver from a serious headache

Getting the Full Scoop on Our Industry

Getting the Full Scoop on Our Industry

January 2008 | Special Report | By Gerry Whitty

Those of us fortunate enough to have grown up on a farm are intimately familiar with “getting the scoop.” From getting the day’s job list from Dad to being advised to add an extra scoop of soy meal or cottonseed to our top producing hosteins, hardly a day went by without using information in the successful operation of our farm.

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