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Multistate research project impacts global agriculture

January 2010 | Departments | By Dr. F. William Ravlin

Marketing and Delivery of Quality Grains and BioProcess Coproducts,” dubbed NC-213, is a multistate research project composed of a team of scientists, engineers and economists from leading United States land grant universities, USDA, USDA-ARS research centers and representatives from private industry. This informal research association dates back to the first organizational meeting, held in January 1978 in St. Louis.

NC-213 objectives

NC-213 goals are to characterize quality attributes and...

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Benchmarking: Comparing performance over time and against industry norms

January 2010 | Departments | By Drs. John Foltz and Christine Wilson

Many of us have a bit of a competitive streak in us — whether it is pitting ourselves against some friends in a friendly game of cards, hitting the links on the local golf course with some acquaintances, bowling at the alley on league night or cheering for our favorite NFL team in the playoffs. We like to compare and compete against others — in fact, this is the psychological basis of the free-market system: Competition will best serve the needs of society.

A useful and productive method...

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NGFA Annual Convention Preview

January 2010 | Special Report | By Jackie Roembke

Members will descend upon Maui, Hawaii, for the NGFA’s 114th Annual Convention, held March 3-5, 2010 at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. The NGFA convention again will feature a high-level, business-focused program featuring top policymakers, substantive open forums and outstanding general sessions exploring the most important issues facing the industry in the year ahead. These convention sessions will provide information you need to strategically position your business for success.

“The NGFA...

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Thank you and goodbye

January 2010 | Departments |

This is my last column as editor of FEED & GRAIN magazine. There, I said it and wrote it down on paper, so it must be real.

Now, faced with the unenviable task of saying goodbye to a job that I have truly loved, I find myself at a loss for words (for those who know me, you know how hard a feat that must be). But after looking at all I’ve experienced in the past three and a half years, I think the better path to “goodbye” is found by saying, “thank you.”

First, I’d like to thank those staff...

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Legal Q&A: Get on top of new tax tools for 2010

January 2010 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty

Many of the tax tools grain and feed facilities have employed over the past few years expire in 2010, which could lead to challenging times ahead for facility managers and their accounting and legal teams. In this issue, FEED & GRAIN visits with Adam Thimmesch of Faegre & Benson LLP to help us bid adieu to the old rules and say hello to new opportunities for those seeking tax relief in 2010 and beyond.

Feed & Grain: With the uneven economy of the last few years, certain programs were...

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Exploring the needs and desires of your customers

January 2010 | Departments | By Drs. Joan Fulton, Maud Roucan-Kane, Corinne Alexander and John Foltz

There is no doubt that the past year has been one of challenging times for all businesses and your feed and grain business is no exception. You may be tempted to move into “survival mode” in times like this, but now is the very time to be proactive, adapt your business to the needs of your customers before your competitors do, and ultimately you will be more profitable. Your customers’ needs and desires are changing and an excellent strategy is to actively explore these. In this column,...

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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 View |

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 View |

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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