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...

[Read More]

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,...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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.

Fortunately, cars come equipped with manuals that contain...

[Read More]

Do You Make the Grade? A Report Card for Your Feed and Grain Business. (Part 1)

January 2008 | Departments | By Dr. John Foltz & Dr. Christine Wilson

Grades are a method of rating performance — most commonly used in our schools, colleges and universities. As university professors, we both find them helpful in ranking the accomplishments of our students. In this month’s column, we propose a report card for your grain and feed business. We suggest a number of areas where as a manager, you can grade your business and we also discuss why these areas are important to your business. We also provide some resources to help you improve your...

[Read More]

Partnering to Enhance the Food Chain

January 2008 | Departments | By Diana Klemme and Jeff Atkinson

The Animal Agriculture Alliance will host its seventh industry-wide Stakeholders Summit April 8 – 9, 2008 at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA. One of the key messages for the day-and-a-half conference, “Animal Welfare: Building Bridges Across the Food Chain,” will advance is the idea that industry-led voluntary approaches are far superior to government-imposed approaches to animal welfare.

Former Congressman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, Charles...

[Read More]

A State of the Union Message for Elevators: Of Canaries and Black Swans

January 2008 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

This market scares me — truly scares me. The last time I sounded a widespread caution like this was early fall 1995 — that should tell you something. Bull markets come and go. Bear markets come and can drag on for years. Explosive markets come far less often but leave their mark for decades. The bull market that began in 2006 is one of those explosive markets that will impact the grain industry for a long time to come. Grain elevators have never needed so much money just to operate, and...

[Read More]

Riding Out the Perfect Storm of 2007: Part II

January 2008 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty

In Part One, featured in our January issue, Feed & Grain looked back at the 2007 corn crop and its effect on wheat and grain sorghum acreage use and production last year, and the prospects for trade in 2008. In Part Two, we take a similar look at barley, soybeans and cottonseed supplies.

As pointed out in the first installment of this two-part series, the 2007 corn crop — all 90+ million acres of it — literally and figuratively, cut an extremely wide swath throughout the agricultural...

[Read More]

Riding Out the ‘Perfect Storm’ of 2007

January 2008 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty

Feed & Grain takes a look back at 2007 and the massive corn crop’s impact on other feed grains. In Part One of this two-part series, we examine how the grain sorghum and wheat markets responded to the challenges and opportunities of last year and what they can look forward to in 2008.

By any measure, 2007 will likely be remembered as the year grain marketing changed forever.

Fueling the metamorphosis — both literally and figuratively — was a 90+ million acre corn crop which received its...

[Read More]

Selling: Where Marketing Meets the Customer

January 2008 | Departments | Drs. Joan Fulton, Jane Anderson & John Foltz

Selling is an integral part of your feed and grain business every day, and we are sure that you have extensive experience with selling. However, when was the last time you thought about your selling approach and identified factors that could improve your sales effectiveness?

In this column we use the four steps of the selling process to help you think about your customers and how to create a more effective relationship — making them more successful and you more profitable.

In the feed and...

[Read More]

Mark to Market: Facts vs. Financial Fantasy

January 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 has wandered into an interesting conversation about subprime mortgages at the coffee shop. And what he hears is enough to make his coffee turn cold.

Mike rolled into the coffee shop parking lot past the crowd of pickups. Inside, farmers were scattered around debating the morning’s news when Mike overheard two of his co-op’s customers...

[Read More]

Page 10 of 10 pages ‹ First  < 8 9 10