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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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