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,...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

Nincompoops & Stick-in-the-Muds: Dealing with Difficult People

August/September 2009 | Departments | Dr. John Foltz & Dr. Christine Wilson

Love your job but sometimes really dislike dealing with some of the people you work with? Trust us, you are not alone. In fact as a manager and leader in your feed and grain business, your job heavily involves dealing with people — your subordinate employees, other managers and co-workers, customers, and others. Some people are always pleasant, easy and enjoyable to work with, but as you well know, often you will find some very difficult people at work. As a manager, you are much like an...

[Read More]

Navigating a course through coarse particulate matter regulations

August/September 2009 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dropped its proposal to exempt agricultural sources from requirements to implement control systems to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for coarse particulate matter (PM), these sources remain exposed to further EPA regulation under the auspices of the Clean Air Act.

In this issue’s Legal Q&A, Feed & Grain visits with Eric Triplett of Faegre & Benson LLP to help lend some clarity to the potential impact the EPA’s action...

[Read More]

Makin Money

August/September 2009 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

It’s a crisp morning with a hint of autumn in the air. Mike pulls up to the elevator in his pickup and shuts off the engine, pausing before climbing out to open the office and start another harvest day. As the trucks and wagons begin to arrive and farmers stop in for some morning coffee, Mike sits in his office looking over the year-to-date financials. Volume looks promising — he expects local crops will overrun the capacity of area elevators this harvest — but Mike wishes the fiscal year...

[Read More]

Rootworm Research Leads to Synthetic Dye Alternative

August/September 2009 | Departments | By Elise Schafer

After years of breeding corn in an effort to discover host plant resistance, a husband and wife research team bred a unique purple maize with potential applications for the feed and food sectors.

Many of today’s commonly used household appliances, medications, and even foods were discovered by accident. The camera, microwave, potato chips and penicillin are a few examples of everyday products that researchers, doctors and inventors stumbled upon while aiming to create something entirely...

[Read More]

Focus on Biofuels: DDGS Heads East

June/July 2009 | Departments | By Elise Schafer

A cooperation agreement between the U.S. Grains Council and a Chinese dairy association has expanded the U.S. DDGS market eastward, where the potential for growth is enormous.

The U.S. Grains Council is helping to increase exports of U.S. dried distillers grains with soluables (DDGS), a co-product of the ethanol industry, through its cooperation program with dairies along China's coastline. On March 10, 2009, the USGC signed a cooperation agreement with the Guangdong Provincial Dairy...

[Read More]

Managing Feed-Related Claims

June/July 2009 | Departments | By Gerry Whitty, Todd Langel and Jacob Bylund

The formulation and manufacture of feed is an increasingly complex science-based process. As is the case with food products for human consumption, great care is taken by feed suppliers to ensure that a high-quality and safe product is delivered to the customer. The business of marketing feed and maintaining client relationships is also increasingly complex and competitive.

As animal agriculture consolidates, and producers generally become larger, the size of individual customer accounts...

[Read More]

Time Manange It or It Will Manage You

June/July 2009 | Departments | Drs. John Foltz & Joan Fulton

Today's economy is forcing most of us to try to do more with less. One resource that managers definitely do not have more of is time. Your work week — whatever it is — sometimes 60 hours or more — is a finite resource. Time is kind of like land: "They're not making any more of it!" So how do you utilize this precious commodity more efficiently?

In this issue we delve into effective time management. While we know there have been many books, seminars, websites and studies devoted to time...

[Read More]

Swaps, Spreads and Safety Nets

June/July 2009 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

Last year took the world's financial markets to the brink. Trillions of dollars of real estate transactions, OTC credit swaps and other derivatives couldn't be valued; managers didn't know what their portfolios were worth, or how to exit their positions.

Grain merchandisers had it easy by comparison. Deep, liquid futures markets let you quickly and easily lay off price and spread risk. Everything is marked to market daily for complete transparency. Hedges are exchange-cleared, where the...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

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...

[Read More]

Page 10 of 12 pages ‹ First  < 8 9 10 11 12 >