Property Expansion Considerations

October/November 2012 | Departments | By Gretchen Miller Busch and Treasa J. Burke

It’s a challenge with which every operation struggles: when to expand facilities to accommodate your growing business, and how to accomplish that expansion in a way that satisfies your company’s unique needs, goals and issues. Businesses within and supporting our nation’s agricultural industry, regardless of their sectors, face unique expansion considerations, such as varying space requirements with the passing of seasons, the need for neighboring property and the goal of preventing...

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Follow the Signals

August/September 2012 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

In our last issue, elevator owner Mike was reassuring his son Jason that even in severe drought years such as 2012 there are ways to make money. Mike reminded Jason to “remember Granddad’s words: Don’t panic; learn to respect market signals.”

Crops are small and demand must be curtailed. Market signals in 2012 crop are already loud and clear: Corn almost doubled in price since the fall of 2011; soybeans went more than twice as high, almost to $18. Futures spreads in corn and soybeans range...

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Meeting Your Information Needs

August/September 2012 | Departments | By Arlette Sambs

Welcome to our October/November issue! Thank you for investing time during this busy season to pick up, page through and read Feed & Grain magazine. 

The Feed & Grain team works diligently to make sure the products we deliver meet your needs. For example, we've introduced new features to the magazine in response to your evolving needs and preferences, including our Digital Table of Contents (pg. 4) and our recurring Focus on Technology section.

Additionally, we are always updating and...

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Educating Tomorrows Managers

August/September 2012 | Departments | By Jay Akridge and John Foltz

Where will we find our next generation of agribusiness managers? How can we make sure they have the preparation they need to be successful? What role should agribusiness play in answering these questions? As we look to the future, these are some pretty important questions that deserve some serious thought by everyone interested in the future of agriculture. Even though answering them won’t necessarily help a feed and grain firm in the short run, they are critical questions for the...

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Why Least Cost Is the Best Value

August/September 2012 | Departments | By Mark J. Carpenter and Todd P. Langel

Traditional animal feed formulation is premised on finding the lowest-cost ration that obtains the desired level of performance. Increasingly, computer software programs that formulate animal feed employ what is often referred to as a “least cost” formulation system. This has been the case for quite some time. To the average person engaged in the animal feed industry, least cost formulation is not controversial. But to those unfamiliar with production agriculture, least cost formulation...

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Lessons Learned

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

I’m never going fishing again — costs me too much money.” Mike tosses his fishing cap onto the file cabinet and turns to Jason, his youngest son and newest employee. “Now tell me again, what happened the past two weeks? How did the U.S. corn yield drop from 166 to 146? I go where there’s no Internet and no cell phone service and 12% of the corn crop vanishes before they even do field surveys? And you say it’s getting worse?”

Jason runs his hand through his hair and hands Mike a printout:...

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Building a Safety Culture

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Julie Waltz

In general, feed and grain companies conduct operations in a way that promotes “production first and safety second”. Even the notion of putting “safety first” does not by itself promote a safe workplace. Safety is an attitude and should not be thought of as “first" or "second,” but should be integrated into all thought processes throughout a business.

Undoubtedly, the most influential source of a company’s safety culture is the front line supervisor or location manager due to their daily...

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Leading Change in Your Feed and Grain Business

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Drs. Christine Wilson and John Foltz

John F. Kennedy said, Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. Think about that. How does this outlook fit with your feed and grain business? What changes might you need to make to keep your business competitive or on-track for the future? It is an understatement to say that in the past 100 years (even in the last 20!), we have experienced dramatic changes in production, technology, world trade, economics, and government...

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When OSHA Comes Knockin

June/July 2012 | Departments | By Eric J. Conn and Lindsay A. Smith

As Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” No truer words could be said to employers in the grain industry today about OSHA inspections. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, summed up OSHA’s enforcement philosophy during her swearing in, when she stated: “There is a new sheriff in town. Make no mistake about it, the Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business. We’re serious. We’re very serious.” OSHA has certainly lived up to...

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Nonconformity With Delivery Obligations Under NGFA Trade Rules

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Todd Langel

As anyone involved in the grain or feed ingredient business knows, managing the flow of commodities between producers, handlers and end users requires constant attention to ensure that the timing and quality of commodity deliveries meets customer expectations. Market volatility, thin margins, high working capital requirements, and constant efforts to reduce transaction costs translate into a system in which a single failed delivery can have devastating impacts on overall profitability....

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Risk Management Goes to Grad School

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Diana Klemme

Before 1848 farmers brought wagons of grain to Chicago and took the price a buyer offered or returned home. Some opted to dump their grain in the Lake when prices got too cheap. The system was easy, but not very useful. The 1848 launch of the CBOT introduced forward cash prices, which evolved over the years into standardized ag futures contracts at Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis. Managing risk became more complex but the results were worth the effort for farmers, as well as for...

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Technology Takeover

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Arlette Sambs

I recently attended my daughter’s FFA awards banquet at a local high school where she teaches agriculture. Like most kids, everyone of the students had their cell phones in their hands, typing away. After a failed attempt to get the kids to practice one more time before the event started, the teachers confiscated all of the phones from the kids on stage — and it was like taking one of their arms away to give them up. The awards ceremony went off without any interruptions, at least no one...

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Management Implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act

April/May 2012 | Departments | By Jeff Kronenberg, Dr. John Foltz and Dr. Joan Fulton

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law a little over a year ago — on January 4, 2011. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is the “most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.” Registration under this new law is not only required of manufacturers of human food products — but also pet food and animal feed...

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If Selling Is In Your Future Move Quickly

April/May 2012 | Departments | By George Spilka

There are many reasons why middle market owners wanting to sell their companies during the next ten years should consummate a sale no later than 2014, preferably sooner. Although most points discussed in this article pertain with equal relevance to all companies regardless of size, the article is primarily directed at middle market companies, which are firms with transaction values between $5 and $250 million.

I am more optimistic about the prospects for the short and intermediate-term...

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Tying The Islands Of Automation Together

February/March 2012 | Departments | By Jason Grahek

As automation continues to grow in grain storage facilities, it can be challenging — for many reasons — to implement the right automation plan. Many facilities have operated for years with existing infrastructure and disparate control systems from days of the past, such as pushbuttons, switches and lights.

Typically, automation systems grow little by little over time and become a hybrid of antiquated hardwired controls along with programmable logic controllers and human machine interfaces....

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