Uncharted Territory

October/November 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

After MF Global's bankruptcy and the subsequent revelation it had misused customers funds, the grain industry was left reeling from frozen accounts and the lost confidence of its customers during the last quarter of 2011. With Senate hearings underway at the moment and the near-certain uncovering of additional information on the case, who knows what will transpire in the near future, much less in the months to come.

 I'm writing this column a day after the National Grain & Feed...

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Harvest 2011’s Winners and Losers

August/September 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

By the time this issue hits the streets, the 2011 harvest will be in full swing. Elevators in some areas will take in record volumes; others, however, will experience the diminished returns resulting from Mother Nature's bipolar regional spring and summer weather. With the numbers from the USDA's questionably optimistic June Crop Report dramatically dropping from its original estimates, the commodity market has mirrored this uncertainty.

By today's estimate, the national average corn yield...

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Export Markets Offer a Silver Lining

June/July 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Drought conditions in the Southwest rival the dust bowl of the 1930s. There is good news about the hard red winter wheat in these drought stricken regions. Yields will be lower, with projections citing a drop of 22% from last year, but the loss in volume will be made up for by interest in export markets. 

Though the U.S. has experienced record wheat yields in previous years, the protein quality wasn't there, requiring handlers to blend to achieve the levels in demand. This year, as lack of...

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Selling Your Company? How To Obtain a Premium Price

June/July 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

For one reason or another, companies of all sizes maybe looking to get out of the grain handling or feed manufacturing business. George Spilka, president of George Spilka and Associates, a national investment banking firm based in Pittsburgh specializing in middle market, closely-held corporations, offers Feed and Grain readers his advice for getting the right price for your business. 

Current Deal Pricing

Deal pricing is making strides to return to normal levels and middle market deal...

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Stormy Harvest Ahead?

April/May 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Tornado outbreaks and epic flooding, the spring of 2011 will be remember as one of the most destructive and deadly in recent history. Add less-than-ideal temperatures, and agriculture is sent reeling, trying to navigate the unpredictable and attempting to catch-up with delayed planting. The Northeast and central United States have endured their wettest late winter and early spring on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. As of mid-May, 63% of the nation's corn was...

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Feed & Grain Turns 50

February/March 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

When Feed, Grain and Farm Equipment published its first issue in 1961, the world was a very different place. John F. Kennedy was in the thick of the Civil Rights movement. Mainframe computer systems took up entire floors of office buildings and held less memory than a common Flash Drive. Instant communication was limited to telephones and telegraphs, and the primary form of written communication was made possible by a 4 cent postage stamp. Due to advancements in technology and medicine,...

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Attitude Impacts Efficiency

January 2011 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Among the many thought-provoking educational sessions at the International Feed Expo, Leland McKinney's presentation "Energy Conservation Tips for Your Feed Mill" stood out above the rest. While McKinney, an associate professor of grain science and industry at Kansas State, offered up very practical advice for maximizing energy consumption and increasing savings within a feed mill, the real message I walked away with had little to do with pipe insulation or the repair of compressed air...

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The tide also rises

October/November 2010 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Happy 2011! As we all gladly welcome this new year of opportunity, we as an industry have to be cognizant of political and market trends — both domestically and abroad — to be able to capitalize on and maintain agriculture's momentum.

In early December I attended my first National Feed & Grain Association's Annual Country Elevator Conference. The dynamic and informative line-up of speakers touched on everything from hot-button regulatory issues to the financing tools; however, there seemed...

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Seize the day, plan for tomorrow

October/November 2010 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Showcase 2011 marks two milestones: The beginning of a new year of opportunities and Feed & Grain's 50th anniversary. Over the course of our tenure many innovations have graced the pages of this magazine — and many of you have been with us along the way. For this, many thanks and a promise that we will stay true to our mission of delivering in-depth coverage and insights to the feed, grain and allied processing industries. 

As always, our goal — here and in every issue of Feed & Grain — is...

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Happy Customers Spur Long-Term Success

August/September 2010 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

Excellent customer service requires more than a thank you and a smile. It’s about meeting — and often times, exceeding — expectations before, during and after a transaction. Unfortunately, the rise of technology and innovation has fostered a drive-thru mentality in many of our daily interactions; as a result, we as a society have grown impatient, feeling entitled to instant gratification. For example, equating waiting with poor service. Unconcerned with the reasons behind the...

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Challenge Convention

April/May 2010 | Editors Note | Jackie Roembke

While driving through the empty expanses of Central Illinois, returning to Wisconsin after my visit to Griggsville, IL-based JBS United, Inc., I found the inspiration for this column. Tuned into National Public Radio, the guest speaker noted a Russian proverb: “The tallest stalk of wheat is always the first to get cut down.” I had heard it before; however, on this occasion, it took on a whole new meaning.

In the realm of industry — where there is more at stake than the bruising of an ego —...

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An Editor’s Dilemma

January 2010 | Editors Note |

Prior to becoming the editor of FEED & GRAIN, admittedly, my exposure to agriculture was limited; however, for what I lack in experience, I can offer something equally as valuable: an outsider’s objectivity.

In September, Michael Pollan, the controversial — and highly visible — author of books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and, most recently, Food Rules, spoke to a crowd of roughly 7,000 at the University of Wisconsin. Those in attendance ranged from students to farmers to curious...

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If you want a seat at the table, you’d better bring your chips

October/November 2009 | Editors Note |

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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You will never know unless you ask

August/September 2009 | Editors Note |

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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Treat Yourself Like You’d Treat Your Grain

June/July 2009 | Editors Note |

I’m mad. I know I shouldn’t write when I’m mad, but I am. I’m mad at my friend Phil. Like many of us, Phil was dealing with a lot of stress lately at work. Sensing that the stress was starting to slow him down a little — and wanting a clean bill of health before turkey season and golf season got into full swing — he had some stress tests done, which he passed. But that’s not why I’m mad at him.

A few days after the tests he was at work and started feeling some pains in his arm. Knowing...

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