Sweeping Changes Come to OSHA’s Sweep Auger Enforcement

January 2013 | Feature | By Amanda R. Strainis-Walker and Eric J. Conn

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) roller coaster ride of enforcement policy in connection to sweep augers and bin entry has taken another major turn.

After a recent string of confusing interpretation letters issued by OSHA effectively banned the practice of employees working with sweep augers inside of grain bins without nullifying the equipment’s functionality by requiring the auger to be guarded on all sides, a ground-breaking settlement of an OSHA case against an...

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Cash Grain Observations

January 2013 | Feature | By Cody Bills

The 2012-13 growing season and marketing year will go down in history as a year of extremes. The American farmer experienced the worst drought in a half century and a second straight year of sharp price increases for grains. Along with these higher prices came higher volatility, whipsawing grain prices and straining margin accounts; and, after two years of disappointing production, basis have ratcheted up yet again to historic levels.

Not only did the drought affect how much grain was...

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41st Country Elevator Conference Adjourns

October/November 2012 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

Just as the first hints of frigid winter weather began hitting the Corn Belt, more than 600 country elevator managers and front-line employees traveled to Omaha, NE, for the 41st edition of the National Grain & Feed Association’s (NGFA) Country Elevator Conference and Trade Show.

The event, held Dec. 9-11, featured a day and a half of seminar sessions as well a full trade show featuring more than 100 exhibitors. The over arching theme of the conference program focused on preparing...

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Aflatoxin Attacks

October/November 2012 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

The summer of 2012 was one for the books! Record-breaking high temperatures in much of the Corn Belt and the Western Plains coupled with intense drought had a detrimental impact on the corn crop harvested late in the summer and into the fall. The extended dry heat spell —especially the lack of night-time temperature drops — created the perfect breeding ground for mold, leading to the most widespread outbreak of aflatoxin in recent history.

Levels of aflatoxin, a carcinogenic, naturally...

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International Production and Processing Expo Preview

October/November 2012 | Feature | Elise Schafer

The inaugural year of the International Production and Processing Expo is finally upon us. The trade show, consisting of the International Feed Expo, the International Poultry Expo and the International Meat Expo, will commence not only with an updated name, but with a new host partner — the American Meat Institute — and new educational and networking opportunities for attendees from all three industries.

Taking place from Jan. 28-30 at the Georgia World Congress in Atlanta, GA, the 2013...

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OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program

October/November 2012 | Feature | By Eric J. Conn and Lindsay Smith

In June of 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) rolled-out an enforcement initiative called the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (“SVEP” or the “Program”). The stated intent of the Program is for OSHA to focus more of its enforcement resources and energy on employers whom the Agency believes are recalcitrant or indifferent to their obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”). Generally speaking, OSHA qualifies employers as “severe...

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NGFA Country Elevator to Focus on Election’s Impact on Industry

August/September 2012 | Feature |

The most anticipated industry event for country elevator and feed manufacturing professionals is right around the corner. The National Grain and Feed Association's 41st annual Country Elevator Conference and Trade Show will take place Dec. 9-11 at the Hilton Omaha/CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE.

As usual, the event's agenda will provide just the right mix of politicial commentary and grain handling and merchandising tips, delivered by high profile and informative speakers. With the...

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Are You Covered?

June/July 2012 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

In today's competitive environment, with increasing pressure on production, efficiency, and margins, the role of insurance can easily be overlooked by agribusinesses. Afterall, isn't the goal to never have to use it?

Leadership and management may be content to assume they have enough coverage with their existing policies, and unfortunately short-comings don't become apparant until it's too late. Feed & Grain sat down with risk management and property/casualty experts from some of the top...

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Food Defense: Secure Your Company’s Assets_

June/July 2012 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has prompted grain handlers and feed manufacturers to adopt a proactive approach in preventing food borne contamination. Pathogens and sanitation concerns aside, one fundamental consideration to any food safety or HACCP plan must take biosecurity into consideration, i.e. the intentional or unintentional contamination foodstuffs by internal or external entities.

"Anyone who has access to the food supply is anyone who has access to it along the supply...

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Feed Industry Demands Ethanol Policy Flexibility

June/July 2012 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

Phil Greene of Foster Farms gave his testimony on behalf of AFIA in September 2011. Since then with ethanol they've removed the tariff and the subsidies but they maintained the mandates and the situations we were concerned with last year as far as feed shortages, it occurred last year making it a very difficult year for the livestock industry, but this year looks like it'll be a total disaster for the livestock industry.

It's this dependency we have, the drought is a naturally occurring...

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Feed Industry Investigates Future Challenges

April/May 2012 | Feature | By Elise Schafer

By the year 2050, the United Nations projects the world's population will swell to 9 billion. That's 2 billion more people's mouths to feed than there are today. Sustaining the population at that level will put more strain on agriculture than ever before, but it's a challenge that today's feed industry is already preparing to address.

With up to a $50,000 grant from the Institute for Feed Education & Research (IFEEDER), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has commissioned a study...

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How to Improve Grain Quality Through Hazard Prevention

April/May 2012 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

Depending on the context of the discussion, "grain quality" has many connotations. From moisture content to density, the variables dictating the perception of grain quality hinges on measurements the specifications outlined in a customer contract and, ultimately how the commodity will be consumed. Aside from the physical and intrinsic characteristics of the lot, the management of grain sanitation yields its own set of allowances and penalties in today's regulatory environment -...

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Tips for Purchasing Automated Palletizing Systems

April/May 2012 | Feature | By Jackie Roembke

Feed mills of all sizes have long benefitted from the efficiencies offered by automated palletizing systems, yet many whom have not adopted the technology may be unaware of how far robotic systems have evolved in the last decade.

“I think some consumers still have the mindset that robots are too complex, but now 99% of the time any issues can be resolved with a phone call,” says Phil Wright of Icon Robotics, an integrator and manufacturer of palletizing and packaging systems, a division of...

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