I was surfing the U.S. News and World Report website (www.usnews.com) the other day, and a story about the NCAA college basketball tournament caught my eye. As I write this column, the Sweet 16 is about to commence and all people can talk about is the condition of their “bracket” and how many teams they still have in the title hunt.
One part of the story that intrigued me was this: The Nevada Gaming Commission estimates the legal amount wagered on the tournament to be somewhere between $80 and $90 million. Pretty impressive! What really boggled my mind, however, is that a noted sports gambling analyst estimates more than $7 billion is illegally wagered on brackets from pools distributed among friends and co-workers, online betting outlets and bookies. The NCAA itself estimates that one in 10 Americans will complete brackets. That got me to thinking. Why not use “bracketology” to rebuild our transportation infrastructure?
Create a bracket made up of critical projects, each project would be represented by a team in the tournament. When a team wins, that project moves on as well. The last project standing then gets a cut of the billions generated by pools and other ill-gotten booty to make necessary repairs.
Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but since legal gambling and state-run lotteries are little more than regressive taxation anyway, what’s the difference? Besides, a match-up between “Upper Mississippi locks and dams” vs. “Northern Montana corridor rail repair” just might generate a lot of interest. Plus, all games could be covered live on DTN, thus providing unlimited sponsorship opportunities — “let’s break now for the FEED & GRAIN game changing play of the day!”
My point is this: Relying on government programs probably won’t solve all our problems. Market knowledge, building relationships, hard work and sound management is where the smart money has best served our industry.
Nevertheless, just imagine what could be accomplished if a nation that can muster $7+ billion in a three-week span every March, put its focus and resources on something more constructive and vital to our nation’s future.
Grain, feed and seed facilities are often faced with a dirty situation when designing dust collection for rail car and truck dump pits. Designing a dump pit with good dust collection in mind not only addresses the dirty situation, but can save you operational time and money.
Point-of-use dust collectors capture nuisance dust while keeping product with the grain stream.
We’ve all seen the headlines across social media about the potential for Cuban Cigars to be legalized. That’s because in December 2014, President Obama said the U.S. would soon re-establish relations with Cuba nearly 55 years after the trade embargo was enacted
Industrial facilities that use rail as a part of their operation move railcars by a variety of motive power types. No matter what type of motive power is used, applicable rail operating safety rules and procedures should be followed. Applying up-to-date rules and procedures to rail operations will enhance employee safety and facility efficiencies.
Having automated technology running operations in facilities has been an industry standard in the feed industry for years, and the grain industry is rapidly catching up. The advantages of the technology are numerous and evolving. Automation improves equipment life expectancy, employee safety and productivity, facility efficiency and ultimately profitability.
Feed & Grain is proud to announce the winners of its 2014 Harvest Photo Contest. Entries poured in from December 2014 until this February showcasing our readers’ ability to manage a record crop — some with limited access to rail or other shipping options. Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions!
The year 2014 ended as a mixed bag on the transportation front. Historically poor railroad performance in the Northern Plains and record-high costs for railcars were detrimental to many grain shippers. But on the bright side, Congress’ passage of the Waterways Resources Reform and Development Act recognized the importance of maintaining vital waterways like the Mississippi River.
In comparison to many transactions in the business world, grain and feed ingredient purchase and sale transactions are fairly informal. In many respects, grain and ingredient trades remain relatively straightforward and largely result from casual telephone conversations followed by a short written confirmation.