Summer brings opportunities to show people where food comes from
About 10 years ago, I volunteered to (OK, was roped into) help run our local dairy breakfast. I’m still involved because I enjoy working with other volunteers and seeing non-ag people witness what happens on a dairy farm. I also help our county and a neighboring county host a pork chop dinner to showcase local pork production and feed hundreds of people who don’t have a farm background. These events, plus all of the county fairs with livestock shows and food from producer associations, are great exposure for agriculture — and part of what make summer great!
Still, I wonder if most consumers care about the process of planting seed, manufacturing feed, breeding and raising livestock, all to ensure there is high-quality, safe, tasty meat in their local grocery store.
In the early ’80s, a friend told me about seeing an interview with a shopper at a Chicago grocery store. The interviewer asked the shopper if she was aware of all the farm foreclosures. Her response was “I can’t help what’s going on there. Besides, I get my meat at the grocery store.”
I’m sure today more people know where food comes from. But do many realize that retail pork prices have increased because a disease is and has been killing about 100,000 pigs every week, leading to decreased supplies and higher prices? Yes, some producers are making a lot of money right now — but were in the red just a year ago. Those hit hardest by PEDv will struggle, while researchers continue to search for answers as to how the disease reached the U.S. and how we can stop its spread.
Most consumers see record beef prices. I doubt, though, that many could tie it back to herd liquidation forced by the 2011 drought. They may never be able to understand the three years of impact on lives and livelihoods in the beef industry that increased the cost of their burger.
In the feed and grain industry, we’re seeing futures drop with favorable weather and with China’s cutback in purchases of DDGs. Fortunately, we understand how grain, livestock and so many other aspects of agriculture will cycle. We’ve seen it and lived it before. We know how to operate, how to be agile, and how to work our way through ups and downs.
Which is why, despite a few clouds on the horizon, summer is a great time to enjoy the food we help put on the world’s table. Working at the foundation of the world’s food chain, with all its heartaches and rewards, is a good place to be!
With the establishment of its Information Technology Innovation Award, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), in partnership with AgGateway and Feed & Grain magazine, recognizes leading feed and grain industry companies that incorporate new, advanced technologies in their routine business practices to help meet the demand of a rapidly developing world population.
Some folks may argue that superior customer service might be more important for retail stores, rather than a business like a grain elevator or feed mill. But it can make a difference in the competitive feed and grain industry — for the very reason that it is competitive. You do have competitors, and attracting and keeping more business is a desirable strategy.
Though known for its inclement weather and dairy production, according to the USDA’s Crop Production Summary for 2013, Wisconsin was ninth in corn production and 15th in soybean production, despite having a wet harvest season. Looking at what the members of Landmark Services Cooperative needed now, and looking forward to what they will need in the future, the co-op built a new grain facility in Fall River, WI, to give them plenty of speed, space and markets — everything a farmer needs to grow....
Whether preparing to speak to an audience of five or 500, to employees or to the local zoning board, these tips can help you quickly prepare, and confidently deliver, a focused presentation sure to succeed