Mastering grain origination in dynamic markets [Video]

Origination Academy’s Tara Deines emphasizes grower relationships and ongoing education as keys to grain origination success.

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Tara Deines, lead instructor at Origination Academy, shares invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of grain origination. With nearly 15 years of experience, Deines helped develop an online learning library of strategies that emphasize the importance of building long-term relationships with growers, as well as a range of skill-building modules.

Deines said continuous learning and adaptation is vital in an industry marked by shifting market dynamics and technological advancements. Origination Academy offers a technology-powered education solution that allow users to learn at their own pace in bite-sized sessions, on topics related to their current training needs.

Transcription of Feed & Grain Chat interview with Tara Deines, lead instructor, Origination Academy

Elise Schafer, editor, Feed & Grain: Hi, everyone, and welcome to Feed & Grain Chat. I'm your host Elise Schafer, editor of Feed & Grain. This edition of Feed & Grain Chat is brought to you by WATT Global Media and is your source for the latest news, product and equipment information for the grain handling and feed manufacturing industries.

Today, I'm joined on Zoom by Tara Deines, lead instructor for Origination Academy. She's here to share some keys to grain origination success and talk about the value of online training. Hi Tara. Thanks for joining me today.

Tara Deines, lead instructor, Origination Academy Hello, thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here.

Schafer: Now, Tara, you have nearly 15 years of origination experience in the field. Was online training something you wish you had when you started and was that the impetus for starting Origination Academy?

Deines: Yeah, it was something that certainly was not very prevalent. A lot of the training, when I first started in the industry, was everybody traveled to a meeting, you drink from a fire hose over the course of maybe two or three days and learned a lot of information. And that can be tough because it's time away from the office, as well. So, you’re then immediately behind when you're coming back, as well as you take in a lot in a short amount of time.

But then you get back to apply it in the real world and you're struggling to remember or you have more questions now that you've encountered a specific scenario. So there was a lot of thought that went into this online and on-demand library, because it is one of those where you don't have the time out of the office, it's not the one-time learn it all. You can really take it in bite-sized chunks as it happens to be relevant to what you're working on and then revisit things. So, as you try out something, maybe it didn't quite go exactly like you planned and you can reference back to the training, listening to the modules again, and using a lot of the resources that we've built to be available throughout. So it isn't that drink from a fire hose -- it's more of a consistent learning approach that can be much more applicable, so you can hit the ground running.

Schafer: In your experience, what key aspects of grain origination have the most successful originators mastered to reach their full potential?

Deines: I think the biggest thing with grain origination is just bringing value. So that looks a lot of different ways to a lot of different customers or even to a lot of different originators. And so figuring out how you can bring value to a relationship and understanding that not every person is the same. There are different personalities, maybe different needs and wants for different producers, and really figuring out where your expertise is and how you can share that with a grower to bring them value and in turn build that long-term relationship. Because this industry is so relationship focused, that it's not about the individual transaction, it's really about the collective relationship and what you can continue to bring to the table to become an important and vital part of their business.

Schafer: In what ways has the job evolved in the past decade, or how have market conditions changed, making it valuable for even seasoned originators to continue their education?

Deines: I think that's definitely one of the most interesting things is the markets continue to change. Every crop year is different. So learning about origination isn't just a one-time thing. There are always things that are evolving and moving and changing. We've obviously seen a lot of consolidation in this industry over the last 15 years that I've been in industry, which has changed the demands of the grower and the needs of the grower, as well as technology.

For example, right now, what we see the most is there's so much information available to farmers — a lot of free information. The problem is they don't always know what to do with it. So as an originator, maybe your job 15 years ago was just making them aware of what your bid is or what the markets were doing. But now everyone can get that on their phone or get that from any source fairly easily, that they need something different, where it's not just 'What's your bid today?' Or,  'What are you paying, what are the markets doing?' It's more, 'Why are they doing that, what do I do with that information, how do I execute on that?' And so I think that's really evolved over the last 15 years that I've been in the industry and was a big push for us at Origination Academy to help originators understand that things have changed, and how do you change with that and become more influential rather than just sharing information, but also how to help provide that value — bring ideas and share different ways that they can execute, so you can become the preferred relationship that they're going to reach out to to do their business day in and day out.

Schafer: Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights with me today, Tara.

Deines: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Schafer: That's all for today's Feed & Grain Chat. If you'd like to see more videos like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel, sign up for the Industry Watch Daily eNewsletter or go to and search for videos. Thanks for watching and we hope to see you next time!