Hello, my name is Morgan McCarthy, and I recently graduated from Southeast Missouri State University this past December while studying Agribusiness. I am from a small, rural community in Monroe County known as Valmeyer, IL. I am extremely grateful to be one of the 2020 GFAI Scholarship Recipients as it has not only helped me financially, but it has also expanded my understanding of the grain and feed industry in our state. I had the privilege of shadowing several individuals at CGB, Inc. in Scott City, MO. I was already slightly familiar with the company and this location because I worked part-time for them during my junior year of college.
My first two days at CGB I job shadowed one of their grain merchandisers and fellow SEMO alum: Lenice Jensen. Lenice was extremely kind to me as I was trying to pick her brain about her roll at CGB. She explained to me how her career started with a grain merchandising internship with CGB when she was in college. She absolutely loved her experience and decided to accept a full-time merchandising role not long after her internship. She has been a merchandiser for CGB for about seven years now. I started off by asking Lenice what she does during the middle of December. She explained to me that she receives a lot of calls from her growers who are wanting to sell their grain that they have been storing in their bins. During this time, she also calls her growers to get an idea of how many acres they want to plant for the 2021 growing season. She also purchases new crop for 2021 from her growers who are ready to sell. The main crops that Scott City takes and the merchandisers purchase are corn, soybeans, wheat, and a little milo. Lenice said that the main contracts she works with are priced/cash contracts, basis only contracts, and futures only contracts. This time of year, she was also promoting CGB’s PMP (Professional Managed Pricing) Program which is a grain selling program where marketing professionals determine the best marketing strategy for growers. To participate in this program, growers agree to a contract that states they must pay CGB a certain fee per bushel that is put into this PMP program. Lenice said that growers normally put a percentage of their new crop in this program opposed to putting all of their future bushels in it. I was so grateful to learn from Lenice for two whole days to soak up as much as I could since I can see myself becoming a grain merchandiser one day.
My second two days at CGB in Scott City, MO I had the privilege to learn more about the operations side of the business. I had a discussion with Rick Loker who is the location manager for Scott City and Cape Girardeau. Rick has been with CGB for 44 years! He had worked for several different locations within the company including Cahokia, IL, which is not far from my hometown. When I arrived, Rick was finalizing paperwork from the safety audit the location had the day before. They normally have two safety audits a year to make sure that everyone is complying to set safety regulations. Rick later explained to me how Scott City normally loads 120 barges in a year, and they can do about three per day during fall harvest. However, 2019-2020 did not meet that average because their loading tower required major maintenance and was inoperable during the first few months of 2020 while it was being worked on. All the grain that CGB sends down the Mississippi eventually ends up in Convent, LA, which is where their headquarters reside. From there the grain is loaded onto a vessel and sent to Japan. Scott City also has about 350,000 bushels of storage space to store grain before it gets loaded onto a barge. Rick has a ton of responsibilities including the safety of his employees, loading barges efficiently, determining when he needs to load a barge to free up storage space, and much more.
The day after I shadowed Rick, I shadowed Tripp Elliot. He is a group location manager who oversees three locations: Scott City, Cape Girardeau, and Bird’s Point, MO. The location managers for those three locations, including Rick, look to Tripp when issues arise and if they have questions that need to be answered. So, Tripp has a huge number of responsibilities as well. A few of them include creating daily position reports that show how much grain they have on hand and ordering parts that need replacing in the elevator. Later in the day I noticed that Tripp asked the three grain buyers at Scott City if they would be able to have their growers deliver soybeans to the elevator because he needed to fill a barge that was scheduled to come. Tripp later explained to me that he has to deal with grain quality issues when they come up. He said that poor grain quality can become a major issue if it is not addressed properly. A couple of the main quality issues he sometimes has to deal with are moisture and heat damage. He recently had to deal with a strange odor that was coming from the soybeans they had on hand. He believed the COFO was coming from treating the stored soybeans for insects.
I am extremely grateful for the experiences that the GFAI has given me, including the monetary award, the immersion tour, and my job shadowing days.
My name is Kyler Masching and I am from Cabery, Illinois. I have grown up surrounded by agriculture and when deciding what to pursue a degree in, I knew I wanted agriculture at the core of my studies. Currently, I am a sophomore at the University of Illinois studying Agribusiness: Markets and Management with a minor in Crop and Soil Management. I was blessed to of been chosen as one of the recipients into the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Scholarship Program. Ever since being selected as a recipient into the Grain and Feed Scholarship Program, I was looking forward to attending the Grain and Feed Industry Immersion Tour. I enjoyed all of the tours we were able to go on and I feel I learned something new at each destination we toured. A few of the tours that really stuck out to me were the Peoria Lock and Dam, Marquis Energy, and Zimmerman Feed and Grain. The tour we were able to have of the Peoria Lock and Dam was very interesting as we saw what a drained lock and dam looks like. The lead engineer explained how vital these locks and dams are to the Midwest economy, especially to the agriculture industry and the repairs being made over the summer had taken years to plan in order to be completed as efficiently as possible. The tour of Marquis Energy was very interesting because Marquis Energy is one of the biggest ethanol plants in the world. It was remarkable to listen to the number of bushels of corn used every day at the plant in order to produce ethanol. Finally, our last stop on the tour was of Zimmerman Feed and Grain. We were able to observe all that goes into making hog feed and how careful the feed mill has to be when making feed.
Apart from the Industry Immersion Tour, I really enjoyed being paired with Consolidated Grain and Barge in Dwight, IL. This was a great 2-day job shadow as on the first day I was able to observe the grain merchandizers in the office and they explained to me where their purchasing area is and how they determine what basis to set for their grain based upon the grain’s end destination. I was able to sit in on a container marketing call and was explained why there is a container shortage in the agriculture industry in the United States and the complications that are included with that. While in the office, I learned about the different pricing programs CGB offers and then explained how these programs operate. On the second day of my job shadow, I was able to get a tour of the operations side of the grain elevator. This was very fascinating as I toured the flat storage building on site that holds 2.2 million bushels of grain. I want to thank Larry, Kevin, Sam, Hailey, and Mark for taking the time to give me a great 2-day job shadow. I am excited about my next blog post to share more about my job shadow experience!