Hello again! I was able to attend the trade show and annual meeting this year in St. Louis and it was amazing experience. At the trade show I got to meet new people in the grain industry and talk to them about their experiences and got to see familiar faces I got to meet this summer while on the Industry Immersion Tour.
My first day job shadowing this spring, I shadowed Todd Farris, Paul Crombie, and Cindy Springer. I learned different things from each person. I first started the day with Todd Farris learning about future settlements and how to check them and make sure they are put into the computer program correctly. I learned that you want to hedge contracts for the time you plan to ship the grain, so you don’t have to worry about rolling contracts. We also talked about the market. When there is a carry (spread is negative) in the market that means you should hold your grain or store it. When the market is inverted (spread is positive) it means grain is needed right then. In Mt. Pulaski they were shipping grain out, so I got to see trucks get weighed in and out and watched them test grain. Then I went to the Elkhart office where I spent time with Paul Crombie learning about merchandising of grain. I found this very interesting. When a farmer sells grain to the elevator, they hedge in the futures market. He said, “merchandising is about relationships.” When he does bid for Elkhart Grain Company, he is trying to give the customer the best price for their grain by looking at several different place’s prices. An elevator is a hedger in the market not a speculator trying to make money in the futures market. Hedger use the futures market to reduce risk. I learned about what it means to mark to market, meaning you bring the grain to market and price it for what it is worth today. Then I also talked with Cindy Springer where she does accounting and we talked about some year-end information and how she gets ready and prepares it. I also got to learn more about mark to market with Cindy. While in Elkhart they were receiving grain from off the farm, so grain was coming in. I watched them weigh the trucks in sample the grain and weigh the trucks out.
The second day I shadowed Rick Aylesworth and talked about safety and what he does day to day. Safety is very important and needs to be taken seriously in the grain industry, so no accidents happen. We first started by looking over the employee manuals with OSHA safety requirements with training and each employee signs off on it, which is put in a binder and kept in the office. The OSHA 300 logs are annual reports that tells total hours for employees per location. That report also is used to fill out year-end reports and any injuries during the year which they post these reports per location in February to April. Every week on Fridays they do weekly plant inspections where the outside guys inspect all the locations by a checklist to point out any issues that can be addressed in the following week and are kept in a binder for 3 years. He also does end of the month measurements, enters them into a state software program telling the amount of grain measured in each bin per location. Some day-to-day things he also does is weigh outbound trucks in and out and inspect the grain. When a truck returns, he enters the ticket on the shipping record log and into the computer. When a ticket is entered into the computer then it is applied to a current contract open. The day I was shadowing they were shipping corn and soybeans to Decatur and Jacksonville. Also, they take phone calls from farmers for pricing grain that is in storage and pricing future contracts for the fall. They also accept offers on grain if the price the farmer wants would happen to hit in the overnight market, then the price would be locked in, and the farmer would get that price. He also talked about how he figures daily loads on what is remaining to ship and how much is currently remaining on the contracts.
I would like to thank the Grain & Feed Association of Illinois and Elkhart Grain Company for these opportunities!
Grain & Feed Association of Illinois
3521 Hollis Dr.