Grain elevators could have a challenging year due to lower production in 2012. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)
By Carrie Muehling
ST. LOUIS – The Grain and Feed Association celebrated 120 years during its annual meeting in St. Louis.
The gathering included members of more than 300 companies, from grain elevators to equipment companies and brokerage firms. In addition to electing leadership, it is an opportunity for farmers who sit on local cooperative boards to learn more about the regulatory and financial side of the business as they look at what will affect the industry in the year to come.
“The biggest issue right now, I think, has been the lack of production we’ve had this year, and as it ties into that, the quality of the production, the aflatoxin issues and the mycotoxins that we’ve had to deal with,” said Jeff Adkisson, executive director of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. “As we look to this year, it’s going to be a tough year for some of those in the elevator industry, especially Central and Southern Illinois, particularly.”
Without volume to merchandise, the revenue stream will be very limited for some entities. At the same time, Adkisson continues to be amazed by the problem solving and innovation that is happening within the industry. He pointed to new rules regarding sweep augers as an example.
“[Occupational Safety and Health Administration] OSHA said basically we could not be in a bin with a sweep auger running, and seeing some of the innovation that has come out of that situation has been fantastic. We are starting to see some change in OSHA’s opinion on that or in their interpretation, but that’s going to take a little bit of time,” said Adkisson. “But seeing how people have been innovative in that respect is very rewarding and it kind of renews your sense in good old American ingenuity.”
The meeting included a sold out trade show featuring nearly 100 companies with strong support for the grain and feed industry in Illinois.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rita Frazer with the RFD Radio Network contributed to this report.