November 30, 2014

Gerard Klein Essink, Director, Bridge2Food

Gerard Klein Essink is Director at Bridge2Food, which is located in Bilthoven, The Netherlands. The Bridge2Food company was founded in 2002 to provide research & consultancy services in fast-moving consumer categories. In recent years, international recognition has led to us developing platforms on food category trends such Sports & Performance Nutrition, Healthy Ageing, Healthy & Nutritional Bars, Ingredients with a specific protein focus and on Food Technology for food technology professionals.

What is Bridge2Food and how did it come about?

I have founded Bridge2Food in 2002 as a research and consultancy company. During the last 7 years we have gradually evolved into an insights, personal development and network company. The basis of the company is the large international food value chain network in retail, manufacturing, ingredients and technology.

Why did you see an opportunity here and what are your ultimate goals for Bridge2Food?

I have always loved to accelerate innovation, and connecting and enabling people. Being able to connect the dots and make this faster is fun and rewarding. Sometimes in life you only realise later what the red thread through your work and life is, and I could connect the dots at Bridge2Food. Opportunities are things one sees earlier and faster than another. It is then key to fully embrace them, focus on quality and then just do it. I favour the quote of Michael Kottler: 'it is more important to do what is strategically right than what is immediately profitable'.
The goal of Bridge2Food is to play an important role in the growth of innovation and personal development of companies and professionals in the food industry. We want to be the place where professionals are inspired, can develop personally and grow their networks.

What activities is it carrying out and how might they develop in the future?

We are organising platform meetings with the industries involved in sports and performance nutrition, bars and grains snacks, and healthy ageing, as well as proteins. The protein industry is heavily involved in the areas of global supply & demand, health & nutritional, and technology and new raw material opportunities at our annual Protein Summits. These are relevant platforms for the food, aquaculture, feed, pet food industries. Food proteins courses and a Top Class on protein nutrition are other development platforms.
We foresee opportunities to open up our networks to professionals for further personal development. There are more and more demands on professionals to be more entrepreneurial. Open innovation and working with others across the value chain and industries is important and we can play a role since Bridge2Food has a large network, is known for quality and we have an international position.

What type of companies should support the organisation and what contribution should they make?

We work already together with food manufacturers, ingredient and technology companies, universities and research institutes across the globe. We are very open in the space of proteins to further develop and grow collaborations. We can provide organisations a good platform for access to market, for sharing their ideas, new developments and innovations through our meetings and digital networks, such as LinkedIn, with the larger world of professionals. Or help them to get in touch with the decision makers. These organisations can help us to increase the awareness of our activities and networks and grow it with us. Together we can make te world smaller and better.

Can you explain some of the exciting developments that your activities have highlighted?

We are proud for our role in protein space. At our protein summits new collaborations and innovation projects have started in the pulses and other vegetable protein arena. Large companies like Buhler, Cargill, Nestle working with Pulse Canada and CIGI in Canada on developing new standards. Likewise, we have been instrumental in putting proteins on the international agenda through research and consultancy activities. And each time the personal feedback of professionals on the quality of what we do is most rewarding.

Is this a global organisation or European-based only?

We are based in The Netherlands, yet we operate in the USA, in Europe and also in Asia with activities related to proteins. We also see growth opportunity in Europe and Asia. 

November 28, 2014

Company profile: Symaga

Symaga was created in 1985 by a group of professional experts as a company devoted to the manufacture of silos and livestock equipment. The company possesses modern, totally automated machinery which enables us to manufacture high quality products at a reasonable price.

The company possesses 30,000m2 of buildings and is located on a 300,000m2 plot belonging to the company. Our professionals will advise you on the design and engineering of any project, providing you with suitable information for fast, safe installation. 

Read more HERE.

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28/11/2014: Long, slow trains halt Thunder Bay traffic as grain shipping peaks

Drivers in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, are fuming about long waits at local railway crossings, but will have to stay patient, CBC News reports.

Grain trains are longer, more frequent and moving more slowly this fall.

“The trains that we're moving through Thunder Bay right now will vary from 6000 feet to 12,000 feet in length,” said Jim Feeney, director of public and government affairs for CN Rail.

“The majority will be longer. They'll be 10,000 feet, in that area.”

It means lengthy traffic holdups several times a day, as the effort to move grain into port before the Seaway shuts down for the winter is at its peak, he says. 

Feeney told CBC News the trains travel more slowly - 16km an hour or less - because they are longer and for safety purposes. 

“And pulling into the port, they’re going about ten miles per hour or less, and that’s just a function of the amount of cars that are heading in, it's a function of the design of the yards themselves. It is having an effect, no question.”

Normally, there is one train in and one out each day, he said, but right now there are four daily, each way.

"We've had to use every available outlet for that grain to move, and that's been good for Thunder Bay, for the port, good for CN Rail, good for farmers and for the grain companies who operate the terminals,” Feeney said.

“That being said, we understand that there is an effect on the community itself.”

The delays could last well into December, he added. 

Read the article HERE.

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28/11/2014: Barley helped early Tibetans survive high altitude

A new study suggests early Tibetans' ability to grow barley enabled them to establish permanent settlements at such an extreme altitude in the Himalayas, the Business Standard reports.

Researchers examined pottery, stone artefacts, animal bones, charred plant remains and other signs of human habitation from 53 sites across the northeastern Tibetan Plateau to learn how humans managed to live at high altitudes.

The study by the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge found evidence of periodic human presence as far as 20,000 years ago.

They also found signs that around 5200 years ago, people started to establish year-round settlements at up to 2500 meters above sea level with the early settlers depending on millet, a frost-sensitive grain long planted across northern China that would not have thrived at higher altitudes.

However, about 3600 years ago, people started making permanent settlement at higher altitudes reaching over 3000 meters above sea level and this happened after barley was introduced to the settlers of this region.

Barley agriculture could provide people enough food supplies even during winter, as barley is frost hardy and cold tolerant, it grows very well on the Tibetan Plateau even today, researchers said. 

Read the article HERE.

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28/11/2014: Germany shipped 231,000 tonnes of wheat to Iran in September

Germany exported about 231,000 tonnes of wheat to Iran in September 2014, figures from the German statistics agency showed on Monday, confirming market talk of large German sales to Iran, the Daily Star Lebanon reports.

European grain traders had reported that Iran purchased substantial volumes of European wheat in September, including possibly from Germany.

Iran has been Germany's largest customer for wheat exports outside the European Union in the current season, which started in July 2014, with shipments of about 441,000 tonnes between July and end-September, the agency said. That compares with 194,000 tonnes shipped to Iran in the same period a year ago.

Read the article HERE.

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28/11/2014: Train cars carrying grain derail in Mankato

Six cars of a Union Pacific train - some carrying grain - that was heading to St Paul went off the tracks in Mankato, Minnesota, USA, early Thursday.

The train was not carrying hazardous materials and there were no injuries when the derailment happened about 2:30am, the Times Union website reports.

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said the derailment happened after the train struck a car from a Canadian Pacific train that was crossing in front of it. 

It was not clear why the Union Pacific train didn't stop. Rail authorities were investigating.

The derailment involved three Union Pacific engine cars and three cars carrying grain. Davis said there was a small diesel fuel leak in the first engine, but the spilled fuel was being collected.

Read more HERE.

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28/11/2014: Thelnetham windmill back milling flour once again

The millstones at a north Suffolk windmill are once again grinding wheat into flour powered only by the wind, Diss Express reports.

Wholemeal flour is being bagged at Thelnetham Mill, a stated aim of its owners, the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust (SBPT) in the UK.

Earlier this year volunteers at the mill said their aim was to get milling by the end of the year. The flour is now for sale in local shops as a trial, and is also available from the mill during its open days, says Diss Express.

Bob Paterson, spokesman for the mill, said: “Right from the word go, the windmill has always been in a good state of repair.

“The intention was always to start grinding again with the emphasis on making sure we could once we had the insurance covered. It was a case of getting on and doing it.”

Mr Paterson said that the plan was also to open a tea shop at the mill site in the spring, to further boost it as a tourist attraction. 

Read more HERE.
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28/11/2014: Kentucky producer talks about why he invested in on-farm grain storage

In the past four years, Lee Robey has nearly doubled his grain storage capacity, Southeast Farm Press reports

“It does give you flexibility, and in most cases, futures prices and basis will pay for your storage costs and facility maintenance,” he said.

As owner of one of the largest dairies in Kentucky, USA, located in Logan County, Robey is a very busy man as he and his crew harvest grain in a timely manner to maintain optimum quality. To make the harvest run smoother, Robey took profits from the past few years of record grain prices and invested in on-farm storage. 

“It also helps us with labor management and allows us to keep our grain equipment running in the field instead of waiting in line at an elevator.”

According to grain experts at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Robey is not the only Kentucky farmer seeing the benefits of adding on-farm storage structures.

“A lot of grain farmers have reinvested their profits from the past few years into infrastructure,” said Sam McNeill, University of Kentucky agricultural engineer. 

“Last year, harvesting in a timely manner became a real problem with some producers waiting as long as four hours to unload grain at the elevator.”

More Kentucky farmers are seeing the positives of on-farm storage this year as tight profit margins and high yields have forced some to rent storage or seek temporary or alternative storage structures in hopes of higher prices.

“The silo bags that are really popular in South America have made their way to the U.S.,” said Todd Davis, University of Kentucky grain marketing specialist. 

“While those bags are an inexpensive way to store grain, they are designed to turn corn material into silage. So it’s important for producers to keep the grain in good condition, as it could really damage the quality. Alternative storage structures are a risky proposition, but you can make a lot of money if it works.”

While some producers may be feeling pressure to add on-farm storage structures to their farm, the decision to do so should be based on each individual’s situation, the University of Kentucky experts said.  

Read more HERE

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November 27, 2014

27/11/2014: Successful AFIA EMC addresses 'Feeding the World'

The American Feed Industry Association's annual Equipment Manufacturers Conference generated, yet again, a successful turnout. The conference held in Palm Springs, California November 6-8, focused on "Feeding the World: Challenges and Opportunities."

Attendees kicked off the conference November 6, 2014 with a four-person scramble golf tournament and putting contest to raise funds for the Equipment Manufacturers Committee Scholarship Fund. Participants made donations totaling US$2,340 through a golf mulligan, putting contest and a raffle for an iPad mini, which was donated by Maxilift. The cash donations, along with meeting proceeds, will be donated to the scholarship fund.

The Equipment Manufacturers Committee Scholarship Fund historically assists students pursuing agricultural degrees at Kansas State University. Within the last year, the fund partnered with the Institute for Feed Education & Research to expand the scholarship program. Four scholarships funds--five years in length--have been paired with universities offering feed related degrees.

"The Equipment Manufacturers Committee is very passionate about fundraising for the four agricultural scholarships," said Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training. "The agricultural industry is in need of rising scholars to continue research efforts and feed the growing population."

AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman opened the conference presentations with a detailed Washington update and a summary on the re-proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules.

"The proposal and now re-proposal have been a huge undertaking for the industry to swallow, but AFIA is determined to support the industry with its staff expertise in the area and continues to address concerns through FSMA seminars, which focus on compliance," said Newman in his presentation.

EMC guest speakers included Dr Frank Mitloehner, University of California; Adel Yusupov, International Feed; Ken Thomas, IFEEDER; Andy Vance, Feedstuffs; Dr Kim Koch, Northern Crop Institute; and Joel Sparks, Foster Farms. All of the speakers presentations correlated with the conference's theme and focused on the issues facing a growing population.

Next year's EMC is slated for November 5-7, 2015, in St Petersburg, Florida, USA.

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27/11/2014: Clariant promotes an effective and 100 percent natural feedstuff detoxification

Clariant’s multi-talented Toxisorb® leads the way in effective and 100 percent natural feedstuff detoxification 
  • ·Natural clay minerals against mould fungi in animal feed
  • Highly effective, low dosage FAMI-QS-certified products
  • Removal of mycotoxins contributes to keeping animals healthy and safer meat and dairy product.
Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, offers the farming industry a 100 percent natural solution for effectively eliminating the harmful effects of feed-related mycotoxins on livestock, it says in a press release issue recently.

When added to feedstuff, Clariant’s clay mineral detoxifiers, Toxisorb® Classic and unique broadband talent
Toxisorb Premium, deactivate mycotoxins, contributing to animal health and safer meat and dairy produce.

Mycotoxin poisons originating from mould fungi in contaminated animal feed are detrimental to an animal’s health and overall growth potential. The mycotoxins prevent an animal from achieving 100 percent of its natural capability and can lead to serious illness. Their negative impact can cause economic losses through reduced animal health as well as eventual loss of productivity for a farmer, for example through reduced milk or meat production. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 25 percent of feed worldwide is critically contaminated.

Clariant’s natural Toxisorb adsorbents immobilize and deactivate mycotoxins when mixed into animal feed formulations. When consumed, they are highly efficient in removing mycotoxins. The FAMI-QS-certified products typically need only minimal dosage of 1-4kg per ton of animal feed. Both products are suitable for all kinds and ages of animals and all feedstuffs.
Toxisorb Classic is the allrounder for the adsorptive removal of Aflatoxins – the most harmful toxin.

Clariant takes protection to the next level with an innovative product covering the majority of toxins caused by mould fungi in animal feed.
Toxisorb Premium is a broadband solution binding up to 90 percent of polar and non-polar toxins including those in the digestive tract, such as the large-molecular-weight endotoxins and enterotoxins which are produced by certain bacteria only after reaching the digestive tract.

When consumed, Toxisorb attracts and binds toxins in the digestive tract of the animal before they can cause damage. The nutrients in the feed pass through the mineral unhindered. So bound, the toxins are prevented from further transfer into the animal’s bloodstream - a positive benefit in avoiding contamination within the food chain.

The now inactive mycotoxins are eliminated with the digestive waste products still bound to the
Toxisorb product. The return of the clay to nature gives an added benefit for farmers and the environment, by improving soil quality when used as field dung.

“TOXISORB presents the farming and feedstuff industry with a highly effective way of protecting livestock animals against dangerous mycotoxins in feed,” comments Tobias Kahr, Regional Sales Manager EMEA Business Unit Functional Minerals Clariant. “Clariant’s sustainable approach for eliminating toxic substances in a natural manner is an important step in creating more sustainable farming and addressing the global food challenge.”

Clariant is a globally leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel/Switzerland. On December 31, 2013 the company employed a total workforce of 18,099. In the financial year 2013, Clariant recorded sales of CHF 6.076 billion for its continuing businesses. The company reports in four business areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis & Energy, Natural Resources, and Plastics & Coatings. Clariant’s corporate strategy is based on five pillars: increase profitability, reposition portfolio, add value with sustainability, foster innovation and R&D, and intensify growth.
Read more HERE.

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27/11/2014: EuroTier 2014: Farmers face up to their challenges

EuroTier 2014 has far exceeded expectations, attracting 156,000 trade profession-als, around 30,000 of whom came from outside Germany. The world's leading trade fair for animal production, organised by DLG, took place from 11 to 14 November 2014 at the Hanover Fairgrounds.

International agriculture is facing major challenges, posed by an ever-changing social and political landscape and by markets in which demand is increasingly fluctuating. Farmers are working hard to develop strategies to secure the future of their operations. To achieve this, they are looking to innovative technologies such as those showcased at EuroTier 2014. EnergyDecentral has become an established international platform for decentralised energy supply.

The preliminary results include:

  1. 2,360 exhibitors from 49 countries presented a comprehensive range of products and services to the animal husbandry sector. Nearly half the exhibitors were from countries other than Germany, underlining EuroTier's international credentials.
  2. EuroTier welcomed around 30,000 visitors from abroad – an outstanding result. The Netherlands (3,800) provided the highest number of international visitors, followed by Austria (2,000), Finland (1,300), Switzerland (1,200), Poland (1,200), the UK (1,100), France (1,100), Denmark (1,000), Belgium (950) and Russia (900). There was also a noticeably high number of visitors from Eastern Europe: 2,700 in-vestors and decision-makers from industrial farms in these countries used EuroTier to find out about the latest technological advances. Despite the current geopolitical situation, the exhibitors are reporting that the investment climate continues to be positive. There was also strong representation from North America (1,100) and Central and South America (1,300), while around 1,100 people came from the Middle and Far East, 990 from Africa and 270 from Oceania.
  3. EuroTier is an engine of innovation and a marketplace of ideas for the agriculture sector. Manufacturers use it to showcase their innovations for productive livestock management in the 21st century. The solutions that were presented – in particular in the fields of process engineering, farm inputs, management and software, animal housing installations and animal housing and shed construction – are giving pig, poultry and cattle farmers a wide range of new opportunities for making essential improvements in efficiency. The welfare of the animals is also high on the agenda for the developers and their customers. The annual conference of the Association of Veterinary Practitioners (bpt), held at the same time as EuroTier, offered an ideal fo-rum for discussing all aspects of animal health.
  4. A unique feature of EuroTier is the breadth of information around animal feed and animal health. EuroTier is the only place where suppliers from these segments are brought together with customers from all areas of the animal husbandry industry.
  5. The EuroTier 2014 technical programme was very well received by visitors. Among the highlights were the international events for the dairy and pig farmers and the In-ternational Poultry Day, which was held the day before EuroTier started. These were attended by around 1,000 industry professionals from all over the world. The confer-ences and forums also offered excellent opportunities for sharing views and best practice. 
  6. The changing needs of society are having a huge impact on the development strate-gies pursued by livestock farmers. The numerous information events at EuroTier provided a platform for the industry to discuss a variety of perspectives on modern productive animal husbandry with groups representing different areas of society.
  7. The “Young Farmers Day” on Thursday was a resounding success. Thousands of young farmers, schoolchildren and students from Germany and abroad took ad-vantage of the various events on offer at EuroTier. EuroTier's “Young Farmers Par-ty” was once again a highlight, and was attended by around 2,500 people.
  8. EnergyDecentral 2014, held jointly with the German Engineering Federation's VDMA Power Systems association, proved to be an excellent marketplace for the energy industry. The exhibitors presented solutions for the entire value chain of decentral-ised energy supply. The exhibition was complemented by an extensive programme of events that was organised by the DLG together with the Society for the Promotion of Construction in Agriculture (BFL), the Energie & Management publishing house and other partners.
The next EuroTier/EnergyDecentral will take place from November 15-18, 2016 in Hanover.

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27/11/2014: 'EnergyDecentral' held during the EuroTier 2014 marks positive change in direction

EnergyDecentral, the international fair for decentralised energy systems, took place for the first time in its new format from November 11-14, 2014. The spectrum of technologies covered by the event was extended from solely bioenergy applications to include other decentralised energy generation systems such as gas-fired cogeneration plants (CHP).

The Power Systems association, part of the German Engineering Federation, welcomes the change to the exhibition's remit. After all, the market for bioenergy is currently limited to the refurbishment and conversion of existing plants so that they can operate flexibly, in accordance with demand.

"Gas-fired CHP offers potential for energy-efficiency gains that is currently being exploited by industry and by the facility management sector. The flexibility of CHP, in combination with fluctuating renewable energies, is going a long way to making Germany's energy transition a success," says Gerd Krieger, Deputy Managing Director of VDMA Power Systems.

Mr Krieger is calling on the German government to remain firm in pursuing the targets it has set and to provide policy certainty for investment: "In an analysis of potential, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provided official confirmation of the savings that are possible with CHP and is reviewing an amendment to the Act on Combined Heat and Power Generation.

"This gives hope to the engineering sector. Especially since the government is currently falling short of its own objective of increasing the proportion of net electricity generated by CHP to 25 per cent by 2020. There needs to be additional incentives for capital investment in order to compensate autoproducers for the cost of the renewable energy levy."

The exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the fair. "We're very happy with the quality of our meetings with customers at this year's EnergyDecentral, just as we were two years ago," said Ulrich Inderthal, Sales Vice President at Bosch CHP Systems.

Stefan Liesner, Head of Marketing at 2G Energy AG, added: "We're meeting exactly the kind of people who we're looking to target: farmers, businesses with electricity and heating needs, and municipal authorities. There's been a lot of interest in our gas-powered CHP units." His message was echoed by Christoph Bendzko, Senior Manager of Strategic Development at MTU Onsite Energy GmbH: "EnergyDecentral is the ideal shop window for the industry. All actors along the value chain of decentralised energy supply are represented here."

The 'Decentralised Energy Supply' and 'Smart Energy' forums were particularly well received. They gave an insight into the latest technological trends and international developments on the market.

About VDMA Power Systems
VDMA Power Systems is a sector association in the German Engineering Association (VDMA). It represents the interests of the manufacturers of wind power and hydropower systems, fuel cells, gas/steam turbines and facilities and motor/engine facilities at home and abroad, serving all of them as information and communications platform for all areas of the industries, such as energy policy, legislation, market analyses, trade fairs, norming, standardizing, and press and public relations work.

About VDMA eV
The German Engineering Association (VDMA) represents over 3100 mainly medium-sized member companies in the capital goods industry (machinery manufacture and plant engineering) and is thus one of the strongest and most significant industrial associations in Europe. Machinery manufacture and plant engineering is a key technology and the driving force for the economy. With a workforce of 1,008,000 in Germany (2014), the sector is the largest industrial employer. Around 77 percent of German production is exported.

Read more HERE.

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27/11/2014: NGFA contests RailStatements in reply comments to STB on rail revenue adequacy proceeding

In reply comments submitted Nov. 4 to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) in response to the agency's proceeding on rail revenue adequacy, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) contested several mis-characterisations from railroads regarding the degree to which a competitive rail marketplace currently exists.

The NGFA noted that it had not filed opening comments with the STB in the rail revenue adequacy proceeding (Ex Parte No722) since it already had addressed the topic to a substantial degree in its extensive opening comments submitted in the grain rail rate proceeding (EP 665-1). But NGFA found it necessary to submit reply comments after the Association of American Railroads and several individual carriers used the revenue-adequacy proceeding as an opportunity to oppose points raised by NGFA in the grain rail rate proceeding, as well as to misstate and mischaracterize the degree to which "competition" exists in the agricultural rail marketplace.

The NGFA pointed out that both the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 and the STB's rules and precedents constrain railroads' ability to price their services differentially to captive shippers once the carriers have reached revenue adequacy. "Having finally reached revenue-adequate status for the most part, the railroads now argue that finding them revenue adequate should not result in any changes to the status quo regarding the STB's regulation of railroad rates and service," the NGFA said in its statement, noting that the BNSF Railway and other carriers contend that rail rate levels already are disciplined by competitive market forces.

"The competitive railroad market envisioned by the framers of the Staggers Act (and its successor and predecessor statutes) has not existed for at least a decade or more," the NGFA said. "Railroad parties continue to leave the false impression that truck transportation is a viable competitive alternative, regardless of the size of shipment or distance traveled. Further, competition from barge transportation is available...only in certain specific geographic areas, and even then is highly dependent upon navigation restrictions or interruptions.

"Most significantly," the NGFA continued, "the consolidated U.S. rail marketplace today consists of regional duopolies within which the major Class I railroads exercise substantial market power, which has reduced competitive options significantly for many rail shippers and receivers of agricultural products, as well as the degree to which meaningful rail-to-rail competition occurs even where it is physically possible."

The NGFA concluded by reiterating that, given the revenue-adequate standing of most Class I railroads, the time is right for the STB to consider and act upon the simplified approach the association has proposed to give captive shippers and receivers of agricultural products the opportunity to challenge rates they believe are unreasonable.

"If the rail marketplace were as truly and universally competitive as the rail carriers portray, they will continue to respond to the strong demand for service by attempting to maximize revenues by increasing the volume of traffic that is competitively served," the NGFA said, noting the rail industry is enjoying record profits derived from both competitive and captive traffic. "Implementing simplified rate-challenge procedures for captive traffic that incorporate a revenue-adequacy component should provide better protection for captive shippers against abuse of rail market power while still generating more-than-adequate revenues to rail carriers to invest in increasing rail capacity, while providing adequate rates-of-return."

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November 26, 2014

26/11/2014: State-owned flourmill for major expansion in Dakota, USA

by Dan Gunderson, Grand Forks, ND - reporting for MPR News

When North Dakota opened the nation's only state-owned flourmill in the early 1900s, it stood as a symbol of defiance.

Tired of shipping wheat to Minneapolis mills, only to receive a lower price to offset the cost of shipping, North Dakota farmers turned to the state, which built its own flourmill to give them a better price.
Established in 1922, the North Dakota Mill was created to offer farmers an alternative — and hopefully higher crop prices — to mills in the Twin Cities.
Dave Arntson / For MPR News

Assistant miller Greg Kezar cleans a flour milling machine at the North Dakota Mill
Dave Arntson / For MPR News

Flour and other ingredients flow through a complex network of pipes at the North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks, ND
Dave Arntson / For MPR News

"It worked back in 1922 and it still works today," said Vance Taylor, president and general manager of the North Dakota Mill and Elevator. 

"We figure we increase the price of wheat anywhere from five to 10 cents a bushel for the local market."

That means a farmer with 1000 acres of wheat and an average yield of 40 bushels per acre might earn an extra US$4000 per year.

When a US$27 million expansion is completed next fall, the Grand Forks mill will be the largest single milling operation in the country and rank 6th among all flour milling companies, Taylor said.

It also will continue delivering financial results for North Dakota, which in the 2014 budget saw the mill produce profits of US$13.3 million, the second best in its 92-year history.

In the past 43 years, the mill has earned more than US$155.6 million in profits and returned more than US$87 million to state coffers. The rest is reinvested in mill improvements.

Rising 18 stories above the Grand Forks skyline, the mill has turned wheat into flour for more than nine decades. It has always focused on high quality flour, Taylor said.

"We have a big advantage in the marketplace being located in North Dakota where the highest quality wheat in the world is produced," he said.

Most of the wheat the mill uses is grown in North Dakota or western Minnesota.

It grinds 10 percent of all wheat grown in North Dakota. The state leads the nation in production of hard red spring wheat, a high protein variety preferred for bread flour and durum which is milled into semolina flour to make pasta.

An average of 85 semitrailer trucks arrive each to dump their loads of wheat — the amount it takes to keep the mill running.

Quality control starts in a cramped office with a bird's-eye view of the arriving trucks. That's where lab technician Lori Luney dips a remote controlled probe about eight feet long into a loaded truck. Luney carries the sample to a machine that tests moisture and protein level. The wheat is also examined for disease or damaged kernels. Higher quality means a higher price for farmers. Low quality wheat would be turned away.

"North Dakota Mill is pretty fussy on the wheat they take in," she said.

The wheat dumped from trucks is stored in large concrete silos, cleaned and moved in vacuum pipes to the top of the mill. Seven production lines run 24 hours a day, each milling a slightly different product.

Inside, the noise is deafening. On one level, rows of machines roar as they grind the wheat. On another floor, dozens of large wooden boxes gyrate wildly, sifting the ground wheat. A maze of pipes runs between floors.

In a complicated simple process, a kernel of wheat might go through the mill 20 or 30 times before it becomes finished flour.

There's some respite from the noise inside a small room with several computer monitors where everything wears a dusting of flour.

The entire operation has 135 employees, but automation allows just four employees per shift to run the mill. Computers make the mill run more smoothly, and help pinpoint problems, reducing downtime, technician Luke Dudgeon said.

Many of the employees work in quality control and shipping departments.

The mill produces 3.8 million pounds of flour a day. Much of it goes by rail to large bakeries on the East Coast.

The Dakota Maid brand flour is sold retail in 11 Midwestern states.

Ten to 15 rail cars of flour are loaded each day along with 25 semitrailer trucks of bulk flour and about 25 trucks of bagged flour.

While most of the flour it mills goes to bakeries, the mill also serves a growing home baking market.

Taylor hopes demand for flour continues to grow. Another million pounds of a flour a day will flow out of the mill expansion by this time next year. 

"Going back a few years we were seeing some fairly steady declines in the number of people that were home baking," he said. 

"But I think with some of the millennials we're seeing a little bit of a comeback there in home baking and our family flour sales the last couple of years."

Read the original story HERE


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26/11/2014: Malta's cement terminal 'assumed to be contaminating' neighbouring grain terminal

by Kevin Schembri Orland of Malta The Independent online

Malta's Kordin Grain Terminal CEO, Alex Agius, said that one must assume that contamination of the grain is already present considering that there is no way of detecting traces of heavy metals, reports The Independent from Malta.

The House Committee for the Environment and Development planning met to discuss the issue of the Kordin Grain Terminal (KGT) and the cement silo built just five metres away - and the potential health risk for the Maltese public.

The terminal is authorised to handle the free-flowing grains, offering discharge, storage and loading of grains, by means of a trading licence and a Food Safety Commission Certificate. It is the only structure in Malta that can do so and the majority of grain in Malta passes through this point.

The grains stored are for both human and animal consumption, including animals used for the production of food for human consumption.

The Committee heard that the KGT is proactive in its maintenance and in the last 5 years, over €4 million was invested in the upgrading of equipment and in health and management systems.

Foreign experts
Buhler, an accredited company in similar grain silo installations, who manufactured the grain terminal in Malta, submitted a sworn affidavit by two of their technical experts on November 2014, KGT CEO Alex Agius revealed during his presentation.

The affidavit read; "the facility of Kordin Grain Terminal is very well kept and is extremely hygienic and is on equal technical level, if not higher, to other similar European grain terminals that they have visited. These include ones in France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland". These experts, the Committee heard, also confirmed that the Kordin Grain Terminal in its present state and mode of operation, meets the European standard required and is in line with relevant and European legislation.

A quote shown from the affidavit by one of the Buhler experts used during the presentation by Mr Agius, read that the expert was astonished to find a non-food plant, specifically a cement silo, so close to the grain terminal. "With a non-food plant situated so close to the Kordin Grain Terminal's plant, I must say that contamination will be unavoidable," the quote read. Mr Aius said that the person writing this report has worked with Buhler for over 25 years and that this was in no way his first time writing such a report on a grain terminal. He has never witnessed a non-food plant placed this close to a food plant in all his years, a cement one at that", the expert's statement read.

Quoting the Buhler report, the CEO said that EU standards do not discriminate between open and closed conveyor belt systems. Regarding the option to change to a closed conveyor belt, the report read that; "this would not eliminate the high risk of contamination due to the fact that the loading and unloading of grain still always carried out with open vessel holds. He said that a closed conveyor-belt is normally only used to protect from weather systems".

The Court refused to issue a warrant for prohibitory injunction however the court did say that the creation of a cement silo so close to the grain terminal should have been treated prior to the construction. The court added that a letter was sent by KGT to the Health Department expressing concern "however there is no indication that the Department took steps regarding this issue".

Another issue was revealed. MEPA, in a draft document, included the following clause; " All operation of the installation shall be coordinated with operations of the adjacent Kordin Grain Terminal (KGT) to ensure that loading of the silo with cement does not coincide with when the grain is begin loaded into the KGT silos". This was done to minimise risk, the CEO said, "however this was removed from the final document and I don't know why".

Dr Godfrey Grech, hygiene and food safety consultant for KGT, said that traces of heavy metals accumulates in the body, and problems could arise later if contamination is found.

Cement Silo representative
Dr Pawlu Lia, representing UC Ltd, operators of the cement silo, said that other cement silos in the area are open air, and as such, being a stones-throw away from the grain terminal, are already potential contaminants. He also mentioned that the terminal is close to the power station chimney and that cruise liners, ships and other contaminants already exist in the area.

Dr Lia emphasised that when moving cement, the entire process is enclosed and that no contaminants are released. He also said that the silo has an environmental permit unlike the other cement silos, which means that rigorous checks are made and this license is renewed every year.

UC Ltd argued that the dock itself is small and as such a grain ship and cement ship could never unload or load at the same time. They argued that KGT should modernise its equipment and techniques rather than try to remove the companies around them.

Dr Lia said that the cement silo conforms with all EU regulations. He added that until this silo was built, there was a monopoly on cement in the country and the issue here is that this silo is offering cheaper prices and better conditions for its product.

Expert in environmental health Dr Christine Belluci spoke on behalf of the Health Directorate said that in October 2013, an environmental impact assessment was made and a risk assessment was then sent to the directorate.
"At no point can you say there is no risk, but the risk is weighed".

Currently, the directorate is sample testing flour around Malta to see if it is within the respectable levels of possible contamination exposure.

Speaking briefly, MEPA CEO Johann Buttigieg said that MEPA will be taking legal steps to ensure that KGT get an environment permit. He also said that the other cement silos in the area are in talks with MEPA to modernise in order to reduce contamination.

Towards the end of the meeting a small argument over procedure broke out between PL MP Carmelo Abela and Committee Chair Marlene Farrugia regarding the scope of the committee, where Dr Abela said that the committee was becoming too much like a court of law set to decide on the two companies. In response Marlese Farrugia said that the subject falls within the remit of the committee to see what can be done to move forward and see if contamination is possible. PL MP Abela agreed in this regard.

Read the original story HERE

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which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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26/11/2014: Spanish Technical Poultry Seminar at IPPE 2015!

A Spanish Technical Seminar for Maximising the Efficiency of the Poultry Industry is being offered at the 2015 IPPE.

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is hosting the “Seminario Técnico para Maximizar la Eficiencia de la Industria Avícola” (Technical Seminar for Maximising the Efficiency of the Poultry Industry), which will be presented entirely in Spanish. The program will discuss methods for improving economic efficiency in the areas of breeding, incubation, grow-out and health. 

The full-day program is scheduled Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, and is $150 for all registered International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) attendees.

The program will feature a variety of topics, including:
  • Automation of Feeders in Breeders, Pan Feeders and Chain Feeders
  • Mechanical Nests Management 
  • Factors that Affect the Peak of Production and Persistence in Breeders 
  • Rooster Management to Maximise Layer Fertility 
  • Maximising Fertile Egg Efficiency 
  • Efficient Energy Management in the Hatchery 
  • Health Programs to Improve Chick Quality 
  • Improving Economic Efficiency Using Controlled Environments in Warm Climate Areas 
  • Reducing Energy Costs in Broiler Houses 
  • Management Practices to Improve Food Safety 
  • Improving Yields at the Slaughter Plant 
  • Practical Experiences to Reduce Costs Associated with Avian Diseases
IPPE, the world's largest annual poultry, feed and meat industry trade show, will be held Jan. 27-29, 2015. For more information on the program, click HERE.

To register to attend IPPE, click HERE 

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This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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26/11/2014: Lambton expands to offer a full service in silos and storage

Ivan Marquetti, LATAM Manager for Perendale Publishers, recently interviewed Christian Jordan, VP of Commerical International Sales at Lambton Conveyor Lt. at FIGAP in Mexico. 

They talked about the growth in products and full service line in silos and storage for the grain and feed industries which Lambton now offers. 

Play the above video to find out more. Go to Lambton Conveyor's website HERE

Christian Jordan, Lambton Conveyor Ltd.

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This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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26/11/2014: AFIA to Host Eighth Pet Food Conference at IPPE!

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will host a one-day Pet Food Conference at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. 

The educational conference will discuss nutrition, trade and certification programs impacting today’s pet food and pet food ingredient manufacturers.

To register for the Pet Food Conference, click HERE.

More than 10 speakers will address a variety of topics at the conference, including Dr. Daniel McChesney, director of office of surveillance and compliance at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, who will provide agency updates and the impact on the pet food industry.

The conference will feature several other industry experts including Dr. Colin Basler, Center for Disease Control and Prevention; LeAnn Chuboff, Safe Quality Food Institute; Marianne Smith Edge, International Food Information Council; Richard Ten Eyck, The Association of American Feed Control Officials; Dr. David Meeker, National Renderers Association; Janet Riley, American Meat Institute; Dr. Charles Starkey, American Proteins; Dr. Kelly Swanson, University of Illinois; Gina Tumbarello, AFIA; and Svetlana Uduslivaia, Euromonitor International.

There will also be a pet food safety panel, featuring Jolyda Swaim, Olsson, Frank and Weeda, and other pet food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, which will give an update on the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules, food safety plans and sampling. 

IPPE is expected to attract more than 28,000 attendees and is a collaboration of three trade shows--International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo--representing the entire chain of protein production and processing. The event is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), American Meat Institute (AMI) and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY). 

For more information about IPPE, including registration details, lodging and education offerings, click HERE 

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which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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26/11/2014: PerkinElmer acquires Perten Instruments

PerkinElmer, Inc. (“PerkinElmer”) has agreed to acquire Perten Instruments Group AB, a global leading supplier of advanced analytical instruments for quality control of food, grain, flour and feed, from Valedo Partners Fund AB. 

Perten has been under Valedo’s ownership since 2010, doubled in size through successful investments in product development and geographical expansion. 

PerkinElmer’s commitment to the food quality testing space and presence in complementary markets combined with Perten’s solid market position and leading product portfolio is an ideal match to further strengthen a leading position in this sector.

Perten Instruments
Perten Instruments
Perten, founded in 1962, develops and markets instruments, along with a market leading food quality calibration database and ancillary services, for advanced quality control of food, grain, flour and feed. 

Over the last few years, Perten has achieved strong organic growth and today generates an annual turnover of more than EUR 50 million with sales in more than 100 countries. 

Perten has a global leading position in several product segments which is the result of the development of ground-breaking products, several of which are now industry standards.

PerkinElmer, Inc. is a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment. Through combining innovative detection, imaging, laboratory services, and informatics solutions with knowledge and expertise PerkinElmer supports the discovery of critical insights in diagnostics, life sciences, and environmental applications. 

The company reported revenue of approximately US$2.2 billion in 2013, has around 7600 employees serving customers in more than 150 countries. 

“I am very proud of what Perten has achieved in the market," said Sven Holmlund, CEO, Perten Instruments Group AB.

"Since 2010 we have accelerated our efforts to develop and launch innovative products and services and we have significantly expanded our sales and service organization in both existing and new markets. 

"Perten has appreciated working with Valedo and now welcome PerkinElmer as our new owner, who we are convinced will be able to contribute significant resources and competence to further develop and grow our business," he adds.

“The combination of Perten’s unique capabilities with PerkinElmer’s portfolio of innovative analytical instruments will enable us to further penetrate the multi-billion dollar global food testing market, including longer-term opportunities in higher growth regions such as China,” said Jon DiVincenzo, President, Environmental Health, PerkinElmer.  

“PerkinElmer will now be firmly positioned to help customers address rigorous regulations for food quality control, import/export product testing, and the need to preserve the integrity of global supply chains.”

About Valedo
Valedo is an independent Swedish private equity group investing in high-quality small/mid cap companies in the Nordic region. Valedo is focusing on companies with clear growth and development potential where Valedo can actively contribute to and accelerate the companies’ development. Being an active owner and contributing both capital and industrial experience, Valedo ensures that a company can achieve its full potential. 

More information at:

About PerkinElmer
PerkinElmer, Inc. is a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment. The Company reported revenue of approximately $2.2 billion in 2013, has about 7,600 employees serving customers in more than 150 countries, and is a component of the S&P 500 Index. 

Additional information is available through telephone: +1-877-PKI-NYSE, or at

About Perten Instruments
Perten Instruments Group is a global leader in analytical instrumentation and services to the food, grain, flour and feed markets. The company generates an annual turnover of more than EUR 50 million, has some 200 employees in 8 operational units and supplies the rest of the world through distributors and agents in more than 100 countries. 

For further information please visit

Read more HERE.

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