Cetral Plains Organic Farmers

Cooperative Organic Grain Marketing

Operating Procedures

A.  Marketers and Members discuss grain amount before and after Harvest: amount of acres planted, each crop planted

B.  Marketers work daily with members, buyers, shippers to plan production and conduct the many steps of marketing

C. Cooperative’s marketing activities:

  • collects & tests grain samples

  • negotiates sales

  • schedules, arranges, and pays shipping

  • Invoices buyers

  • Collects payments

  • MSF (marketing service fee)

  • Settles payments with members.

 

Organizing & Empowering Farmers

A. Strength in Numbers, both Farmer members and volume of production

B. Historic Knowledge of production, markets and buyers

C. Established network of organic grain shippers

D. Established relationships with buyers, preference for companies partnered with the longest

E. Membership in OFARM, a cooperative marketing agency in common, for market information sharing, strategizing and advocacy related to imports and other broad issues

 

 Maintain & Manage Grain Storage

- On Farm storage, Clean bins, Aeration in bins for long storage (automatic aeration fan controllers)

- Access to bins for semi (if truck will get stuck, let us know)

- Rodent and pest control

- Good Bin logs to keep track of incoming and outgoing grain

- Keep grain clean and dry is the goal, probe to check for hot spots

- Prevention of insects with sanitation: DE (diatomaceous earth), dry & cool grain, clean at shipping if necessary

 

Producing and Maintaining High Grain Quality

-Quality begins in the Field

- Fertility

- Weed control

- Correct time to Harvest

- Keep grain as clean as possible

- Clean grain going into or out of bin if possible

 Shipping Grain

A.  Inspecting & Documenting clean trucks

B.  Arrange for weighing truck before and after loading.  Have a scale ticket

C.  Send proper shipping documents (Certificate, Bill of Lading, Scale ticket).  Have them ready when truck arrives

D.  Don’t ship grain that you know does not meet standards (insects, mold, etc.); call your marketer; cost of rejected shipment is high

E.  Shipping works best with good communication (Shipping confirmation with each party’s address, phone & email)

 

Organic Grain Marketing vs. Conventional Grain Marketing

A.  Organic buyers require sale agreements and prior notification ahead of delivery (can’t just haul to elevator)

B.  Prices and sale terms are negotiated- developing the relationship between farmer and purchasers carry weight in addition to supply and demand as in conventional marketing.

C.  Organic requires more extensive documentation – Organic Certificate, BOL’s, Clean Truck Affidavit, lot numbers, etc.

D.  Grain quality generally more important in organic

E.  Payment generally not as quick as with conventional sales

F.  In most cases buyers and shipping distances are further away

G. Organic marketing infrastructure and markets are still developing

 

Developing & Conducting Sales

A.  Pull representative grain samples while unloading into bins (20# is not too much)

B.  Determine quality of grain (lab tests and reports)

C.  Food Grade Sales

D.  Feed Grade Sales

E.  Identify and work with reputable buyers with record of reliable payment

F.  In most cases, prices are based on delivery to buyers’ destination – factor in shipping costs

G.  Most sales are confirmed with written contracts, purchase orders, or sales           agreements

H.  Email, cell phones, texting has streamlined communication and transfer of documents

Central Plains Organic Farmers Association