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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY

APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES annual capacity about 70,000 head. Mountain States Lamb Cooperative is a similar example from the sheep industry. Some groups have formally incorporated, only to be dissolved after they failed to raise sufficient capital (Northern Plains Premium Beef) or were unable to develop joint ventures (Sunbelt Pork Cooperative) necessary to the success of the project. “Getting Started in the Cattle Business in Virginia” Authors: Bill R. McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientist, Virginia Tech; and Henry S. Snodgrass, Extension Farm Business Management Agent, Virginia Tech Beef Quality Corner, Livestock Update, February 2000, Bill R. McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientist, Marketing, Virginia Tech Brad C. Gehrke, USDA Cooperative Services, Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Group Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 8

APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES Grain and Oilseed Sector Firms in the grain and oilseed sector perform a number of functions including origination, storage, transportation, domestic and international merchandising, and export operations. These operations have changed little over the last years, although the number and structure of firms has changed as have the demands on the firms marketing and handling grain. In some ways, the grain sector will change more in the next decade than it did in the last century. The two dominant trends in the U.S. grain sector are consolidation and value-added commodity marketing. Grain handling and transporting firms have consolidated in number and ownership. In 1982, more than 9,100 grain elevators but current estimates suggest the number is less than 8,000 are now operating. The same consolidation and increased concentration phenomenon is occurring with domestic merchandising, export merchandising and grain origination staffs, export elevators, barge lines, and terminal elevators. Along with fewer grain elevators, the number of firms controlling marketing and processing facilities has dwindled and their market power has increased. For example, the 4 largest flour milling companies now produce over 65% of the flour as compared to only 34% in the 1980s. Likewise, the soybean processing industry has experienced a similar shift. The market share of the four largest firms has expanded from 51% in 1982 to 76% in 1990, with all but a small proportion of the increase due to mergers and acquisitions. At least two interrelated factors are driving the grain- related industries toward two quite different strategies but similar market structures. First, consumers have become more discriminating buyers not only of grain products, but of all products including grain and oilseed-based items. The baking industry alone now launches at least 1,000 new products a year in attempts to satisfy increasingly sophisticated consumers. Second, genetic engineering is allowing for the development of user-specific traits and attributes which satisfy specific consumer demands. Because of these major changes, the grain handling sector is moving away from a "commodity" system into a "product" system. A product driven system has the disadvantage of more costly transactions among marketing firms because of extensive grading, handling, and monitoring. As such, grain handling firms are able to lower costs through consolidation and mergers with other firms. As the existing grain marketing system adjusts to these forces, the product market will become increasingly important, not only as a generator of profits, but also for its influence on the behavior of those participating in commodity markets. There will be many players in these two markets, but three major types of participants appear to be surfacing: seed companies, food manufacturers, and global bulk commodity trading firms. Seed companies are becoming important contributors of new technologies, mainly in the form of attribute- specific varieties. Their high R&D cost output will necessitate implementation of innovative marketing approaches to a well-defined customer base. Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 9

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