Meet the Grain Team: Developing strategies that win the game

The word “team” is used all the time, especially by sports fans. But even if we’re talking about a professional environment (and not referring to our favorite football team), the word essentially means the same thing. Simply put, a team is a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. At Key, our Grain team got a new coach and new teammates this year, and we’d like to share some of their game-winning strategies.

Capturing value for our member-owners is always front and center at Key. We’ve built a solid team of grain originators who provide technical expertise and specialize in creating custom marketing plans for members. That’s crucial, because in this environment a marketing plan is absolutely essential to help you garner as much revenue as possible from your ex­pected production. The Field Marketing (origination) team is led by Zack Gardner and includes Greg Artz, Moriah Van Maanen and Rick Weigel.

This team will encourage you to plan your marketing strategy a year or more in advance, because your future plan is just as important as focusing on the old crop in your bin.

In 2018, we also introduced our Freight on Board (FOB) program. The premise is simple: Key buys grain picked up directly off the farm and sets the bid based on the most competitive end-user. FOB complements our ex­isting Direct Ship program, which allows members to sell grain through Key to relevant end-users for the same bid as those end-users, while also capturing DPAD through Key. Some other new tools will come in the form of flexible HTAs, accumulators and premium offers and extended price and minimum price contracts. We know it takes a wide range of tactics for members to market all their grain to or through Key. That’s why we plan to continue to add to the playbook.

Leveraging your grain assets is another game-winning strategy we’re fully focused on at this time. The capabilities of the Nevada Rail Terminal haven’t been fully exploited since the increased growth of the ethanol industry. However, in recent years, local basis has eased off enough and several years of lower commodity prices have built up out-of-state demand to the point that it makes sense to add some sig­nificant volume back on rail in Nevada. This grain will be leaving Story County and Central Iowa altogether, which further elevates the cash market for everyone in Central Iowa. Leveraging the Nevada Rail Terminal will now complement our continued efforts at both the Newton Rail Center and Grinnell Feed Mill to maximize value for member-owners.


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