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Companies launch grain marketing digital platform

Willie Vogt sun shining behind grain bins
MASTER GRAIN TRANSACTIONS: Moving grain from farm to market can be complicated, but a new service for ADM and Cargill customers is changing that. The free GrainBridge program helps turn those paper scale tickets into a useful digital tool for marketing.
GrainBridge aims to help ADM and Cargill farmer-customers streamline the grain marketing process.

The crunch of harvest can bring confusion, especially if you’re moving grain from farm to elevator. Those scale tickets can pile up, and tracking what you have contracted for delivery can be confusing too. A new program called GrainBridge, developed through an innovative partnership between Cargill and ADM, aims to solve that for customers.

“This is a joint venture between ADM and Cargill, and they want to give farmers easy access to their data,” says Mark Johnson, CEO, GrainBridge. “The ultimate idea is to help farmers really understand their grain position. What do you have contracted, what’s in your bins?”

Farmer-customers of either ADM or Cargill can download the free software to manage their grain. The system will capture scale tickets in one place and help farmers manage what they have contracted to sell. “I talked to one farmer who shared that he missed a delivery — he just got busy,” Johnson says. “This program can help avoid those issues.”

Johnson notes that the No. 1 thing farmers have said they dislike is entering data. The physical practice of typing in scale-ticket information, for example, can be laborious. But it’s useful information for managing a farm’s grain supply and risk management plan. “We’re in a digital world now,” Johnson says.

Beyond rockets, artificial intelligence

Johnson comes from a high-tech background and explains that in past positions, he’s worked with satellites, rockets and artificial intelligence. For his work at GrainBridge, there’s something more exciting going on: “I came here and we didn’t focus on that; we focused on finding the features for merchants or farmers that are not super-complex, to solve a real problem.”

The grain merchandising process can be paper-bound and cumbersome, but GrainBridge is working to solve that — and perhaps bring along some other features along the way.

For example, each ADM and Cargill location can display wait times for delivery. Consider what a management tool just having that information can mean for your farm. The local facilities can also include information like hours, alerts, announcements, contact information and discount schedules. All that information is at your fingertips.

The system currently includes more than 400 grain-buying locations, with more being added. And future enhancements are in the works to help farmers market their grain more confidently.

The tool also allows farmers to view local cash bids on a map, showing what platform participants are paying. You can check on market prices without leaving the GrainBridge site, which provides a look at futures and options prices.

Keep it simple

“I think you can appreciate the simplicity of the program,” Johnson says. “We’ve tried not to overdesign this. We want to present your data in a way you’re used to seeing it. You can see scale tickets, and they can be linked to a contract. We want to bring all that transactional data to one place.”

And Johnson sees more features in the future, all geared toward managing grain from farm to market in ways that help ensure producers capture value from the system.

Farmers can sign up for GrainBridge at Local ADM and Cargill representatives can also assist the transition from their respective grain marketing applications, such as ADM FarmView and CargillAg. All farm information will be available, with no added work to transition from one system to another.

“And just to be really clear, data privacy is incredibly important. ADM and Cargill cannot see each other’s data,” Johnson says. The system is built on a secure platform using the latest technology from Amazon Web Services to protect information. And neither company will sell farmer data or share it without permission.

TAGS: Marketing
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