We caught up with Daryl Drake in a corn field where he was watching agronomists for Premier Ag run a weigh buggy and help records weights and yields in a customer plot. Premier Ag is a multi-county cooperative in south-central Indiana.
Drake's real role is not harvesting test plots. Instead, he is vice-president of the grain division for the company. He spent part of the time at the plot in the pickup with a cell phone, getting bids and alerting customers where they could receive attractive bids for their corn.
The unique thing about Premier Co-op is that they recently opted to offer a grain marketing service and help customers receive the highest prices for grain, but they no longer actually accept grain at any of their locations. Instead, they focus on fertilizer, seed and other inputs in most instances. Drake came aboard to help them earlier this summer.
"My job is to be in contact with a large number of elevators and end users, or check daily prices from these outlets electronically, and know where a customer can get the best price," he says.
He also becomes involved in calculating in hauling costs if the best price is farther form home than the farmer is used to hauling. It's all aimed at helping the customer determine where he can net the most for his corn or soybeans after all costs are accounted for.
It's been a slow fall to start the effort, Drake notes, since yields are down and there simply isn't the volume of corn to work with that would be present in a normal year. That's especially true in south-central Indiana. Still, he's working with several farmers, helping them on an almost daily basis by finding various outlets for their corn and letting them compare prices and hauling charges. The farmer can haul it himself, or Drake can become involved in lining up transportation for the grain if necessary.