I recently read a troubling story that should concern every farmer in North America.
You might have missed it because the story came out of Vienna Township in Rock County, Minnesota.
Dan Crisler at Dakota Media Group recapped the news that Cargill’s local elevator in the town had shuttered its operations. The firm cited declining business in the region. The closure will leave local farmers with fewer options after 23 years under the Cargill brand. 
Now, this story might seem like a one-time event.
But after I did some digging this week, I discovered a broader trend that will make it more difficult for farmers to sell their grain.
More stories like the one in Vienna are popping up across the country.
Farmers have experienced fewer and fewer options over the last decade to sell their grain, forcing them to accept prices that might not help their bottom line.
Instead of the status quo, farmers need a place where they have more buyers available, where they can get the best price possible (above local cash prices) and where they don’t have to worry about getting paid.
And they need a place to sell their grain from anywhere in North America.
That’s why they should learn about FarmLead.
Shuttered Elevators Leave Farmers in the Dark
The closure of Cargill’s Vienna-based elevator may not have been national news.
But the trend of how farmers have been left with few places to sell their grain is a story that agricultural economists should be taking to the USDA.
Closures like the Vienna, MN location reduce options, strengthen buyer power in surrounding areas, and creates a situation where many farmers are forced to take any price they can get. They may also have to travel even further away to sell their grain for a less competitive price.
And these stories are popping up in local papers across the country.
- In July, Angela Keneecke reports that 60 farmers in six South Dakota counties didn’t get paid for last year’s crops (all while facing a horrible drought this year). The state came in and shuttered three grain elevators and suspended the licenses of H&I Grain. According to the report, the farmers have hired lawyers to try to recoup some of their money, but it will be very difficult. 
- In January, the Illinois Department of Agriculture seized the assets of Keller Grain after it failed to provide on-demand payment to a producer. Roughly 30 producers have unfilled claims. 
- Down in Vincennes and Princeton, Indiana, Cargill shuttered elevators in August of this year.
- In Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin public officials just shut down an elevator over public health concerns. 
- Illinois also closed elevators of SGI Agri-Marketing in Gibson City in November 2016.
- In March 2016, Atwater Elevator closed after 100 years in operation.
- Now, I’ll stop there because I could probably find dozens of other examples. In many cases, new ownership may come in and take over these elevators. In others, these elevators will be torn down.
That means the best-case scenario is that we will only see a disruption to the elevator operations.
There would be new relationships to form between operators and farmers.
And it would take time to establish trust.
In the worst-case scenario, these elevators are shuttered permanently. This would force some farmers to find a new place to transport their grain, while others fight to recoup unreceived payments.
I don’t like any of these options.
There is too much uncertainty and too many financial risks.
There needs to be a better way to sell grain…
Farmers need to get the best price possible, ensure on-demand payment, and to be able to sell their grain from anywhere.
The good news – you can find all three of these benefits in one place.
It Doesn’t Matter Where Your Farm
Farmers no longer are at the mercy of grain elevators or the decision of state regulators.
Now, you can use FarmLead to post their grain and sell any crop you grow to buyers all across North America on your schedule.
Everyone one of our buyers has been financially-vetted, via our partner Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). This means you will get paid on time, every time, while you’re looking to get the best price possible.
Best of all, it doesn’t matter where you farm across the United States or Canada. You can find buyers who are seeking distinct specifications. So whether you’re growing corn near Vienna, Minnesota or you’re farming specialty crops in the Carolinas, you can post your grain on FarmLead.
If you have excess grain or crops sitting in storage, you should take five minutes and post them online for buyers across North America. They might not sell today, but imagine coming home in the near future to get a surprise alert on your phone or computer.
You may be able to sell those crops for far more than you expected, and all you had to do was fill in a few detailss and wait.
No matter where you are, no matter what you grow, FarmLead will always be an available resource to help you market your grain across the U.S. and Canada.
Then wait for the buyers to come to you.