Introducing ALCIVIA Roundtable, a series covering logistics, market access, and market fundamentals, with the end goal of helping our members make informed decisions for their operations. This week, merchandisers Aly Pascuzzi and Dylan Beaver discuss the role that merchandising plays for ALCIVIA and its members.

Next week, we will discuss inverse and carry markets. Thanks for joining this week’s episode of ALCIVIA Roundtable!

Welcome to ALCIVIA Round Table, I’m Ali Pascuzzi the feed merchandiser here at ALCIVIA, and I’m Dylan Beaver grain merchandiser here at ALCIVA.

As a grain merchandiser I’m responsible for finding different markets for our producers and giving them the best opportunities to market their grain, whether that’s running a truck deck that we have here at ALCIVIA, or trading grain out of our shuttle loaders or short line loaders. Whether that market is on the up-rail line or the CP rail line or on the wsr short line.

As feed merchandiser here at ALCIVIA I work on preparing bulk products for our feed mills and then also working on our direct ship program for our bulk ingredients to our Farmers. We’re bringing value to more than just the co-op itself, it connects back to the members and it also it connects back to our suppliers and our end users of our product.

The value that the merchandising team brings ALCIVIA is finding the best opportunity for our producers as well as the co-op. On top of that we are protecting risk for our producers’ operations and the cooperative.

In this series expect to hear more about logistics, market access, and market fundamentals. Join me next week where we’ll talk about inverted and carry markets.

Thanks all see you next week!

  1. Always put in safety stops when working on the planter

Safety stops are critical to stop you from getting harmed. Safety stops are the last layer of protection if something goes wrong while you’re working on your equipment. You could get partially crushed, or even killed, without safety stops in place. With the stops engaged, turn the tractor off, take the key out of the ignition, and put it in your pocket for safety’s sake.

  1. Watch for low overhead powerlines

Planters vary greatly in size, with some of the largest being 48-row units that are 120 feet wide. These arms can easily reach powerlines and other low-hanging infrastructure cables that are often near the entry points of fields. Go slow, checking your arm height and clearance space as you go. These powerlines pose a serious risk for electrocution to you and damage to your equipment.

  1. Handle seed, fertilizer, and insecticides with personal protective equipment (PPE)

While crucial for a successful crop, the makeup of fertilizer, insecticides, and even some seed mixes are not safe for direct contact with your skin, mouth, eyes, or lungs. Even if you don’t intend to leave the cab, always have PPE with you in case you need it. Nobody expects you to know the exact chemical makeup of the products you’re using, but it’s important to read and follow the safety guidelines on the label. If you have questions regarding safety precautions of specific products, consult your agronomist.

After each use, PPE should be cleaned or thrown away. There is little point in wearing protective gear if your safety items are going to accumulate residue that you touch later.

  1. Safety First!

You’d think it’d be impossible to miss a machine this large on the road, but car vs. tractor accidents account for nearly 50 fatalities each year in the US. In some states, the frequency of these collisions is increasing, as farming operations grow in scale and tractors travel public roads to switch fields. Before getting on the road, double check that all your lights and signs are in proper order. Be a defensive driver, signal well ahead of time, and don’t assume cars can see you.

Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on our roads. While drivers texting behind the wheel tops the list of distractions, other risky actions include talking — whether it be on the phone or to others in the car, setting your navigation, adjusting what you’re listening to, drinking coffee, applying makeup, and more. By driving distracted, you’re robbing yourself of seconds that you may need to avoid a close call or deadly crash.

In 2020, distracted driving killed 3,142 people. Young drivers seem more prone to using their phones while driving. According to NHTSA research from 2017, drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers have since 2007. But make no mistake: It isn’t just young people who are driving distracted, since drivers in other age groups don’t lag far behind. 

Drive Responsibly

April, which is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, is a good time to regroup and take responsibility for the choices we make when we’re on the road. Follow these safety tips for a safe ride every time: 

  • Need to send a text? Pull over and park your car in a safe location. Only then is it safe to send or read a text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not scroll through apps, including social media, while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

The Consequences

During a portion of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, from April 4 – 11, you may see increased law enforcement on the roadways as part of the national paid media campaign U Drive. U Text. U Pay. This campaign reminds drivers of the deadly dangers and the legal consequences – including fines – of texting behind the wheel. On April 7, state highway safety offices and law enforcement agencies across the country will take part in “Connect to Disconnect,” a 4-hour national distracted driving enforcement and awareness initiative. The goal is to demonstrate a nationwide commitment to enforcing texting laws in a fair and equitable way, and to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted drivers, ultimately preventing injuries and deaths associated with cell phone use and texting while driving.

Forty-eight states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers; and 25 states and territories prohibit drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.

Check out the latest ALCIVIA newsletter to stay informed on all the happenings throughout the cooperative.