STRATUM is Coming: Improved Grain Marketing Technology
Keeping track of your business with different grain buyers can be overwhelming today. You have to maintain separate logins, match spreadsheets with sales tickets, and manually total transactions to see if you’re profitable. All tough to do on the fly when you need to make sound decisions fast.
This is why ADM is fully embracing this new software platform called STRATUM, scheduled to launch in early 2020. With STRATUM, you’ll be able to retrieve your participating grain buyer accounts so you can obtain location information, prices, grain contracts, and payment information. Down the road, you’ll be able to enter into and manage grain contracts and see your farm’s profitability with all of your info in one secure place.
The platform comes from GrainBridge, a leading developer of ag tech for the past decade. The company’s Chief Strategy Officer, Faith Larson, sat down for an interview with ADM’s Doug Roose, Vice President of Producer Marketing, at the Farm Progress Show to discuss the value of STRATUM for farmers.
Note: The platform name STRATUM was introduced after this recording.
Here are key questions and answers from the discussion:
GrainBridge is farm management software many farmers already use. What’s new?
GrainBridge has been operating for over a decade, offering tools that help with risk management and grain marketing. But now we have the ability to take grain marketing technology to all new places—under a new name, STRATUM.
When will STRATUM be available and what will the first version provide?
The technology we’re creating will be released in multiple stages. With the first release in early 2020, farmers will be able create their STRATUM account and have immediate access to cash bids and prices in their area, location information, and to view their accounts with their grain buyers who are on the system—to date, ADM and Cargill.
What will the next functions be in later updates?
After the “basics” in version one, we’re building out the capabilities for a farmer to actually manage contracts, and sell grain through the system. That’s the most critical piece: allowing farmers to do business when and how they want to.
What specific information will STRATUM be able to track for me?
All the data you need to make the best grain marketing decision all in one location: My input costs, acreage, yield, what I’m producing today, what I need to break even in my operation, and what I want as my price point to achieve profitability. Then, as I see prices, I can decide to execute. I don’t have to go out or pick up the phone. I can access the grain buyer through the site, execute a contract, and manage the transaction. Then STRATUM will provide real-time updates for how that impacts my operation. It does the math for you.
Will the platform also show me how change in the market could impact me?
Absolutely. It will show what your current position looks like, what you have left from an unsold grain perspective, what you have outstanding in contracts, and a real-time calculation of what your bottom-line impact is in terms of profitability. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we want our farmers to experience. Better profitability, selling grain at the best price possible for their operation, and having the transparency for what they can do.
What kind of privacy protections are in place for the data?
Those issues are of utmost importance to the farmer and to us, the developer. No specific farmer information will be disclosed to anyone on the system. A farmer will have to make a decision to provide a financial report or grant access to a third party, such as their ag lender. Otherwise, nobody will have access to any personal data. Grain buyers will only have access to the information that farmers provide through STRATUM in order to execute a contract—nothing additional.
Have farmers tested the technology to make sure it works for them?
We have a farmer advisory board that looks at what we’re developing and provides feedback, which has been very positive. They tell us it’s currently very difficult, when they need to make a marketing decision, to access all the data points that matter. If they can have a tool that organizes that information, calculates it so they can think fast, and then executes a contract right then and there in the tool—with dashboards showing the impact—that’s exactly what they want.
Will this change the relationship a farmer has with a local grain merchandiser?
You’ll still have every opportunity to reach out and ask questions and connect. But this is purely about having real-time information to make the best marketing decisions at the time you need to make them and at the price you need. It might be at midnight during harvest time when it’s not conducive to sell your grain by traditional means. That’s what we’re trying to accommodate with STRATUM: keeping up with what other industries are doing today.
In addition to being available to current customers of ADM and Cargill, the STRATUM platform is open to other grain companies. Even if a farmer does not currently do business with ADM or Cargill, the platform will still be useful for organizing production costs, tracking price targets and offers, and seeing prices.
To learn more about STRATUM, call 800-515-5657 or visit GrainBridge.com/stratum.
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