Research Project

By Karl Kupers on November 22, 2013

Is there enough supply to deal with current customers?

Recently we conducted a research project led by an economist at Washington State University to discover the impact of the cost of production/stable pricing model used by Shepherd’s Grain producers with some of our customers. Their research discovered many positives and concerns with questions they were asking. One concern was, and has been throughout our history, is there enough supply to deal with current customers. This concern is always heightened when new customers are highlighted within our website. We have taken steps to help alleviate those fears by contracting with our producers for two years at a time as well as building a file of new producers who are interested in marketing through Shepherd’s Grain. Also our producers have improved their ability to raise not only better quality hard wheats but greater yields as well. We are still only utilizing approximately 35% of the total grain within those farms involved in contracting with Shepherd’s Grain. They are also more willing to market through Shepherd’s Grain because of the longevity of our program. A second concern was the increase of flour types we are now producing and why. This is directly in response to customer requests and market place changes. Society is seeking more whole grain products in the baking industry so we have added Soft White whole wheat pastry flour as well as a Hard White whole wheat bread flour to our product line. In addition customers are seeking the different type of flours to enable them to use 100% Shepherd’s Grain flour in their food products. A third concern was the longevity of the relationship we have with our miller ADM. We currently have a multiyear contract with them to ensure all flour orders will be filled with Shepherd’s Grain milled grain. We have monthly meetings with operations, laboratory personnel, and management to ensure all challenges are being met. Lastly was the concern of who will take over the leadership after Fred and Karl are gone. First, neither of us is going off into the sunset yet and in an effort to make a smooth and successful transition we are conducting interviews for a new GM this week. The new person will deal with the daily operations allowing Fred and I to stay out front selling the Shepherd’s Grain story. We have had a new producer liaison in place for a year to relieve Fred of significant time and will by next spring have a new person as GM. Both of these changes were sought by Fred and I and we expect both to enhance the strength and growth of Shepherd’s Grain. Happy Thanksgiving everyone from the family of Shepherd’s Grain Producers.