April 2011 Newsletter

By Karl Kupers on April 27, 2011

Within the last month our Federal government was describing a potential shutdown and stating that “non-essential” employees would be the first affected. That of course brought forward the thought; if they are non-essential then why are they employed in the first place. Not getting involved politically, I do understand what that meant but it did make me think about who is non-essential and who is essential in any business or project.

I have always believed that there is someone out there just as good or better as I in any thing I do and realize that I am always replaceable. When one thinks they are not then in my belief, trouble looms. Yes this is more significant in your thinking when older age is considered and that is where I am today.

The future of Shepherd’s Grain has become more predominant in the thinking of our producers and producer/owners and that is a compliment to our current level of success. Fortunately we are undertaking steps to consider succession and stability in management over the next few years. It is important but it wasn’t until I was speaking with a current customer the other day that I realized it was important for others to know as well. We have been spending time working with and informing our farmer base about the intentions and effort to create programs and policies to prepare a stable platform for the future but I had not thought of its’ importance to our customer. The producer is concerned that he or she is making considerable changes and costs in their operations to find ways to utilize the Shepherd’s Grain marketing program and to make sure there is a long term future for those investments to pay off. Conversely, the customer too has made changes to their production systems as well as marketing and promotional efforts to take advantage of their decisions. So I am here to say that the current management team has and continues to make sure that all programs and policies can proceed through changes if and when they happen. Our logistics are understood by our trucking company as well as the miller. Our accounting is known and could be administered by our accounting firm. Our marketing and promotion is backed by cross training within the management team. All this has been written down so it is more than just in our minds and actions. The last point of importance is to wrap up all the little loose ends that are always out there in any business before growth and expansion really develop. This was suggested by our attorney and it is very clear he was correct.

We are excited to now take this stability in assessing and managing our future and allow it to aid us in growth. We have been tweaking our message to convey our story better, creating new tag lines, making a small change to the logo, and creating new marketing materials to aid our customers in extending the story of Shepherd’s Grain. We have been working on developing a new line of flour to add to our inventory, a Hard White Whole Wheat that will be available this fall. All this to convey to you that Shepherd’s Grain is here for the long term providing you a quality product from regional production.

As always, thank you for your support.