Total Grain Marketing LLC

Amidst volatility, a coop shares its logic alongside its services
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

Total Grain Marketing (TGM) has experienced exponential growth in the 10 years since its inception. Headquartered in Effingham, Illinois, TGM is a full-service grain company offering various grain marketing options to both producers and consumers via 33 locations in 12 counties with 38 million bushels of storage along interstates 57 and 70. This allows its fleet of 35 trucks to conveniently haul grain to nearby terminals in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

Without growing pains

Established in 2006, TGM is the product of a joint venture between three companies: Effingham-Clay Service Company, Growmark Inc. and Wabash Valley Service Company. Prior to TGM’s formation, Effingham-Clay owned four established elevators in Effingham, Neoga, Toledo and Louisville, Illinois. Over the years, the company acquired 11 additional elevators throughout the Southeast. When TGM formed, the company purchased Huisinga Grain in Casey, Illinois, and Willow Hill Grain Company’s five elevators in Ingraham, Lis, Newton, Rose Hill and Willow Hill, Illinois.

TGM’s facilities have been buying grain since the 1940s and the company is now one of the largest non-multinational grain companies in Illinois. TGM currently operates 30 elevators, six of which are MIDCO Commodities branch offices with eight licensed brokers to provide service and recommendations for the future market for its customers.

Total Grain Marketing

Customers of TGM are largely in milling, ethanol, feed, grain processing, export and pet food. And eight of its locations are operating rail facilities on the Canadian National Railway, CSX Transportation, the Eastern Illinois Railroad Company and the Indiana Rail Road. These locations combined have capacity for 250 rail cars and more than 1 million bushels a day.

With numerous uses for grain coupled with the size of TGM, the company has been able to establish numerous niche markets within the grain industry.

“Our rail setups help us ship to markets in the Southeast,” says Mike Welbourne, grain manager for TGM. “In St. Louis we sell to companies such as ADM and Dreyfus, which mostly go into the export market. We have ethanol plants that we sell to in St. Louis and Palestine, Indiana.

To keep pace with ever-increasing volume, TGM constantly upgrades and expands its facilities. The company has recently added a grain bin and is currently building another one. “It’s all about increasing grain storage for our customers,” Welbourne says.

A steady return

With today’s volatile, albeit improving markets, it can be hard to make commodity-related decisions. TGM is a major participant in the AgriVisor Insight program, which allows producers to diversify the way they manage price risk. The Insight program prices 100 percent of enrolled bushels by the end of the pricing period. Its experts alert producers when a sale is made and explain their reasoning.

In 1973, Illinois Farm Bureau recognized farmers’ needs for accurate and reliable commodity news from a source they could trust. Today AgriVisor delivers in-depth market analysis and recommendations. The program is said to continually adapt its services to meet the high demands of grain marketing, especially in times of volatility. The advice and recommendations that producers receive through the program remain focused on a single objective: to improve the return of every farm business, Welbourne says.

As Total Grain Marketing serves as a leader in the Illinois grain market, the company will continue to expand by taking advantage of bourgeoning technology and acquiring and incorporating more co-ops, carrying on the tradition of which it was built in order to deal and market grain collectively.

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