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Montana Ag Network: Supply chain issues present unique opportunities for farmers

Posted at 11:02 AM, Jan 19, 2022

BILLINGS - Even as supply chain issues continue to create challenges for America’s farmers and ranchers, Columbia Grain International’s CEO Jeff Van Pevenage says it’s also an opportunity for farmers to capitalize on the current environment.

“Farmers with product in place ready to move is a good thing that creates an opportunity,” said Van Pevenage. “There's demand for these commodities. We're seeing a lot of shifts towards oilseeds with all the biodiesel discussions and the soybean and canola crushing plants that are getting built or at least are being proposed to be built in North Dakota and Canada."

"So, these are going to be good opportunities, particularly for canola and flax. These markets are really strong right now, along with pulses. I just don't know if there's really a crop that you could grow this year that isn't going to be a good return for you if we get the right weather to get some yields out of everything.”

Producers like JC Crowley from Poplar agree and appreciate Columbia Grain’s leadership and, in many cases, actually developing markets for the commodities they’re raising.

“They've been doing a few different direct marketing programs that we're starting to do with them,” said Crowley. “We're going to grow some more specific varieties of yellow peas, and they've been helping with that. My family's been doing business with them for over three generations, so we've had a good relationship with them and they've been good to us.”

Columbia Grain has this advice for farmers as they prepare for spring planting.

“Supply chain problems do exist,” said Van Pevenage. “It's a real thing. Pre-order your seed, think about your fertilizer needs. Get in line for it. Don't make last-minute decisions. I think it's going to get really difficult for people if they just make last-minute decisions.”