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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

ADM, Cargill Launch Tech JV, Grainbridge

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill have partnered through a joint venture to launch Grainbridge, a technology platform providing grain marketing decision support, and e-commerce and account management software for farmers in North America.

“While remaining strong competitors, we recognize the need to advance technology for farmers and believe that together we can accomplish that common goal,” said Wes Uhlmeyer, president, ADM Grain.

Through the platform, grain farmers in the U.S. and Canada will have access to digital tools designed to consolidate information regarding production economics and grain marketing activity through a single portal at no cost to the user.

"Farmers can more effectively market grain and improve their profitability using technology and data analytics," said Roger Watchorn, president of Cargill's North American agricultural supply chain. "They need digital tools that seamlessly connect their production and cost-of-production data from a variety of sources already used on their farms—but those tools simply aren't available today.”

In the Beginning

One of the initial tools to be made available through Grainbridge is a dashboard that will allow farmers secure access to their contracts, scale tickets, and payment information for transactions conducted with both ADM and Cargill. This knowledge will give farmers insight into their current grain position as well as real-time opportunities.

"Farmers deserve the convenience of technology that gives them the power to make quick, effective and fact-based grain marketing decisions," said Uhlmeyer. "This new joint venture will provide for these needs with a single, powerful, easy-to-use platform for farmers to manage their accounts, make grain marketing decisions and execute transactions. We're particularly excited to work with Cargill on this joint venture to offer an unparalleled array of tools that provide farmers across the country access to powerful decision support, business intelligence and transactional efficiency.”

Following the launch of the dashboard, Grainbridge plans to introduce a service that will allow farmers to execute grain transactions on their own schedule. Using automated intelligence, the platform will track changing break-even levels based on the current crop conditions, illustrate margin price targets, total current grain and risk management positions, revenue at risk, and provide access to benchmark and historical insights.

"We are often asked by our farmer customers to provide technology solutions that provide them relief to a problem they are experiencing—and we can sense the underlying need to solve a variety of problems that go unmentioned," said Uhlmeyer. "This new platform will be a tool they've long needed that solves many of those known and suspected pain points we hear about each day. We're excited to bring these types of innovative and progressive solutions to the industry."

Grainbridge is taking an open approach, inviting other grain companies, grain buyers, and technology and data providers to take advantage and participate in its services. By doing so, the information available through the platform will become deeper. However, Grainbridge will not include an individual farmer’s data unless given approval, and individual customer data will not be share between principal companies.

"The ultimate goal is to help farmers make better, smarter decisions, using the data that is already existing in their operations. We are simply putting that data and related insights at their fingertips, allowing them to more effectively adapt to changing market conditions," said Watchorn. "Both Cargill and ADM are committed to helping farmers succeed. It's why we're in this business, and why we'll continue to invest in these tools well into the future."

A Week Later

The announcement of this joint venture comes only a week after ADM, Bunge, Cargill, and Louis Dreyfus, the four global behemoth agribusinesses known as the A-B-C-D’s, announced they are partnering to pursue ways to use technology to digitize and standardize the global agricultural commodity value chain.

As an initial goal, the four companies the companies stated that they plan to focus on technologies that work to automate grain and oilseed processes that occur post-trade, as these are often the most manual and high-cost points of the supply chain. This first step will work to shorten document processing lead times, reduce wait times, and improve end-to-end contract visibility.

Longer vision goals include a more digital-based approach that will eliminate other manual and paper-based processes having to do with contracts, invoices, and payments to create greater reliability, transparency, and efficiency.

“We expect an industry-wide initiative of this nature to be able to accelerate improvements in data management and business processes, and bring much-needed automation to the industry,” said Soren Schroder, CEO, Bunge.

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