“Business As Usual” for Viterra Customers Following Glencore Xstrata’s Acquisition (PCN Fall 2013) OCT 21 2013 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Pulse Crop News.
When it comes to grain handling in western Canada, it’s pretty much business as usual for Viterra Inc., says Kyle Jeworski, Viterra’s President and CEO for North America. Following Glencore’s recent acquisition of the company in December 2012, very little has changed in the day-to-day operations for Viterra’s farm customers.
“It’s still very much a regional model,” says Jeworski, who has been with the organization since 1996. “Within that, we continue to operate as Viterra Inc. and have ultimate regional autonomy within that structure.”
And while the regional business model remains virtually unchanged, growers are already benefiting from the international reach Viterra has gained through its merger with Glencore.
“Glencore on the grain side is represented in all major destinations in which Canadian grain is sold,” Jeworski says. “As a part of the larger Glencore entity, we’ve really been able to utilize that international expertise, that international risk management. We’ve been able to both build upon our regional model while also tapping into that international exposure.”
Drawing on Glencore’s well-developed international marketing network, financial strength, and supply-chain management efficiencies is allowing Viterra to expand delivery opportunities for all major crops here in Canada – and pulses are no exception, according to Jeworski.
“Our goal is to provide that important link between the producer and the end-user,” he says. “Because of our increased international reach, we’re able to offer growers a financially dependable world-wide market outlook for every major pulse that’s grown in Alberta.”
Viterra has been actively involved in the Canadian pulse industry for decades, providing support to provincial grower groups like Alberta Pulse Growers and national bodies like Pulse Canada. Jeworski feels that the entire industry has benefitted from this active collaboration.
“Given the nature of our export of pulse crops, our job is really more than just handling of pulses in Alberta,” says Jeworski. “It’s also marketing those pulses worldwide, and we’re better able to do that because of Pulse Canada’s market access work and our involvement in all aspects of the trade.”
Jeworski believes that Viterra’s international exposure and marketing expertise will continue to enhance growth opportunities within the pulse industry. “We’ve got very good connections in all major pulse destinations globally, and we’ll use that information to continue to connect with pulse growers in western Canada and look for new ways to service those producers.”
For Viterra, that means both expanding delivery opportunities at Viterra’s high throughputs and increasing inland processing capacity. With this renewed focus on grain marketing and handling, Viterra is in the process of divesting its agri-products group, which will allow the company to reinvest further in its grain handling infrastructure. With Viterra’s recent announcement of over $20 million in upgrades to four facilities in Saskatchewan – at White Star, Humboldt, Waldron, and Ituna – growers can expect to see further plans to reinvest in regional plants in its Alberta asset network going forward.
“Our continued focus on operational excellence means that we’ve got a first-class network within Alberta, from high throughput facilities to specialty plants, but we’re always looking for ways to create value for our farm customers at the local level,” Jeworski says. “That goes beyond the day-to-day business. We take pride in being part of every community that we’re involved in, and seeing how we can best continue to build on that strong tradition is important to us.”
This commitment to serving rural communities will continue to play a major role in Viterra’s future development plans.
“We have almost a hundred years of history in Alberta, and for a hundred years, we’ve had to earn farmers’ business day in and day out. That’s something we don’t take for granted,” said Jeworski. “And we’re committed to expanding our expertise and our service to continue to earn that business each day.”