WNC Brewer’s Grain Alliance

hops-conesConnecting Farmers to a Feed Supply

The Concept

By connecting and collaborating with brewers, the transportation sector and farmers, the WNC Brewer’s Grain, LLC will create an efficient, low-cost, and sustainable access-and-delivery system that acquires brewer’s grain at the source and delivers it to farmers feeding livestock. Facilitating farmers’ access to brewer’s grain will also help farmers free up cropland that is currently dedicated to field corn, so those acres can instead produce other crops, thereby increasing and diversifying farm revenue.

The Network

The LLC has created WNC Brewer’s Grain Alliance that will involve brewers, who create the brewer’s grain as part of the brewing process; the transportation sector, which will help aggregate and distribute the brewer’s grain; and farmers, who will utilize the brewer’s grain as an alternative feed source for their beef cattle, dairy cattle and other livestock. By coordinating these partners and resources, the network will create an effective, efficient, and sustainable system to benefit all members of the Alliance.

Service Provider

On behalf of its members, the LLC will contract with breweries, vendors, service contractors, and support groups as necessary to accomplish the delivery process.

Budget and Fiscal Support

The alliance will seek start-up funds through business, foundation, and agency grants to launch the effort and then transition to a self-sustained business operation by adding a fair mark-up to the brewer’s grain purchase price sufficient to ensure financial solvency. One concept is to purchase at lower than market cost during a start-up period and sell at “market price,” and then use the proceeds to build up the necessary cash flow to support ongoing operations.

Membership Fees

A reasonable membership fee may be required by farmers to allow participation in the benefits of the alliance. One possibility would entail paying $0.25 per head, with a minimum of $25.00 and a maximum of $250.00. Such a membership structure would instill a sense of commitment to the cause and a feeling of ownership of the Alliance, thereby ensuring loyalty to the program.

Educational Component

The Alliance will cooperate with NC State, NC State Cooperative Extension, and other educational entities to educate farmers about the practical and effective use of brewer’s grain.

Development And Operational Advice & Governance

Operating under the auspices of the WNC Communities’ Board of Directors, a steering committee made up of farmers and agriculture leaders has been named to function as advisors to an executive committee, who are in turn entrusted with the governance of the LLC and the associated Alliance.