greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hi. My name is Gary Hansen. I'm a farmer in Nebraska and my company, Pleasant Hill Grain, sells bulk whole grain wheat, corn, soybeans and oats. (Stabilized whole oat groats is a brand-new addition to our offerings.) All grain is high quality, exceptionally clean, is dried to 10% moisture, and is chemical free. We ship serious quantities of these staple grains by economical truck freight and we're currently shipping in ten days or less. We take Visa, MC or MO's, and we do invite people to get their grain at our farm in Nebraska if they wish.

We also sell mills. We sell the Family Grain mill for $127 delivered in the 48 states (~1 week shipping time) and we have the Country Living mill IN STOCK at $485 plus UPS including the corn/bean auger.

We are, by some standards, a small company, and although Y2K demand is high, we still offer personal service and fast shipping times. I'd like to invite everyone to visit our website at www.pleasanthillgrain.com. Even if you aren't looking for grain or mills now, we have a great deal of useful information and links including a page of recommended books that can be purchased online through Amazon.

Thank you,

Gary Hansen

-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), March 25, 1999


What are your per ton prices? Can you break out Hard Red Spring Wheat? What type of corn is it? Are the oats a hull-less variety or are they dehulled? What size is your basic unit of purchase?

-- David (ConnectingDots@Information.Net), March 25, 1999.

Hi Gary,

Would you mind posting the power requirements for the Family Grain Mill? (i.e. watts or amps) Thank you!

-- Debbie (dbspence@usa.net), March 25, 1999.

Re: the corn, wheat -- read the web site, the guy has a lot of info on it.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), March 25, 1999.


Many of the loads we ship to individuals are in the 1-ton range, and the price table near the top of our main page applies (from the 15-plus line.) Unlike many providers, we do not deal, even as an option, in very small quantities at very high prices. Our customers are those who have studied consumption rates and have come to the conclusion that a few 5 or 10 or 25 pound bags won't accomplish their purposes. We have structured our services to provide the maximum bang for your buck. Almost on a daily basis we're confronted by opportunities to offer new items or to sell in some new way. In almost every case we come back to the philosophy that what we are able to do very well is provide a lot of excellent grain, selected and prepared for home use and long term storage, at a very low delivered price... and that if we multiply the complexity of what we do, our resources will be pulled away from providing the maximum amount of quality grain to the maximum number of people, and doing it at the minimum possible price. For the most part, anything else we offer (such as mills) is offered because it compliments the purchase/use of grains.

I can well imagine that my point is getting lost here :-)... I'll digress a little further, and then try to pull it back together. We have not had anyone complain about our service, but I have read some rather scathing commentaries about the efforts of a few other Y2K goods/services providers of various stripes. It may well be that a good deal of those criticisms were fully justified; not being involved, I don't know. But from my perspective I can see that most of the purchasing public really isn't able to appreciate the magnitude of the challenges facing business people working to provide Y2K solutions. Just as shoppers face a perceived deadline to accomplish their objectives, so do these providers -- but with a few aggravating circumstances. For one, providers must anticipate and prepare for demand long before it materializes. In an environment as unstable as the Y2K market, that takes either prescience or luck and probably both... and in most cases, a lot of hard work. For another, many of those who have what GI's call Y2K-awareness don't happen to also be MBA's with 10 years or more of real-world production or retail experience under their belts. Meaning that if some guy has the foresight to have hocked his new truck and purchased 250 quality water filters last November, we may be fortunate that he made that move... but he may not have the retail sales acumen we're used to from the executives of Wal-Mart, and operating under the strain that plenty of people are feeling now doesn't help, either. So dealing with him may not be the seamless experience we've grown accustomed to at the mall.

So... the point of all this: We'd love to provide every manner of product and provide those many products in a wide range of shapes, forms and delivery options. But the fact is that every tiny new wrinkle adds more overhead (in several forms, most notably time) than almost anyone would imagine, looking in from the outside. Compensating for that overhead requires either prices or volume to rise. When you're already dealing, as in our case, with hundreds of tons of material that you must physically move from place to place (manually, at some stages), manifold-increases in volume handling potential don't just happen from one week (or even month) to the next. In corporate America, doubling or tripling already-high rates of production is accomplished with teams of trained people, large budgets, risk-analysis and abatement, market studies, and the prudent amount of time. Largely none of which the Y2K entrepreneur can afford in his or her circumstances.

We have a relatively few products, a relatively small number of price brackets, and primarily one carefully-selected, cost-effective means of getting those products to buyers. This approach might not be justified for selling, say, solar showers. But if cutting overhead to the bone accomplishes the goal of trimming costs on a core dietary element that people want to obtain in large quantities, we've found that many people are very happy that we do very little... but do it to their benefit and satisfaction. I hope you'll forgive me for the "treatise"; your question about quantity discounts just kind of brought up some thoughts that I haven't been able to share with my forklift lately :-)

The short answer would have been: The prices at our site are the "quantity prices." The other answers are... we don't sell spring wheat; we're tripping over ourselves in the warehouse as it is. The corn is food-grade milling corn. If you'd like to read a detailed description of it, there is one in our site's FAQ, under "Q3." The oat groats are hulled, and are discussed under "Q4." You asked what our basic unit of purchase is. We offer customers the flexibility to order (generally by 5's) most any quantity they desire, 6 bags or more.

Significant savings can be realized on freight by increasing order sizes, and quite a few of our customers do this by buying with one or more friends in their area.

Thanks for your questions David. We'd be happy to serve you in any way we can. If you have any other questions for us, please don't hesitate to ask.

-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), March 25, 1999.


Good question! No one has ever asked. I should explain that the basic mill, as we sell it, is not motorized but hand-operated. There is, however, a motor-base option, and I will find out the power draw as soon as possible and get back to you. I'll also mention that the motor base is the one accessory for the Family Grain mill that is on back order now. They're backordered because the U.S. distributor insisted that the German factory improve the on/off switch before they ship any more of them here.


-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), March 25, 1999.

FYI, my husband and I just got an order from Pleasant Hill Grains last week and we were very pleased with our grains. We purchased wheat, soybeans and corn. Gary was courteous and prompt in getting information to us before we placed our order.

I have no connection with Gary other than being a satisfied customer! Any of you other regulars out there ordered from him? I wish him the best. Mary

-- Mary Howe (doesnotmatter@thistime.com), March 25, 1999.

Yes, I ordered corn from Gary...arrived quickly and in good condition. Nice, yellow, large kerneled corn...gonna make some corn bread with it this weekend while it's cold and rainy outside. yum!

I too found Gary and his wife both to be courteous and not lacking in good humor. Ask him about the NDE of his cow Betsy.

-- Shelia (shelia@active-stream.com), March 26, 1999.

Gary, good idea to come on this forum and sell to us poor doomers. Trouble is, i dont think you're really from Nebraska. I think you're a slick salesman or corn broker from the 'big city'.

!!!!!!**TROLL ALERT**!!!!!!

-- bj (waytogo@waytogo.com), March 27, 1999.

BJ, given your email address, it's funny you're calling me a troll.

But I admit, you caught me. Drive on out to the address at the bottom of our home page and we'll have coffee at the Starbuck's across the street.

Bring a long straw.

-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), March 27, 1999.

Hi Gary,

A couple more questions if you don't mind. Does the food-grade Diatomaceous Earth make the grain taste any different (bad)? Is it a lot of work to sift the D.E. back out once you're ready to use the grain? Or is it as they say "transparent to the user"?

Thank you for providing the service and the information on your site, it is clear you have done a lot of good work in the past few months.

-- Debbie (dbspence@usa.net), March 27, 1999.

Thanks Gary for the information. Have some Y2K friends in the city that buy all their bulk grain, corn, rice they need at their local health food store and at a 10% off regular price. Can get it within a week and there are no shipping costs. A college friend of mine in LA went to a local ethnic food store and bought rice, mung beans, split pea, and lintels at unbelievable prices. These were all in 25 lbs and 50 lbs bags. The store owner ordered it all specially for him.

-- thinkIcan (thinkIcan@make.it), March 27, 1999.


I talked to the U.S. distributor of the Family Grain mill about the power draw of the motor base. 150 watts. And I suppose it's 115 volts. I've never actually seen the motor base. We've sold a few, but the way we operate is that the Family Grain mill orders we take are shipped from the Florida distributor directly to buyers. We don't work for them, but this is an efficient arrangement that helps keep the cost down. If you find someone who hasn't, as I have, forgotten the formula, they can figure the amps from the volts and the watts. No doubt a web search would produce the formula. One of these days I'll ask for a FAX of the motor base manual. Btw, the base sold by the Family Grain mill distributor is not Bosch brand but the motor in it is genuine Bosch.

DE is tasteless and has no influence on the taste of foods it's applied to. It's mostly calcium, with an array of trace minerals. It can be washed off the grain, and some people do wash grain with water before they use it, regardless of whether they use DE, but of course if you're going to mill it after washing, you do have to re-dry it first. We've discovered a way that removes the DE effectively without wetting, and is also easy and fast. Lay a bath towel (a dish towel might work) on a table and spread your grain over a section of one end of the towel. Fold the other half of the towel over the layer of grain and just rub the grain between the towel halves briefly (leaving the towel flat on the table.) Long term milling of DE-treated grain can accelerate mill head wear somewhat, so removal is probably a good idea before milling. Most people use grain gradually in small amounts, so this is no real problem. As our site explains, we ship the DE separately (at no charge), so our customers have the option of whether and how they use it. The beauty of DE is that, in addition to being a natural product, it provides permanent protection even if a container is opened -- either intentionally or accidentally. From the time you apply it (by just rolling a half-bucket of grain over a few times with a spoonful of the DE) to the time you remove it, any bug of any kind that ventures into the treated grain has a very short life expectancy and will never reproduce. Reproduction is the problem with insect infestation. Wheat weevils, for example, have a life cycle of about 3 weeks. In a few months a few become thousands and then tens of thousands. Kill those first few and everything is fine. DE is the peace-of-mind method of insect-proofing. Once it's on, you don't have to wonder about seals or anything else (assuming the grain is dry, of course.) As the links from our site explain in greater detail, DE works by scratching and dessicating insects. Because its sharp edges are so small, food-grade DE has no harmful effects on larger organisms -- like us.

Thanks for the thanks :-) It's been an education for us too, in many areas.

-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), March 27, 1999.

To ThinkICan:

Those can be good sources. One thing to bear in mind is that airtight, long-term storage (such as in sealed buckets) is not the typical way to keep grain, and grain standards weren't established with Y2K in mind. When you seal grain in a bucket (or whatever), you stop the natural exchange of gases. Remember that a kernal of grain is a living organism. With no gas exchange, the moisture level must be around 10% for safe storage. Most grain normally has a higher moisture level than that. The normal moisture standard for #1 yellow corn, for instance, is 15.5% -- more than half-again the safe level if you want to seal it away from humidity, vermin, and any other threats. Drying the various grains down to "Y2K-Good" levels is a major part of the service we provide; wherever you buy, be sure you get approximately 10% moisture (it isn't very expensive to have it tested... assurance alone won't protect your grain.) Put your bright, clean grain into buckets at too high a moisture content and you'll open them later to be greeted by a solidified, molded mass.

I'll also invite everyone to compare our prices... shipping and all... to those of urban retail stores. Remember, if it gets to you, there was a transportation cost. If it isn't added to the price, it's included with the price.

-- Gary Hansen (zz@hamilton.net), March 27, 1999.

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