Phew… I’m sure glad we got that first year in grain marketing behind us! When I joined Emerge and their partnership with FarmLink a year ago, I felt that my previous experience in marketing would have prepared me for anything! Well, what an altogether crazy, volatile, painful, wonderful, exciting and rewarding year it was! (Let me explain.) Coming off the 2012 crop year where prices were up and grain was moving (well, moving better), to the 2013 year of insane drops in price and the appalling logistical back-up; I can comfortably say that I have an extraordinary amount of confidence in the FarmLink Analytical Team! Looking back at the performance of our timed sales throughout the year and the times we had to put our heads down and order the contracts, we ended up finishing well above the average selling prices! That is a huge success and very rewarding given the conditions of the year!
Recently my main focus has been on crop budgets and profitability for the 2014 crop year! It has been proven to me that each farm can be shockingly different in terms of which crops will provide the most return on investment. We must adhere to particular agronomic rotations, but may also consider crop substitutes where possible. We work diligently to pin-point cost of production, combined with historic yields, FarmLink’s forecasted prices, and market research. We use this data to formulate a plan of what to seed and what to market when, in order to service cash-flow and storage requirements throughout the year.
Moving forward, one of my main goals as a Marketing Advisor is to promote education in grain marketing to the growers in this region! Whether you market through a professional organization (such as FarmLink) or you do it on your own, taking time and learning the ins and outs of grain markets is a crucial matter to your business moving forward!
Grain marketing is an area that every farmer can feel good about – if they accept that there’s a certain amount of time, effort and skill involved in setting up a plan, and then put the resources in place to do it properly.
There’s a big difference between talking about the markets and analyzing the markets. All the news and information that swirls around coffee shops, and is freely available on Twitter and the Internet, isn’t all that helpful on its own to farmers trying to make smart decisions. Market analysts, whether they work for grain companies or independent businesses like ours, move through a number of steps using specific tools that distill market information into market analysis. Marketing advisors apply the forecasts and opinions that come out of the analytical process to create and execute a strategy for selling the crop.
FarmLink’s Chief Analyst/Co-Founder, Brenda Tjaden-Lepp has wrote an excellent e-book explaining how to go about proper grain marketing. I encourage all growers to visit the following link: http://www.farmlinksolutions.ca/presentations, and take a read on “A Farmer’s Guide to MARKETING GRAIN IN WESTERN CANADA.”
Brenda covers many elements such as:
Supply and Demand
Building a Marketing Plan
Formulating Planting Decisions
Basis and Bundled Programs
I do understand that your reading time may be cut a little short this time of year; please remember that I am only a phone-call/text/email away, and I would be happy to help you!
Also, I send a weekly article out to everyone on Emerge’s Grower E-mail list; if you have not been receiving these articles and would like to, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would sincerely like to thank all of the growers who have put their trust in me to help manage their grain marketing this past year; and I wish all growers a safe and prosperous crop year!
From Lacey Gerbrandt, FarmLink Marketing Advisor