Iowa Commodity Challenge Helps Improve Crop Marketing Skills

Program offers simulation using real world prices to help explore various marketing strategies

November 14, 2016, 10:14 am | Chad Hart, Steven Johnson

AMES, Iowa – The real world of crop markets is reflected in the website Iowa Commodity Challenge, developed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Farm Bureau. Website users can explore how various tools work – without putting their actual money on the table.

Iowa Commodity ChallengeThe site, hosted on the Ag Decision Maker website, contains 14 instructional videos explaining various aspects of marketing. Three new videos – Successful Market Planning, Using Crop Contracts and Working with Your Grain Merchandiser – have been recently added.

Also included is an updated 65-page Marketing Tools Workbook and a variety of learning activities. The workbook provides the basics on marketing tools as well as setting personal marketing goals and resources participants can use on their own farm operation.

Online commodities simulation game

Participants can choose to join in an online grain market simulation game to help improve marketing skills. The game includes using futures and ag options as marketing tools, and participation can also help users improve strategies to sell cash corn and soybeans.

“It gives players a chance to look at commodity markets and how they work over the course of several months,” said Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This game reflects what is going on in the real world markets so participants are able to try out some marketing strategies in a setting where they can explore how these various marketing tools work.”

As a part of the online grain market simulation game, participants are given 75,000 bushels of corn and 25,000 bushels of soybeans stored commercially to market before spring using March 2017 corn and soybean futures. Storage costs will accrue on bushels as if they were in the bin (six cents per bushel per month).

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