Women Marketing Grain Class Teaches Long-Term Marketing Success
Navigating the ups and downs of the grain market can be a daunting challenge for farmers. Eighteen women decided to take on that challenge by participating in Women Marketing Grain in Fort Dodge. Women Marketing Grain, a four-session class, met weekly in July 2017. The class helps farm women learn more about market strategies and staying on track for long-term market success.
“The goal is that participants develop the skills to estimate their costs of production, write a grain marketing plan based on their costs of production, storage, crop insurance and cash flow needs,” said Kelvin Leibold, ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Management Specialist.
Participants took home valuable tools that they could implement immediately. “The Women Marketing Grain class was a great way for me to learn something in the classroom and then to turn around and utilize it on our farm,” said Kellie, one of the participants. “ We already have a marketing system in place, but the class gave me more knowledge and skills to be able to help make it even better. I'm able to understand more of the terminology and in turn follow the markets in order to capture what best fits our farm marketing system.”
Topics covered in the Fort Dodge four-week class included calculating and tracking basis, calculating carry in the market, storage costs, estimating cost of production, market outlook, grain contracts, futures contracts, using options, marketing strategies for both pre-harvest and post-harvest and writing and implementing a grain marketing program.
Each week, speakers shared valuable information and tools integral to long term marketing success. The July 24 class featured Cassie Stumpf, a Grain Merchandiser for New Cooperative Inc. NEW is a farmer-owned cooperative with over 4,400 member owners. They have 39 locations across Iowa and employ more than 500 full time workers. “The Woman in Ag workshop was a great opportunity for women to further their understanding of marketing grain for their farming operation,” Cassie said.
Cassie discussed the many services offered through NEW, including grain services and handling, feed production, agronomy sales and recommendations, and transportation. She explained cash bids, basis and futures and shared some examples. “Grain marketing plays a vital role in drawing the line between a profitable and non-profitable farm,” said Cassie. “My main objective was to educate those attending the class on the different types of grain contracts offered, so they could begin taking advantage of those options in the future,” she added.
Women Marketing Grain and all other ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag classes provide opportunities to learn from experts like Cassie, as well as network with other farm women. “We also hope they gain an understanding of the tools to use in different market situations looking at storage costs, basis, and the carry in the market,” Kelvin said.