Women Marketing Grain Class Wraps Up in Boone
July 12, 2019
Marketing grain can be challenging, but sixteen women recently completed a Women Marketing Grain course through Boone County Extension to learn more about the ins and outs of the grain marketing business. “Women in our area have been becoming more involved in grain marketing decisions and this series gave participants practical tools to take back to their operations immediately,” said Alexandria Merk, Boone County Extension Director.
Women Marketing Grain is taught by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists, along with local ag business professionals with grain marketing experience. Participants gain knowledge by learning how to manage price risk using marketing tools like forward contracts, futures and options contracts, alternative marketing contracts, and crop insurance.
Nancy Brannaman has been away from agriculture for several years and now manages her family’s farm. “I wanted to learn about new marketing tools, sources of information, and marketing decision aids to help me do a good job marketing grain produced on our farm,” said Brannaman.
According to Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, corn price volatility during the June 2019 class was at levels not seen in five years. “Women attending the Women Marketing Grain Series in Boone were enlightened as to the various marketing tools and strategies available to them and their farming operations. Class assignments required the development of both old and new crop marketing plans. Many of the participants locked in higher old and new crop corn prices as a result of attending this series,” Johnson said. “ These strategies will add to their 2019 and 2020 gross farm income,” Johnson added.
Brannaman was familiar with some of the strategies and tools before taking Women Marketing Grain, but she developed additional skills and knowledge to apply to her farm operation. “I learned about many types of cash marketing contracts that the elevator, which my father had always used, doesn’t offer,” Brannaman said. “I am comfortable with futures and options, but I needed to learn more about basis contracts, minimum price contracts, and other cash alternatives. In addition, I think the marketing workbook developed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa Farm Bureau is really great. It is comprehensive, yet simple and straight-forward.”
Participants who took Women Marketing Grain also learned a great deal from each other, while developing a network of their own. “Women’s programming is a lot more interactive with more discussion and group sharing,” said farm management specialist Tim Christensen. “The networking among the class and the friendships I saw develop was also very remarkable.”
In fact, several participants are continuing to meet on their own. “Four of us from the class are going to meet once a month from now on to discuss our marketing plans and help each other with marketing questions, and questions about the farm programs and crop insurance,” Brannaman said. “The class was a great way to build lasting friendships,” she added.