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Approach marketing with determination

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 5:12pm

I desperately want to see the movie, Julie and Julia. I haven't run into a woman yet who has seen it and didn't rave about it. When I ask others to pinpoint their favorite part of the movie, they simply gush, "Oh you just have to go see it for yourself!" I will.

For me Julia Childs conjures up memories of sitting on the couch with my grandma watching PBS, with Julia's jovial gestures whipping up some magical, decadent creation. She always had a way to make her cooking personal, and as much about people as recipes. She taught us that it takes courage to be imperfect. She taught us how to laugh at ourselves. She taught us how to save a burnt roast. And she taught us how to prepare an intimate dinner for two, as well as a feast for twenty.

I remember a quote of hers: "The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It's doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry soufflé. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it."

What a profound sentiment. Can you imagine baking a soufflé 27 times and failing, yet having resolve to try one more time until you got it right? I think many of you can relate… maybe in more ways than you realize. Yes, here's where I start relating this to farm marketing and finances.

When I read some of the recent postings on the Women in Ag Discussion Page, I am reminded of how amazing farm women really are. You are the wives, mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts of producers. Your measure of achievement, like Julia Childs, is not in winning awards. It is doing something daily that you appreciate and deem worthwhile. My heart goes out to all of you who are dealing with aging parents, financial matters, business decisions, working off the farm, late harvest, poor crops, marital stress and teenagers. Daily you wake up and tackle these challenges, choosing optimism, rather than pessimism, choosing to make a difference in your home and community.

Step back and observe how collectively strong you all are.

Now, in the face of financial adversity--low milk prices, low pork prices, lower grain prices--I encourage you to be strong and persist. I know that farming and the farm lifestyle is something you greatly appreciate and deem worthwhile. If your family is struggling this year because of lost pricing opportunities, stay strong: another opportunity will surely come. Volatility brings stress, but also opportunity. Now is your time to prepare for it.

As I've said before, marketing is how you get paid for your hard work. I've always encouraged women to take time to become educated and involved in your farm marketing, and there is no time like the present. It is time to review and commit to learning the marketing tools available to you, and to be aware of the possible marketing price scenarios which might unfold in the year ahead.

What do the markets look like in the months ahead? As of today, I can give you ten reasons to be bearish and ten reasons to be bullish about the markets. Markets will continue to go up and down. You need to be strategically prepared for either scenario. Have a strategy ready to go should prices go a little higher or dramatically higher, and have a strategy ready to go should prices drop a little lower, or slam a lot lower. That's how you build marketing confidence.

If you are unsure where or how to begin, please post your question to the Women in Ag Discussion Page. I'm sure that among the community of women that posts regularly, your question, comment or apprehension will be validated and answered.

In the meantime, I'll let you know how my next strawberry soufflé turns out. I'm on number 3...

If you have questions, you can reach Naomi at nblohm@stewart-peterson.com, or post a marketing question on the Women in Ag Discussion page.

I desperately want to see the movie, Julie and Julia. I haven't run into a woman yet who has seen it and didn't rave about it. When I ask others to pinpoint their favorite part of the movie, they simply gush, "Oh you just have to go see it for yourself!" I will.

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