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Better marketing

Agriculture.com Staff 03/10/2006 @ 12:34pm

The recently released March 2006 Successful Farming Magazine published an ag poll question, "What would you most like to learn this year?" The results were as follows. Better marketing 38%; better management 28%; a new enterprise 14%; how to boost yields 10%; better family relations 8%; better welding 2%. More and more, farmers are recognizing the value of a marketing plan that provides a strategic approach which can offer significant long-term financial benefit.

Readers of the Perspective are certainly familiar with our encouragement for farmers to learn to become better marketers. Step one is developing a marketing toolbox. Your toolbox is made up of different marketing tools that could be used at any given time.

The days of producing, storing and hoping have not paid big dividends in the last decade. However, producers who recognize the value and use forward contracts, futures and options, as well as other strategic plans have experienced financial advantages in recent years. Early sales are generally better sales, as U.S. farmers have become more consistent in producing large crops year-in and year-out. Therefore, early planning and strategies have worked well due to low prices at harvest.

After you understand your different marketing options and have developed a toolbox, then you need the discipline and sophistication to implement a plan. This is step two. It is one thing to have knowledge but another to have the discipline to implement strategies. We recommend a plan that will maximize opportunities and shift risk. Progressive farmers want to learn marketing alternatives and become disciplined, less emotional marketers.

The third step to better marketing is communication. This means being able to communicate well with professionals that can help you. It is one thing to have the ideas, but if you do not have the right marketing tool, discipline (or for that matter, someone who can help you implement a strategy), all good intentions can go by the wayside. Markets are usually unforgiving once a top is in. They can drop hard and fast. A good plan takes into account the possibility of the market moving up or down at anytime. Discuss your strategy with someone who can help design a plan for your needs and help you implement it with confidence.

We often say that marketing is the last frontier for farmers. You are good at farming and, unlike your forefathers, have better equipment, plant genetics and most likely more land. Mother Nature willing, you are good producers. What may, however, separate top-notch producers from mediocre producers is not their ability to produce, but to market.

f you have questions or comments, please contact Top Farmer at 1-800- TOP-FARM, ext. 129.

The recently released March 2006 Successful Farming Magazine published an ag poll question, "What would you most like to learn this year?" The results were as follows. Better marketing 38%; better management 28%; a new enterprise 14%; how to boost yields 10%; better family relations 8%; better welding 2%. More and more, farmers are recognizing the value of a marketing plan that provides a strategic approach which can offer significant long-term financial benefit.

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