Bryan Doherty: Historic opportunities
Never before have most farmers seen such opportunities in the commodity markets, at least according to many we talk to.
Many of the "old timers" that have been farming for 30, 40, or even 50 years have told us in some regards, "this is as good as it's ever been." It's hard to disagree when corn prices are offering significant return on investment opportunities; beans are offering record high prices to forward sell, and wheat remains volatile, offering continued opportunity. Livestock prices have continued to climb to new highs, and prospects for high prices are strong with increased exports and dwindling supplies.
There is also a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness. As we talk to farmers, many are grateful and appreciative of the opportunity the market currently presents, and also nervous about the future. At this point, we think good planning could help guide you through the murky waters of uncertainty. In other words, as a farmer, you are good at what you're doing, which is farming. When it comes to marketing, many farmers need to take time and develop strategy. We call this pre-planning, or adopting an approach called market scenario planning. You analyze different scenarios that can happen in a marketplace, and then pre-plan how to handle these.
As for the future, we understand why there is uncertainty. There always is when looking ahead. Yet, we'd encourage farmers to concentrate aggressively on this year, and let next year or the year after take care of themselves. That's not to say that selling opportunities for grain producers in 2012 shouldn't be acknowledged and looked at now. Rather, it's to say that we don't think you should just bury your head in the sand and be filled with anxiety for the year ahead. History is a good teacher, and it has taught us that on occasion, profits in agriculture can be good. It's agriculture's time to shine in the light. Yes, there will be dark days ahead.
However, the future holds great promise for agriculture and for you. By being more attentive and alert to the changes in the marketplace; knowledgeable how to implement tools to take advantage of opportunity and/or manage risk, you'll be prepared. History has a way of repeating itself. Keeping a positive view of the opportunities in front of you will help you to navigate all of the uncertainty ahead. For now, make sure to take advantage of these historic times. You'll likely fare better than those who do nothing in uncertain times.