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When he’s not out golfing, gardening, or fishing on a Minnesota lake, Al Kluis is reading and charting USDA research reports. Voraciously. He owns Kluis Commodities and Kluis Publishing. Al shares his 40-years of commodity trading experience in our magazine, and with subscribers of Successful Marketing newsletter.
Al’s business started in his basement, and today he works out of an office building with a few employees. He says the biggest surprise in his work over the years has come from the way we disseminate information.
"I used to feel like the people at the Chicago Board of Trade really had an inside edge, that they would know some things sometimes a few days, certainly a lot of times a few hours before it came out into farm country to the retail traders. Now, with the internet, it’s really leveled the playing field," says Kluis. "Also, I think the evolution of going from trading in the pit to trading electronically has had a benefit to the farmers with a lot more transparent markets and a lot easier to place orders, get fills. It’s just a much more efficient system."
I asked Al if he had one tip for farmers, what would that be? He says, educate yourself. Learn everything you can about marketing.
"You can get good advice from my firm, I’ve got a lot of good competitors out there where you can get information from. But really the long-term key to success in marketing, is becoming more knowledgeable about marketing," he says. "If that doesn’t really appeal to you, then find somebody in your farm business whether it be your son, daughter, daughter-in-law, get the young people involved. But make an effort, spend some money every year to educate the decision makers on your farm."