Hands-on workshop planned to help farmers market grain

    Jerry Stahr gives a friend a hard time, as they harvest corn near York on October 30, 2018 (NTV News)

    In tight times on the farm, farmers need a good grain marketing plan.

    Nebraska Extension is planning a two-day, in-depth, hands-on workshop called “Grain Marketing: Dollar and Cents”, designed to help row-crop farmers create effective grain marketing plans specific to their operation and financial condition.

    The workshop will be held February 26-27 at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Hastings. The classes will begin at 9:30 a.m. each day and end at 4 p.m. The cost to participate in the workshop is $100 per person. To register, call the Extension Office in Adams County at 402-461-7209 by February 22 to guarantee a spot.

    Extension educators say the workshop is designed to strengthen participants’ ability to understand financial benchmarking, improve their basic marketing knowledge, develop accurate production costs estimates, and write a grain marketing plan. Grain Marketing: Dollar and Cents will take participants through a case-study farm, making them evaluate two financial situations: one with a strong financial standing and cash on hand, the other a tighter scenario where they would need to rely on grain sales to make payments on operating loans.

    Participants will play a game called Marketing in a New Era, to compare the potential effects of different grain marketing strategies on the case study farm.

    Those who complete the workshops should gain the skills to do the financial analysis of their own farms, and develop a grain marketing plan for their particular operation.

    Extension Educator Jessica Groskopf said the workshops recognize the uniqueness of each farm.

    “We know that there’s a lot of variation in the financial well-being of farms. We need to consider how that affects an individual’s grain marketing strategy. If I have a different financial portfolio than my neighbor, I’m probably going take a different approach to grain marketing,” she said.

    “If I have a really strong financial standing, I have more flexibility with the sales that I can make. If I’m in a tighter financial position, I need to really plan out my grain sales so that I’m meeting my cash flow obligations," she said.

    Workshop organizers hope their graduates can evaluate the financial standing of their own farms and develop a grain marketing strategy that compliments their current financial situation.

    “The hope is that we will give participants the skills to do the financial analysis so they can go home and look at their balance sheet and their cash flow statement and really utilize them to develop a grain marketing plan,” Groskopf said.

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