Grain Marketing 101

“How to design and build the best marketing plan for your specific operation has to be one of the hottest topics of discussion these days…”

By Kevin Van Trump

As a professional trader at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Kansas City Board of Trade I have had the opportunity to offer my opinions and guidance to many diverse clients through the years. I have advised some of the top speculators in the industry, hedge fund managers, floor traders, commercial clients, banks, etc…My favorite though continues to be the farmer.

Having been raised in rural Missouri, helping my grandfather when I was younger on a small farm about an hour north of Kansas City, I quickly learned at an early age just how how tough the farming business could be. I was fortunate to receive a great education and have been given the opportunity to apply my skills as a professional trader. With 20 years of industry experience under my belt I have decided to return to my roots and exclusively devote my attention to helping farmers improve their marketing efforts.

It is my belief that it all starts with a proper marketing plan. A marketing plan that is both right for you and your operation. The plan does not need to focus on market direction, as those are circumstance we can not control. The plan does however need to focus on producing results in all types of market conditions (bull markets, bear markets, and sideways channeling markets). The plan has to be simple to follow, easy to understand and quick to execute. Trading professionally has taught me how important a quality predetermined plan is.

I believe you need both a pre and post harvest plan that takes into consideration your anticipated production, storage capabilities, input cost, crop insurance, etc…

The plan has to help you minimize mistakes and takes advantage of timely market conditions. I have learned through the years that I can not predict market direction, neither can anyone else consistently, but I can build a plan and program that will incorporate strategies to help you take advantage of the specific markets movements and conditions as they arise.

All we need to start building a quality marketing plan is your cost of production, from there we can begin adding pieces to the puzzle. I can’t stress enough how important it is for farmers to know and understand their costs of production and the variables it includes.

I will show you easy ways to market where you can take advantage of the strong seasonal tendency’s and pre-harvest market conditions, what to look for in early spring pricing, ways to capture and improve local basis levels, strategies to use when you are into the summer months with very little priced, how to exit post harvest positions, strategies and ways you can earn income while storing your grain and waiting for price movement, etc…

As the markets become more volatile, having a grain marketing plan and someone on your team who knows and understands how these markets move will be directly proportionate to the profits you are able to achieve.