Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Markets have been a real challenge this year. Market highs in January, up and down all year, mostly down, then market highs right now. It made all my marketing work and plans look fruitless.

Markets are just not the same as they used to be. It really started before Katrina but that one storm changed markets for ever as it damaged the major grain shipping channel from the midwest to the world. Barge rates skyrocketed overnight and the resulting higher fuel and transportation prices affected all business and boy do we ever depend on transportation!

Back in the day, the German farmers brought spelt, shown in the picture, to the states. I took this picture at the Highland County Fair this weekend. These are all youth project entries. Spelt is good livestock feed and easy to grow on any soil. Now it is mainly used for celiac food for those who can't eat anything with wheat flour in it.

Still, they had huge market swings between harvests like we do now. The price between trading months have changed because of economy and demand and about everything that affects it. The Chicago Board of Trade was founded to help buyers absorb those market swings by hedging contracts for price and delivery.

Farmers study and curse the markets and the grain traders who trade them but at least we have a market floor unlike spelt or hay or most food crops. Without this trading floor, American Agriculture wouldn't be where it is today. Today it is the backbone and source of economy for our country. This is so important in hard times when there are no jobs like we suffer from today.
The key to my profit is what I sell my product for. I have bare bones, cost efficient production pretty well mastered. When the grain price varies 30-60% in one year, there is the difference between success and failure and so-so to great.

Tonight is a meeting on grain marketing I really need to attend. Do you think I really want to go? I say I want to make more money but do I have the tenacity to do what it takes?

Success in anything is mastering what you don't like to do.


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