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Conference Name Crop Marketing in West Tennessee: How to Teach Producers to Make the Call

Delton Gerloff


In January, 2004, crop marketing workshops were taught to West Tennessee farm families. The objectives of these workshops were twofold: 1) to teach basic and advanced topics of marketing alternatives; and 2) to help ease the fear producers seem to have regarding actually making a pre harvest marketing decision.

A 2 day workshop was held in Jackson, Tennessee, with a follow up 1 day workshop in Trenton. Participants were taught, via case study farms, the net income impact of making pre and post harvest marketing decisions.

Benefits of the educational program include: 1) according to evaluations, the participants indicated an increased understanding of price risk management; 2) two risk management tools were developed for the workshop that can benefit other U.S. farm families. One tool is a spreadsheet which gives a historical price range that allows farmers to evaluate the best and worst case scenarios of making an early season pricing decision. The other tool is a family risk management assessment that looks at risk management in a non traditional way to get farm families to consider non price financial risks. Some of these risk categories include disability/death of a farm operator or spouse, divorce, and others. Both of these tools will be made available to all who request them.

Post workshop evaluations were also conducted with farm families which indicated these workshops helped change pricing decisions for the 2004/05 marketing year.