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Conference Name Dairy Risk Management Educational Efforts in Michigan

Craig Thomas


Concentrated and continual efforts in dairy risk management education began in Michigan in 1997 when a three-day general workshop was held for agricultural producers on the use of the futures and options markets to control price risk. At the request of this producer group, a regular monthly “Ag Market Update” has been held ever since in the Thumb region of the state. The monthly market update includes fundamental and technical analyses of the grain, livestock, and dairy markets. Also, general marketing strategies are outlined and other pertinent information relating to marketing (e.g., cost of production, spreadsheets for tracking marketing activities, etc.) is shared with producers. Participants in the market update meetings also includes persons involved in agribusiness and agricultural lending. This group has grown as the presenters were also involved in conducting training programs throughout the state of Michigan for producers participating in the Dairy Options Pilot Program. In 2003 a two-day workshop, Dairy Marketing 101, was developed and conducted at several sites around Michigan for producers, agribusiness, and agricultural lenders specifically targeting the basic principles of using futures and options by dairy producers. As a result of these efforts a second group began meeting on a monthly basis in a major dairy area in the central part of the state. In 2004 attendance at the monthly meetings averaged 17.8 (Thumb) and 16.5 (Central). The aggregate of the dairy producers attending the two monthly meetings represent over 21,500 total cows, over 526 million pounds of milk, and nearly $83 million of milk marketed in 2004.