; Women Marketing Grain Courses Improve Risk Management on Family Farms in Iowa | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Women Marketing Grain Courses Improve Risk Management on Family Farms in Iowa

Madeline Schultz, Charles Brown, Ryan Drollette , Steven Johnson, Kelvin Leibold, Lisa Scarbrough , and Gary Wright


Women have significant employment, management and ownership on family farms in Iowa. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported 49,085 women farm operators, representing 34 percent of all farm operators in Iowa. The USDA Census of Agriculture reported Iowa’s value of sales for grains and oilseeds fell by 5.9 percent from 2012 to 2017, resulting in an overall decline in net farm income. Marketing of crops is a critical component for managing net farm income. Women in agriculture can learn to manage agricultural market risks with education, analytical thinking, research-based information, and support. The Women Marketing Grain 12-hour course was developed in 2010 in response to requests by participants in Annie’s Project farm business management courses. In the past three years, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Farm Management team accessed USDA Risk Management Agency and National Institute of Food and Agriculture NC-ERME grants as well as agricultural industry sponsorship to improve the curricula and deliver 14 courses reaching 210 farm women. This poster will highlight recent Women Marketing Grain participant impacts gathered through pre- and post-course surveys, interviews and a Ripple Effects Mapping focus group. Survey respondents indicated the four most valuable topics were: 1) Cash, futures and options contracts, 2) Developing a crop marketing plan, 3) Basis, futures carry and cost of ownership, and 4) Cost of production and crop margin estimates. Participants took new actions during the course. On the pre-course survey, 40.2 percent of respondents had ‘calculated their breakeven price’; this increased to 82.1 percent on the post-course survey. On the pre-course survey, 29.6 percent had ‘made/contributed to decisions about which post-harvest strategies to use’; this increased to 79.0 percent on the post-course survey. The focus group members had strong interests in learning new skills and working with their farm family/partners to manage market risks. They discussed peer networking, sharing best resources, long-term farm profitability, diversification, conservation, and local and world markets. The women requested the farm management team to provide an advanced grain marketing course specifically on the topic of put and call options.