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Jon Knutson, Published March 08 2009

Sharpening their marketing skills

Try not to roll your eyes the next time you hear farmers musing about rain in Argentina or shipping delays in China.

Producers need this kind of information to make better choices about when to market their grain.

There’s no simple or one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, experts say.

The most basic route might be reading newspapers and watching TV to keep abreast of the weather and global economy.

At the other extreme, producers can pay grain marketing companies for specialized products and services.

Marketing also can involve buying and selling grain on paper through the futures market or options.

Robert Wishek, president of Ashley, N.D.-based McIntosh County Bank, estimated about half of his farmer/clients use such tools, up from 10 to 20 percent a few years ago.

Farmers also can join a grain marketing club to share insights with other producers.

Both the North Dakota State University Extension Service and University of Minnesota Extension have helped organize such clubs.