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Corn+Soybean Digest

The Road Warrior of Agriculture

Lender’s View of an Astute Marketer: Part II

Last time we used the responses from the ninth annual Advanced Agrilender’s School in Wisconsin to compile a list of characteristics of an astute marketer. Let’s continue the dialogue.

Last time it was mentioned that knowing the cost of production and breakevens were critical.

Next on the list was keeping a disciplined approach utilizing objective data as the guideline. Marketing is an emotional component of management. If one knows the cost of production and breakeven point, then various trigger points can be established to keep emotion to a minimum. The lenders went on to say that in some cases an outside third party with no attachment to the product being marketed, or in some cases the wife, can be the best approach to marketing.

Developing the marketing plan and knowing the risk and marketing opportunities is one of the best ways to get someone to pull the trigger and just make a decision.

The gunslinger approach to marketing on gut instinct may work in a small number of cases; however, one lender indicated that one of his leading customers hired his daughter and delegated marketing responsibilities to her to create the willing seller approach. This was successful because she was not emotionally tied to the grain and cattle.

Carl Babler asked the group, “Are you a marketer that is motivated to action by emotion or who takes a systems approach?”

As Sam Miller who leads up M&I Bank’s Agricultural Division, the eighth largest in the U.S., and I were driving to our farm visit we came up with some interesting views out the windshield.

One producer’s corn was much shorter than all the neighbors’ corn. Was this because fertilizer and input prices were too high, or was cash flow too tight? Dairies were locating in certain counties because they have a more friendly local government.

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Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

This online exclusive is brought to you by The Corn and Soybean Digest

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