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By John Berry

Minnesota West Ag Services has an on-line list of what they believe are 15 Characteristics of Successful Marketers. Their perspective is shared here.

  • Accept the fact that no one can predict the future of world events, weather and commodity prices, not us, or any radio farm broadcaster.
  • Establish a cost of production budget and know what it costs them to produce their product.
  • Focus their marketing efforts on reaching a predetermined profit goal rather than trying to achieve some impossible dream of "selling the high" or trying to outguess the market.
  • Learn to use all marketing tools including futures, options, various cash contracts, insurance, etc.
  • Are willing to use the right marketing tool for the right situation including puts, calls, futures, etc.
  • Recognize the fact that if they buy a put or call option for the right reason in the right situation and it expires worthless, that is ok.
  • Realize that if they hedge with futures at a profit and they get a margin call; that they are in a good position.
  • Hope the market keeps going up after they make a sale.
  • Know their marketing position at all times.
  • Make use of seasonal tendencies and seasonal guidelines. For example: do not store cash grain unprotected past the 4th of July, forward price at least 50% at a profit before the end of June and buy puts before June 30th if they protect profits, etc.
  • Let basis, carry and spreads determine if a person should be "long cash" or "long paper".
  • Use revenue based crop insurance products to enable aggressive forward pricing.
  • Make proactive decisions to manage risk and lock in profits.
  • Don't continually second guess decisions and look in the rearview mirror.
  • Treat their consultant in as part of their management team, openly share information, and use their consultants experience and expertise to help them evaluate various strategies and strongly consider their consultants advice when making marketing decisions.

While I don’t argue with any of the above insights I would add a 16th characteristic. I believe to be an effective marketer it is vital to be continually involved in marketing discussions. Someone once said that all of us are smarter than any one of us.

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