MARKETING CLUBS MAKE SENSE TO MONTANA PRODUCERS
Terry Anvik, Richland County, MT, wheat farmer, thinks the marketing club he helped start for local farmers just might be the ticket for surviving the
current low price cycle that plagues U.S. farmers.
Jul 21, 2000 - "Marketing clubs not only help you learn about the variety of marketing tools that are available, but teach you when to use them," Anvik said.
While the Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA) has been a profound positive influence for producers in the wheat growing state--beginning fledgling clubs about
20 years ago during another cycle of low prices--Anvik credits a lot of people with helping his 8-member club get underway. The MGGA also has a helpful web site for
people who would like to start their own club: www.montanamarketmanager.org/clubs/
"I began attending risk management seminars and club meetings about 3 years back, and still learn something new every time I go. There's been training from
university and county extension staff, professional brokers, and USDA staff," added Anvik.
Anvik and his brother Mike already use some risk management strategies on their 4,000 acres of mostly wheat in Eastern Montana. While the brothers have
traditionally practiced crop diversification, adding safflower, barley, and oats to the basic wheat crop, they have been experimenting with dry, yellow peas.
The pea crop, while averaging 25 bushels an acre, does require different equipment, cultivation techniques, and storage methods.
They secure catastrophic crop insurance protection for their main crops. With just 12 inches of rainfall per year, the no-till
cultivation that they plan to implement in the future will provide another layer of protection. Like many U.S. farmers, the brothers own and lease cropland, but
also rent out 200 acres of their own land for pastureland.
Anvik, who returned to the family farm 5 years ago following 12 years working for Holly Sugar (now Imperial), was first interested in only an informational
marketing club. But now, several members want to move to the next level and become a trading group. "I think the trading experience will provide the training
and confidence for our members to develop personal marketing plans," Anvik added.
Kathy Gilbertson of Risk Management Agency's Billings Regional Office is the Regional Coordinator for
RMA Risk Management Education. She has partnered with various private groups who organize seminars to train marketing club leaders and
provide information on other risk management tools.
She believes that farmers like Anvik, who know their survival depends not only on their production skills but on their marketing and risk management strategies,
will provide critical peer leadership. Gilbertson summed up, "It is the goal of the RMA Risk Management Education initiative to provide risk management information
to farmers and ranchers. They must then choose which tools best fit their needs. There is a lot of personal satisfaction in knowing that what we do helps keep
producers on the family farm."