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What will you choose to learn about marketing this year?

Getty/iStockphoto/Jevtic dad and daughter shaking hands in corn field
Building skills in this one area can have a big impact.

It’s the time of year when the kids are going back to school – or maybe they’re back already. There’s anticipation about what they will learn this year, how they will grow and what they will achieve.

Even if you may have graduated from school quite some time ago, one of the key things I see the best farm leaders doing today is focusing on their own learning. These farmers recognize that learning doesn’t end when you get a diploma or degree. They know that it’s actually just starting.

Always learning

Farm leaders who choose to intentionally learn more every year single of their farming career are the ones who will ensure their operations don’t ever become stagnant. They don’t believe they’ve ever “arrived” – whether it’s their fifth year of farming or their 40th.

There’s always something more they can learn and then use to help their farm operations reach the next level of success. This could feel like a big task – I’m literally saying that learning never ends! Or it could be an exciting challenge instead: there’s always another step to the journey. There’s always another way to “level-up” your skills as a farm leader.

Market hesitation

There are many different valuable areas that farm leaders could choose to increase their learning – for example, financial and business skills, leadership and management skills, communication skills. I want to focus here on one area of skills that farmers might not necessarily be excited about: marketing skills.

Dealing with the markets isn’t always a farmer’s favorite thing to do. There’s usually a decent amount of emotion involved – and rightfully so, because it can have a big impact on the farm’s success.

Sometimes farm leaders might unintentionally keep themselves from learning more about the markets or about different marketing tools. Their belief might be, “I (or Dad or Grandpa) have always done it this way, so why would I need to learn anything different?”

Under control

Here's something I want to share with you about marketing. One of the most powerful things you can do when it comes to your farm’s marketing plans is to focus on what you can control and to let go of what you can’t control.

When it comes to the markets, there’s obviously a lot that’s not within any farmer’s direct control. But what is in your control? You have the choice to learn about the markets – what makes them move, and why – and about the different tools that are available to manage your farm’s risks in the market.

Choosing to focus on what you can control about how the markets – such as your response to them and management of your marketing plan – can help take out some of the emotional roller-coaster feelings around marketing grain.

The choice to learn

I encourage you to decide now to learn more about marketing and marketing tools. That one decision can really be a game-changer for leaders and their operations.

If you work with a market advisor, they should have the heart of a teacher when it comes to building your understanding of market fundamentals and marketing tools.

Farmers have found that working with our market advisors has helped ease their minds. The advisors help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the current rapidly-changing grain market situation – and how it impacts their operation.

Get a free two-week trial of our marketing information service (MarketView Basic). Your free trial includes regular audio and video updates, technical analysis, recommendations and more. Learn more about our market advisor programs and offerings at

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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