Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on March 6, 2000. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Market Training Adding Dollars To Farmers' Profits
By Bonnie Coblentz
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Marketing at a profit in farming is especially difficult when markets are down, but Mississippi farmers have some assistance in this tricky field through the efforts of the Marketing Club Network.
A joint effort of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and AgriMark, the network has as many as 800 participating farmers in 10 southeastern states. Participating farmers have reported increased income from $500 to $150,000 because of good marketing decisions they made based on information learned in the network.
Jim Quinn, marketing specialist with the Extension Service and Farm Bureau, said the idea began in 1993 with the first market club organized in Yazoo City. What started out as one small group "marketing" products of a hypothetical farm turned into monthly teleconferences linking international marketing experts with farmers across the Southeast.
"We get speakers from across the United States who are concerned with the agricultural markets to offer market outlooks," Quinn said. "We cover cotton, soybeans and corn every month and discuss rice less frequently."
The idea for these clubs grew as a means of sharing vital marketing information without spending a great amount of time traveling. Farm Bureau began the teleconferences with support from the MSU Extension Service and Pat McClatchy with AgriMark. It began in five locations one in Louisiana and four in the Mississippi Delta along the river and grew in less than six months to 80 locations in 10 states.
Teleconference speakers are Extension specialists, cash buyers, international experts and floor traders from commodity exchanges. The conference calls last about one hour and are held at 7:30 a.m., two business days after the supply-and-demand report is published each month.
Dr. O.A. Cleveland, Extension agricultural economist at MSU, said the teleconferences get this information to farmers two weeks to a month sooner than they could get it anywhere else.
"Timing is everything in risk management," Cleveland said. "These teleconferences keep them abreast of the current economic situation relative to the various crops by providing them with the views of major international market participants."
Quinn said the conference calls are heard in 65 to 80 locations a month and attendance ranges from 500 to 800 each time. Farmers pay no fee to listen in, and have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers. These sessions are recorded and can be listened to later on Farm Bureau's website at http://www.msfb.com listed under market club network.
All farmers are invited to participate in these monthly conference calls. Contact Jim Quinn at (800) 227-8244 or the local county Extension agent to find a location or to establish a new one.
Contact: Jim Quinn, (800) 227-8244