Latest articles

Is a strong loonie a bad thing for Canadian farmers?

There’s no doubt our currency’s fluctuation has effects, but they’re not always well understood

From a high of 1.10 to lows of 60 cents per U.S. dollar over the past several decades, the value of the loonie has always had an impact on Canadian farmers. While these fluctuations certainly will influence crop prices we receive here in Canada, what effect does it really have? Is a strong loonie really […] Read more

The art and science of farm marketing

There are no pat or easy answers for marketing commodities as each commodity is different

Farm marketing like most aspects of a farm business is a mix of art and science, of theory and practice. And, it’s important to understand and apply both. This reminds me of a quote by American playwright Wilson Mizner: “Art is science made clear.” I’ll try to combine them both so you gain a better […] Read more

Separating your commodity and currency decisions

Currency fluctuations can be almost as significant as changing prices for your farm products

Since we live in Canada, while almost all commodities are traded around the world in U.S. dollars, the Canadian dollar/U.S. dollar exchange rate will have an impact on your farm revenues. And since it directly or indirectly affects almost 100 per cent of your revenues, the Canadian dollar/U.S. dollar exchange rate can and should be […] Read more

Wheat farmer checking his crop.

Take this test before making your marketing decisions

To make sure you’re making smart marketing decisions, you need to honestly answer a few questions

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States from 1961 to 1963, had some unique insights and understanding of farming finances and economics. During a 1960 speech in South Dakota at a National Plowing Contest, then senator Kennedy shared some thoughts that still hold true today: “The farmer is the only man in […] Read more

Big data and agriculture markets: Part 3

Options-based strategies can help get more out of a chaotic market filled with randomness and unpredictability

The previous article in this three-part series addressed some of the main myths and misperceptions of commodity hedging. This final segment looks at some practical solutions for improving farm marketing and commodity revenue protection. In David Orrell’s book Apollo’s Arrow: The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything, he writes about the unpredictability and […] Read more

Big data and agriculture markets: Part 2

Trend-watching can tell us a lot about markets, but won’t necessarily mean better results

The first of this three-part series looked at the current state of farm revenue and risk management and how big data analysis can play a greater role. This time I’d like to explore some of the myths and misperceptions of agriculture hedging. To understand this topic we have to ask ourselves, for farm marketing and […] Read more

Wheat farmer checking his crop.

Big data and agriculture markets: Part 1

We’re awash in market information and using modern approaches can help manage and understand it all

Big data has got a lot of attention: from online shopping patterns that encourage you to buy, to life insurance to lower premiums and, of course, to the financial markets to increase returns and reduce risk. The agriculture industry has seen plenty of number crunching focusing on production and operations information technology, crop sciences advancements […] Read more

A sample options strategy for soybeans

We recently had the privilege of co-presenting with the CME Group at their CBOT Grain Options Workshop during the annual Wild Oats Grainworld conference in Winnipeg. Here’s an overview of that event including what is risk, what is risk management and a straightforward strategy you can use to protect yourself against falling grain prices. What […] Read more

Hedging strategies if you’re selling in the U.S.

If you sell product to the U.S., as many Canadian businesses do and want to protect yourself, you are probably asking what to do if the loonie is worth more than a U.S. greenback, which it has been again recently. With many risk-management tools available today, what is the best strategy for you in your […] Read more