GFM Network News


Saskatchewan farming prices – in 2016 dollars per acre.

Risk and volatility not necessarily same

Hedging Your Bets: Current canola and farmland prices are examples of markets at risk of a sudden change

When thinking about risk, there can be a lot of different interpretations. Risk does not have to mean volatility but the two tend to work in conjunction. One way to define risk is ‘the consequence of not meeting your goals.’ One of my favourite authors on the topic of market risk and practical trading ideas

Paved with good intentions

Early production estimates start with seeding intentions, which may or may not materialize


When I started in the business in 1995 on the floor of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange, being the rookie, I remember running to get the StatsCan reports from the government office on the day of a big release. Even back then, I thought it was counterproductive to worry too much about those reports. After the


Chart 1.

Don’t let currencies drive you ‘loonie’

There are a few practical ways to look at managing currency fluctuations

A question I often get asked at hedging workshops and marketing presentations is about currency risk management. In particular, how to best manage it from a practical point of view. Farmers ultimately get paid in Canadian dollars, even though their commodity is priced either directly or indirectly in U.S. dollars. Whether it’s a flat price

Canola futures.

Where are canola prices going?

To answer that question you’ll need a good handle on factors around the world affecting the oilseed complex

A question I get asked a lot is, “Where are canola prices going?” That’s not something you can answer just by looking out your back door, throughout your province, or even across the Prairies. You really have to look around the world at all oilseed markets to get a better sense of where our canola

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


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

Canadian dollar – monthly average 1971-2016.

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

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


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

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