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New marketing program for IFBF members

By Sean Ellis

Idaho Farm Bureau Federation

POCATELLO – Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members now have access to a new program that could help them maximize their profit by developing a personalized marketing plan.

IFBF has contracted with JC Management Co. to help Farm Bureau members develop individual marketing plans for their farm commodities.

JC Management, based out of Hooper, Utah, will assist IFBF members in developing customized management plans designed to help them achieve their marketing goals.

JC Management President Clark Johnston will sit down with individual farmers and help them develop a specific plan designed to put them in the best possible position to get the most money for their commodities, said Zak Miller, IFBF’s director of commodities and marketing.

“People like Clark have access to better markets and information than the general farmer does,” he said. “By being able to take advantage of Clark’s connections and his access to markets, farmers should be able to get a more consistent and higher price on average.”

“He’ll monitor the markets for us, he’ll monitor futures markets and he’ll help us find what the best cash price is for the individual farmer,” Miller said.

Johnston will help educate producers about futures markets and basis, which is the spread between the local cash bid and the futures market and is an indicator of the local supply and demand situation.

Johnston said some farmers sell their crop largely based on emotion, but it’s better to have a plan in place with specific points where the commodity needs to be sold at in order for the farmer to be profitable. When those points are reached, he said, “we sell no matter what.”

“We’re trying to take the emotion out of the market,” he said. “Once you sell it, it’s gone. You don’t get to sell it again. We need to make sure we’re doing the best we can to take the emotion out of that so that we make good marketing decisions.”

He said the key to good marketing is not thinking, “How much higher will the market go? It’s, hey, this is all it’s going to give us right now so let’s take what the market is going to give us. You’re possibly leaving a lot of money on the table without a good plan.”

It’s important to sell when somebody wants to buy, he added, “because once they’ve bought their needs in, then they exit the market. They’re not there anymore and you’ve missed your opportunity.”

As an example of how a farmer could benefit by working with Johnston, Miller pointed to a short period recently when wheat prices in Ogden, Utah, jumped in the morning.

“The average farmer’s not going to get that call from Ogden, saying, ‘Hey, prices are up,’” he said.

There is no cost for members who want to take advantage of this program.

“If you’re a Farm Bureau member, you get Clark,” Miller said. “By paying your Farm Bureau membership, you’ve already paid for your consulting fee for Clark. There’s no extra cost whatsoever. There’s only things to gain by doing it. Whatever you’re producing, JC Management will work with you to make a marketing plan for that.”

Once a marketing plan is in place, producers will receive phone calls, text messages or emails about current news and opportunities to contract commodities according to their plan.

Johnston has served as a marketing consultant to IFBF for the past decade and Farm Bureau has relied on his expertise to provide a general idea of where the market is headed, Miller said.

“The difference now is we’re taking him out on the farm,” he said. “So you can call up Clark and say, ‘I have 30,000 bushels of soft white wheat, what do I do?’ And then Clark can help you put together a marketing plan.”

Based on IFBF’s past experience working with Johnston, Farm Bureau is confident in recommending producers work with him, Miller said.

“The market is going to do what it does but If you work with Clark and listen to what he says, he is going to put you in the best position to be as successful as you possibly can,” he said. 

For more information about the program, contact Miller at (208) 390-4636, or Johnston at (801) 458-4750.