Understanding How Farmers Make Grain Marketing Decisions

by Mark Smither and Jan Johnson
November 4, 2013

Today’s crop producers have access to an incredible amount of grain marketing information, including Internet sources, grain marketing brokers, trade media, the local elevator manager as well as trusted friends and neighbors. The question is—how do producers use this information, and whom do they trust to make their most important grain marketing decisions?

This study attempts to identify how key factors, such as market volatility, input costs and even subconscious human emotion, influence the way producers market their grain.

Paulsen contracted with Millennium Research to interview 10 crop producers in the following states: North Dakota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, North Carolina and Michigan.

The interviewees were part of a pre-selected panel of producers who met the following criteria:

They were identified as sole decision-makers with at least 1,500 acres and highly interested in grain marketing corn and/or soybeans. The average for this sample group was 3,046 acres.

3 were identified as “do it yourself” grain marketers
2 market their grain with assistance from a local elevator
4 market their grain with assistance from a broker
1 markets grain with assistance from an elevator and a broker

Each interview lasted approximately 15 minutes. The cross-section of interviewees represents producers who are most interested in grain marketing, thus probably not reflective of the entire market.

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