Well, I did it again. I guess if nothing else, I am consistent – even if it is not in a good way. I am nearly 100% successful in marketing at the very worst time or at least missing a better market.
In the past several years I have done my research, made a plan and executed it, only to find out that the information I used and the decision I made were wrong and caused me to miss out on a substantial amount of money. By substantial I am talking substantial in my terms and not terms used by most of the rest of the free world – probably enough to buy a Happy Meal.
For further background, you should probably know that my bachelor’s degree is in agricultural economics from Kansas State University. I took every marketing class offered while I was there. I was convinced that my father did not know what he was doing, and I was going to come home and save the day.
Now, my marketing failures are in no way to be associated with the education I received from Kansas State University. They provided me with a very good, solid education based on the soundest principles and research. You know the old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink?” I embody that saying. They tried their hardest to teach me. I should know what I am doing.
Each year I go into it with a plan. Last year I was sure grains would continue to go up in price and cattle had seen their peak. I stored my soybeans, watching the markets until they finally reached the level they were at harvest and I sold.
Cattle continued to increase in price during this period. So, this year I decided to do the opposite, especially since beans and corn were higher than I had hoped for at harvest and the election was looming over us with uncertainty. Corn was cheapish and I was sure I could put some gain on my calves and sell them after the first of the year for a profit.
Both strategies worked out spectacularly against me.
I know there are many professionals out there who would be happy to help me with my marketing plan. Engaging them would probably be a smart move. Well, no one ever accused me of being smart. And as I mentioned earlier, I have a degree that means I should be qualified to do it on my own. I also watch the experts on RFD and other places, and I know that I am right just as often as they are. Plus, I pay myself exactly what I am worth.
I have always heard that to be successful you must turn a negative into a positive. After much thought, I have decided to do that with my own marketing failures. I am going to start a service where I sell my information to producers who want to maximize profits and make sure they always hit the highest markets each year.
For a nominal fee, I will add you to my mailing list. I’ll share my expert thoughts and analysis of each commodity market, along with what I plan to do personally. Then each producer who has paid me the nominal fee can follow my recommendations and do exactly the opposite of what I propose.
It is a cannot-miss strategy. I am 100% wrong each year. That means if you reverse my marketing plan you will be right each year. I am telling you, my talent is uncanny and you will be very happy with the service.
My other thought was to gather up producers in a pool who could tell me when to market my crops or livestock. Then they would sell at the exact opposite time. That too will work magic when it comes to finding the top in the market.
Honestly, I am not sure if it is my amazing bad luck, my unbelievably poor market strategy or a combination of both, but I am sure the rest of agriculture could put it to good use.
Of course, there is the chance that by reversing my strategy and relying on my bad luck that it backfires and I hit the market highs and my clients find the bottom consistently. Then it would be a win/win for me, and I would not be different than any other market expert. (Sorry, if you are one of those and reading this column. I could not help but take a jab. But do not worry because next week I am taking a shot at meteorologists.)
Hurry up and sign up, it will be limited to the first million or so. Watch for me in the back of all your farm publications. I think I will call my service, “Reverse for First.”
Until then you can catch me on the street corner with a sign that reads, “will work for soybeans.”
Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension educator for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at email@example.com.