Grain marketing – opportunity to work with next generation

Rebekah Starick

Grain production always throws up challenges out of your control. Each season brings a unique combination of weather events and overseas factors that influence the productivity and profitability of our grain producers.

One thing we can control is our strategy on grain marketing. This could involve putting together some grain marketing guidelines to take emotion out of some of the decision making, and also ensures everyone involved in the business is on the same page. Guidelines step out the grain marketing plan, for any given year, and include flexibility for seasonal conditions.

Much of what makes up guidelines is knowledge held by the main decision maker. They know why and when certain decisions are made, but sometimes this isn’t communicated to other people within the business.

It is important for everyone to be on the same page and to understand where a perspective is coming from, so the next generation have knowledge from people who have seen it all before.

Those within the business, with experience of previous seasons, can play an important role in mentoring those who are coming onto the farm. Fostering an understanding, through an opportunity to ask questions, encourages those entering the business to understand the why of a decision.

The movement of young people back on to farms, and their involvement in the farming business, led to the development of a three-hour workshop series, run in June, covering principles of grain marketing and how decisions are made. Working through how to create a position, why it is important to know your cost of production and managing risk, the attendees were able to go back into their own businesses and implement these learnings.

The value of learning from one another to increase our understanding cannot be underestimated. As one attendee said, “from the workshop, I know exactly what is needed, as a young member of our own business, to take more of a role in this side of the business”.

Succession is always going to come with challenges. Differing opinions and experiences can clash. The incoming generation want responsibility but need experience and guidance, and that has to come from someone who knows. This process should be considered a real opportunity for your business to make it viable for many years to come.

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