Farmers need detailed marketing plans

By Nelson Brownlee

Many farmers are looking toward the 2017 spring planting season with some hope and optimism. Last year, farmers endured record flooding from Hurricane Matthew, which flooded fields and damaged crops, and low prices for row crops, causing profits to decrease. One question these farmers will be asking this upcoming year is: How can we better manage risk?

Risk has always been a part of agriculture, but farming has changed dramatically over the past few years. Increasingly, farmers are learning that it is now a game with new risks. The most successful farmers are now looking at a deliberate and knowledgeable approach to risk management as a vital part of their plan. For them, risk management means farming in a more rapidly changing world. It is the ability to deal with risks that comes with new farming opportunities.

Farmers generally deal with five types of risks, which are: production; marketing; financial; legal issues; and human resource issues.

In 2014, farmers had the opportunity to learn more about these risks and develop their personal risk management plan by attending a series of risk management workshops. The objective of those workshops was to teach farmers how to understand and implement farm business planning principles for successful risk management decision making.

This year, farmers will have another opportunity to learn more, in greater detail, on one of the five types of risk management by attending a series of workshops titled “Developing Marketing Plans and Strategies.”

The first in the series of workshops will be held on May 19 at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, located at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with registration starting 8:30 a.m. The scheduled dates for the other workshops are June 16 and July 14.

The objective of these workshops is to teach farmers marketing principles and how the elements of the marketing mix are used to create an effective plan to manage the marketing decisions on the farm. Travel will be reimbursed to the workshops and lunch will be provided. Preregistration is required to participate. Space is limited to 40 participants, so register as early as possible.

By attending these workshops, farmers can learn about new marketing risk management tools and services along with those already established. With these tools, local farmers can build the confidence they need to deal with both the risks and the exciting opportunities for the future.

By Nelson Brownlee

Nelson Brownlee is the extension area farm management agent for Robeson County. Reach him by phone at 910-671-3276, or by email at:

Nelson Brownlee is the extension area farm management agent for Robeson County. Reach him by phone at 910-671-3276, or by email at:

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