Should a farmer sell at harvest or store his crop all winter and hope that the price will increase significantly later in the year? No one really knows what will happen to a market in the future, so farmers must make managed risks.
Marketing is key to any agricultural operation. Unlike most other industries, agriculturalists cannot always determine the price that their goods will sell for. Not only are supply and demand important factors, but also the government subsidies available in a season.
Just as everyone has heard about "day trading" with the stock market, farmers play a game just as risky with every commodity they produce. Agriculturalists are finding it to their benefit to monitor price changes, so that they can make informed decisions about when to buy, sell, hedge, or contract.
The National Agri-Marketing Association is taking an active interest in agricultural marketing via the Internet. The association web site provides links to useful farm and market information, but is particularly geared toward agri-marketing professionals. Farmers can subscribe for a small fee.