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Organic marketers emphasize selling strategies for new growing season

As America's organic crop producers prepare for another growing season, they are reaping the benefits of strong and stable prices during a time of economic crisis. Although organic grain producers have experienced only moderate price softening, compared to the negative price volatility of conventional crops.

"Organics can be an example of a market that doesn't have to fluctuate, with ups and downs like the conventional market," said Tim Ennis, head of NForganics a marketing division of National Farmers. "Stability is good for the entire market system."

The organic market has seen a 15 percent to 20 percent annual growth rate over the last decade, and NForganics has seen its organic grain marketing volume increase by five-fold since 2004. "I believe that what we are doing in organics, which is a market not leveraged by paper trading, is that we're showing that organized producers can have an influence," Tim Ennis, head of NForganics.

In the view of NForganics and the Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing leaders, farmers need to approach the market with a price in mind. "There is a great deal of value in planning marketing strategies as a group, to counteract the current negative factors in the market," said Oren Holle, a Kansas diversified organic producer, and OFARM president.

Holle reminded producers of a three-step process when marketing during negative economic conditions,

1. Don't panic

2. Don't take the buyer's first offer

3. Develop your marketing plan with assistance from a group such as NForganics

"Farmers can accomplish vastly more by working together than by standing alone in the marketing arena," Holle added. "Farmers marketing as a group, as demonstrated by the success of NForganics just simply makes a lot of common sense."

NForganics is the organic grain marketing division of National Farmers and is a member of the OFARM network. OFARM, Inc. is a Minnesota-based farmer cooperative with eight organic grain and livestock cooperatives representing members in 23 states and Ontario, Canada.


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