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Risk management education offered to pork producers


Volatile agricultural markets, high input costs and rising amounts of capital for farm operation have driven the importance of effective risk management for pork producers.

For these reasons, the Iowa Pork Producers Association is coordinating with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Pork Industry Center to offer regional risk management educational seminars for Iowa pork producers and allied industry representatives.

The regional sessions will be followed by a series of in-depth small group sessions for those interested in additional information about day-to-day swine risk management decisions.

All regional sessions are hosted from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The dates and locations are:

Dec. 6--Northwest Iowa Community College, Highway 18 West, Building C, Room 349, Sheldon;

Dec. 7--The Borlaug Learning Center, ISU Northeast Research Farm, 3327 290th St., Nashua; and

Dec. 8--Johnson County Extension Office, 3109 Old Highway 218 S., Iowa City.

Conference organizers have slated a tremendous lineup of expert speakers to discuss effective risk management in pork production.

John Lawrence, Ph.D., associate dean of the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Extension ag and natural resources, will open the session by helping attendees understand the magnitude of risk farmers face today.

Chad Hart, Ph.D., ISU assistant professor of economics and Extension grain marketing specialist, will outline the big picture issues impacting feed and livestock prices including value of the dollar, demand for corn and soybean meal, world economy, exports, production levels and more.

Mark Greenwood, vice president of agri-business capital, Ag Star Financial Services, ACA, will outline the most important components of a successful risk management strategy. He will discuss the importance of a competitive cost structure, the mindset it takes to capture opportunities for profit and the critical nature of combining feed cost risk with the lean hog market price.

A local producer with proven success in risk management will explain how to implement risk management based on crush margin, allowing producers to lock in profits while the window is there.

Local ISU swine specialists will close each session by helping attendees apply lessons learned from the day's session, make tools available for implementing change and preface small group sessions for further risk management education opportunities.

Attendees also are encouraged to attend an optional 9 a.m. session at each location to review the basics of hedging, options, insurance and other risk management tools. This session will be hosted by Shane Ellis, ISU Extension livestock marketing specialist.

"Knowing the basics is an important step in risk management implementation," said Dave Stender, ISU Extension swine specialist. "Even if one is hiring an outside firm for risk management strategies, it is important to understand the common tools and strategies used."

The seminars cost $10 for those pre-registered or $15 at the door. Lunch and meeting materials will be guaranteed to those pre-registered. For more information or to pre-register, please contact IPPA at 800-372-7675 or tbettin@iowapork.org.

"Effectively managing risk is increasingly important in today's volatile ag markets," said Leon Sheets, IPPA president. "We hope these conferences can help pork producers and allied industry representatives build on their knowledge, more effectively manage risk, better serve customers and remain profitable."

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