The Master Marketer Program, which helps agricultural producers learn more about risk management strategies and making their operations more profitable, begins in January at the Texas Farm Bureau Conference Center in Waco.

The series begins with an optional one-day leveling session on Jan. 11 followed by the main workshop series beginning Jan. 12.

"Volatile commodity prices, high input costs and increased competitive pressures challenge producers to adopt risk management skills to increase the likelihood of survival and profitability," said Dr. Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension Service grains economist and one of the program instructors.

Market oriented

"Farm programs are increasingly taking a market-oriented approach, making producers’ ability to manage price and production risk even more important," he said. "One of the most successful programs in teaching risk management to agricultural producers has been the intensive educational effort of the national award-winning Master Marketer Program. Producers are trained in advanced risk management and marketing techniques during this intensive 64-hour program."

Welch said the intensive training focuses on feedgrains, cotton, livestock and wheat. AgriLife Extension, the Texas Corn Producers Board, Texas Farm Bureau, Cotton State Support Committee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Risk Management Agency sponsor the program.

Welch said several founding principles have made the Master Marketer Program successful.

"First, all subject matter is taught at a highly applied rather than theoretical level so producers can see the relevance of what is being taught," he said.

"Second, a combination of teaching techniques is utilized to maximize learning effectiveness. This includes lecture, problem solving, small group work simulation exercises, and game playing.

“Finally, the program is taught by the best instructors available. Speakers are selected on the basis of their expertise and communication skills."

The program consists of:

- The optional one-day leveling workshop reviews the basics of futures and options (Jan. 11);

- Session I builds the foundation of price risk management covering topics of budgets, marketing strategies, and weather risk (Jan. 12-13);

- Session II covers crop fundamentals and insurance strategies (Jan. 26-27);

- Session III is devoted to technical analysis and livestock fundamentals (Feb. 9-10);

- Session IV addresses marketing plans, marketing discipline, and financial and legal issues (Feb. 23-24).

Registration for the program is $250 and is limited to 60 individuals. Registration closes Jan. 3, 2011. For more information about the program and online registration, visit http://AgriLifevents.tamu.edu.

b-fannin@tamu.edu