Neil Blue had only been farming a year or so when he came to an important realization — if you’re selling grain, it pays to educate yourself on the best way to do it.
Blue grew up on a family farm and began farming on his own in Vermilion, Alta., in 1981. When he went to sell his first wheat crop, Blue did what was a common practice back in those days — he called his local elevator and asked if he could bring in some grain.
“The first load of wheat I brought in from my first crop was graded a No. 3,” Blue says. Back then, he adds, you generally didn’t question the grade at the elevator. “You take your cheque, deposit it in the bank, and carry on.”
Things were different when Blue brought in a second batch of wheat.
“About five months later, I phoned up the elevator manager, took another load in and it graded a No. 1,” he says. “It was out of the same bin, and that started the wheels turning on how could I have done better here? What am I lacking?”
As Blue tells it, the essence of what he lacked was a clear understanding of grain marketing, and an appreciation of how a robust marketing plan can help farmers get the most out of their hard-earned crops.
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Blue began educating himself on grain marketing basics, adding a few tips from his father along the way. “My dad actually used to use the futures markets to hedge rye back when rye traded on the commodity exchange, and so I asked him about it a time or two. He told me about the idea that it didn’t matter once he had a sell position on the futures if the market went up or down — he was hedged,” Blue says. “That was interesting to me.” continues at grainews.ca