Ag economist: focus less on price and more on margins

An ag economist says farmers should focus less on price levels when it comes to risk management. Jim Mintert is the director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “The lesson of the last couple of years, and even longer term, has been to pay attention to margins,” he says. 

He tells Brownfield farmers need to monitor their production costs.  “And monitor what your break evens are,” he says.  “Then think about locking in positive returns if you have the opportunity to do so.”

And while there has been some weakness in markets recently, Mintert says there are opportunities heading into the winter and spring.  “Take advantage of those opportunities if they appear,” he says.  “Look at it from a margin perspective. I think sometimes that can really help in terms of managing risk because that’s the risk you really want to manage is that margin that you’re operating on.”

He says the volatility in commodity markets will continue, and working with budgets and understanding the cost of production will be crucial to profitability again in 2024.  

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