Farmers need detailed plan for responding to marketing risks

By: By James Hartsfield - Contributing columnist

Many farmers are looking toward the 2017 spring planting season with some hope and optimism. Last year, farmers endured record flooding from Hurricane Matthew which flooded fields and damaged crops and low prices for row crops causing profits to decrease.

One question these farmers will be asking this upcoming year is: How can we better manage risk? Risk has always been a part of agriculture, but farming in America has changed drastically over the past few years. Increasingly, farmers are learning that it is now a game with new risks. The most successful farmers are now looking at a deliberate and knowledgeable approach to risk management as a vital part of their plan. For them, risk management means farming in a more rapidly changing world. It is the ability to deal with risks that comes with new farming opportunities.

Farmers generally deal with five types of risks. They are:

1. Production

2. Marketing

3. Financial

4. Legal Issues

5. Human Resource Issues

In 2014, farmers had the opportunity to learn more about these risks and develop their personal risk management plan by attending a series of risk management workshops. The objective of those workshops was to teach farmers how to understand and implement farm business planning principles for successful risk management decision making.

This year farmers will have another opportunity to learn more in greater detail with one of the five types of risk management by attending a series of Developing Marketing Plans and Strategies Workshops. The first in the series of workshops will be held on May 18, at the Sampson County Livestock Facility located at 1020 Taylor’s Bridge Road in Clinton. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. The scheduled dates for the other workshops are June 8 and July 13. The objective of these workshops is to teach farmers marketing principles and how the elements of the marketing mix are used to create an effective plan to manage the marketing decisions on the farm. Travel will be reimbursed to the workshops and lunch will be provided.

Pre-registration is required to participate so register as early as possible; space is limited to 40 participants. For more information, please contact the Sampson County Extension Center at 910-592-7161 or by email at

By attending these workshops, farmers can learn about new marketing risk management tools and services along with those already established. With these tools, local farmers can build the confidence they need to deal with both the risks and the exciting opportunities for the future.

James Hartsfield Hartsfield

By James Hartsfield

Contributing columnist

James Hartsfield is an area extension agent specializing in farm management serving Sampson and Duplin counties.

James Hartsfield is an area extension agent specializing in farm management serving Sampson and Duplin counties.