The official launch of the CWFS AgMarketing Project was held on Wednesday, 30 August 2017 with 16 women from the Central West region of NSW attending a workshop at the Condobolin Ag Station.  The CWFS AgMarketing Project aims to upskill and improve knowledge of local producers and growers in the sphere of agricultural commodity marketing – all in the aim of increasing profits and minimising risk.  CWFS will hold a number of recurrent workshops over the next 8 months with industry experts and mentors guiding participants through the many options for grain and livestock marketing as well as risk management.  The project is funded by the Federal Farming Together programme, NSW DPI International Engagement, Regional Development Australia Central West (RDACW) and industry stakeholders such as ADM, AWB and GrainCorp.   We were very excited to have a great line up of industry experts for the day – Michael Vaughan (ADM), Sam Reichstein (AWB), Marty Moses (Moses & Son) and Josh Gordon (NSW DPI International Engagement).

Michael Vaughan from ADM started off proceedings and gave an overview of where the world grain status, the terminology (don’t make a firm offer unless you can come up with the goods!) and the current forecast.  Although prices may be low for some grains, there are always opportunities and it is important to be aware of all the options to maximize every dollar (current dry conditions in many parts of Australia will put pressure on local supply and subsequently increase grain prices for our domestic market).  It was also interesting to learn about the vast resources and international linkages of ADM and where our grain in the Central West may end up in the ADM network.  Michael has had many years of grain buying experience in this region and many of our growers are already familiar with him.

Our next presenter was Sam Reichstein from AWB who is another big buyer of grain in the Central West.  Sam gave us a summary of AWB/Cargill (a predominantly trading, storage and processing business) and how it operates in Australia.   Sam explained the components that make up a commodity price, how to determine if a price is ‘good, and how to protect price.  He also talked about basis and what it means for us.   As with Michael, Sam reinforced how understanding the fundamentals is vital to make good decisions – the ones where you can sleep at night.   Having strong basic knowledge gives you more scope and confidence to use other tools such as hedging, futures and options.

Josh Gordon from NSW DPI International Engagement Unit wrapped up the grain session and introduced the competition component of this project which involves participants marketing a virtual agricultural commodity.  This will encourage everyone to use new marketing strategies and try different marketing tools without risking to any ‘real’ farm income.  We look forward to some great results!

Our final presenter for the workshop was Marty Moses, a wool marketing expert from Moses and Son.  Moses and Son is a well-known wool brokering business and and specialises in every aspect of sheep enterprises.  Marty has a deep knowledge of the sheep industry and understands issues ranging from quality standards, wool marketing to best practice animal husbandry just to name a few.  He explained some of the many facets vital to wool marketing that will help maximise profitability in any market environment.  These included knowing your objectives; looking at future opportunities; achieving the balance between wool and lamb production; and focusing on effective reproduction programmes.  Marty’s presentation was very thought provoking and the group had many questions.  Like all the marketing presentations we heard today, it is definitely the case that the more you know, the more you realise you don’t know!   We all look forward to having Marty back again as with Michael, Sam and Josh.

Although the members of the group have varying degrees of understanding of many marketing strategies and opportunities, these workshops are a great forum to ask questions and develop strong relationships with experts within the industry and buyers of our commodities.   We are keen to meet again soon to learn more and support each other to strengthen our businesses and our rural communities.

If you would like any further information on CWFS AgMarketing Project, please contact Diana Fear on 0427 897 530 or cwfs@dpi.nsw.gov.au

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