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Five Missouri farmers are taking the opportunity to play the futures market -- without losing the proverbial pot. They are involved in a friendly and educational competition that started this week for agriculture teams across the country.
Missouri Ruralist is sponsoring the Missouri team, named "Show-Me Futures," for the Farm Progress/Southern Extension Marketing Committee FACTSim Trading Competition. All Missouri team members are graduates of Annie's Project conducted by University of Missouri Extension. Several have completed advanced marketing classes offered by the Annie's Project and MU Extension.
Serving as team captain is Dean Adkins of Brashear. Other team members include Betty Curry of Liberty, Amy Dobson of Lexington; Diana Forst of Lamar; and Nancy Schilling of Lockwood. They all are involved in family farm operations.
Adkins, the veteran of the group, has been farming in northeast Missouri since 1965. Still, he acknowledges, you are never too old to learn. "We are all eager to become a better marketer," Adkins says. "This should be a fun way to accomplish that."
While the competition will test their skills in trading, Missouri Ruralist's mission is to help growers improve crop marketing, to give them an opportunity to manage risk in a volatile agricultural economy, and, ultimately, to help them generate more profits from farming.
The Farm Progress/SEMC competition will be played over a longer period – from August to February -- than the traditional SEMC contest, which is conducted during fall harvest time. The teams go online at University of Florida Extension's Web site, called FACTSim, to play the marketing game.
Each trader who enters the competition will be given $100,000 (funny money) to cover margin requirements and any losses the trader incurs during the trading period. If the trader loses all of that money, they can request a loan for additional capital ($50,000 limit) with an initial borrowing fee of 10% and an interest cost of 15% per annum. Trading will be allowed for agricultural commodities listed on the Chicago Board of Trade (grains), Chicago Mercantile Exchange (livestock, pork bellies and lumber), and Intercontinental Commodity Exchange (orange juice and cotton).
Team and individual awards are given at the end of the competition.
We will follow the Show-Me Futures team's progress on this Web site. If you'd like to track the contest and standings, visit the Market $ense blog (under "Blogs" tab, upper left-hand of Missouri Ruralist homepage.) .Also, watch for timely marketing tips and articles from Farm Progress editors in Missouri Ruralist magazine this fall and winter.