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Ag leaders give advice on how to survive

MANKATO — Several corporate agriculture leaders talked about how to survive the current state of farm economy at a Farmfest Virtual 2020 forum Tuesday.

Jason Schwantz, CHS Inc. Refined Fuels Senior Vice President, said it’s not all gloom and doom right now.

“This is a window to buy some cheap fuel. Fill up now,” Schwantz said. “Demand has come back some, but diesel and gasoline prices fell almost $1 this year.”

He said jet fuel demand also fell and won’t come back anytime soon, but he said jet fuel can be made into diesel fuel.

Schwantz said midwest propane inventories are at a five-year low and they need to climb this fall to avoid winter issues.

Arlan Suderman, Chief Commodities Economist at StoneX Group Inc., said Minnesota corn and beans are forecast to top all-time yield records.

Minnesota is forecast to average 202 bushel corn and 55 bushel beans. He said Iowa beans are forecast at 60 bushels an acre, 57 bushels in Wisconsin.

“South Dakota has 85% good to excellent corn, Minnesota 84% and Wisconsin 83%,” Suderman said. “There are big crops out there.”

He said rising product estimates will offset new China demand.

“We see strong shipments of U.S. grain and oil seeds to China from September to January, 2021,” Suderman said.

Mark Greenwood, Chief Diversified Markets Officer at Compeer Financial said online shopping and food pickup and delivery continues to evolve.

“Producers that used risk management tools are getting through this far better than others,” Greenwood said. “Risk management has never been more important. The tools are being adopted.”

Greenwood predicted more price volatility.

“We’re dependent on exports for better prices,” he said.

The forum concluded with advice for the future.

“Things are not going to go back to the way they were,” Schwantz said. “We have to adapt to this in how we live and operate. Those that are unwilling to change as not as likely to survive.”

Suderman advised producers to establish a baseline and know what it is.

“Focus on hitting singles and doubles this year. Protect your equity,” Suderman said.

Greenwood urged producers to be life-long learners to be successful.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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