Mandatory Price Reporting: Make it Essential

“The risk of a government shutdown not only threatens the availability of important market data, but also could endanger the viability of an important risk management tool to protect hog farmers. “… Read more.

Find out about factors affecting margins and strategies you can use to take advantage of current opportunities in the market.

Hog Margin Watch (pdf)

Dairy Margin Watch (pdf)

Beef Margin Watch (pdf)

Corn Margin Watch (pdf)

Soybeans Margin Watch (pdf)

Wheat Margin Watch (pdf)


Older Newsletters

  • Optimize the Benefits of LRP and LGM:


    “Hog producers who are evaluating forward price or margin coverage have many different risk management tools to help address their varied market exposures. “… Read… Read more »

  • Weathering the Storm:


    “Much has been written about the negative outlook for the swine industry and the extremely depressed returns producers are currently experiencing.”… Read more. Find out… Read more »

  • Forward Margin Opportunities


    “As we begin the new year, a lot of uncertainty remains following a tumultuous 2022, but there are reasons to be hopeful and optimistic.”… Read… Read more »

  • Spooky Markets and Volatile Margins:


    “While overall the fundamental backdrop of the hog market is supportive as we move through Q4, one should not lose sight of the risks.”… Read… Read more »

  • What Could Go Wrong? Maintaining Discipline Amid Market Uncertainty.


    “Producers have been given a chance to remove significant risk from their operations over the next year while maintaining opportunity to the upside through flexible… Read more »

  • Improved Livestock Insurance: A Critical Component of the Margin Management Toolbox


    “For many of us involved in the pork industry, the turn of the calendar to June means World Pork Expo is once again upon us…. Read more »

  • The Impact of Feed Costs on Hog Margins


    “Hog margins have steadily improved since the beginning of the year. Futures markets are projecting the highest forward-looking hog margins for a model operation since… Read more »

  • Keeping Vigilant For Margin Opportunities


    “The outlook for forward hog margins is less optimistic than it was even a month ago following the release of the USDA’s September Hogs &… Read more »

  • Opportunities and Risks Abound While Hog Margins Remain Attractive


    “In today’s fast-paced world where everyone is connected to the 24-hour news cycle, it can be difficult to tune out noise and opinions.”… Read more…. Read more »

  • Does it Pay to Wait Selling Corn in an Inverted Market?


    “Crop producers are likely tight-fisted with new-crop bushels given bullish price expectations and the futures market inversion, although history suggests they may want to consider… Read more »

  • Livestock Risk Protection Valuable to Producers’ Toolbox


    “The last twelve months is a period most of us would just as soon move past. While much attention was focused on a global pandemic,… Read more »

  • August 2020 – It’s Time to Re-examine Livestock Revenue Protection


    “Tumultuous market conditions and repeated ad-hoc disaster payments highlight need for improved longer-term, market-based support for livestock producers.”… Read more. Find out about factors affecting… Read more »

  • May 2020 – Understanding Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments


    “After the roll out of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, it’s important to understand who qualifies and how payments are calculated for eligible commodities”… Read… Read more »

  • Feb 2020 – Understanding USDA Cutout Reports


    “As more and more hog producers have contracts tied to cutout, it’s important to understand the various reports USDA releases and the information contained in… Read more »

  • Dec 2019 – Supply, Demand and Price – Looking Ahead to 2020


    “Hog producers begin 2020 with increased optimism over trade and demand, although it is important to remember the supply side situation and its impact on… Read more »

  • July 2019 – Keeping Improved Hog Margins in Perspective


    “Hog producers are facing significant volatility this year from the impact of China’s African Swine Fever outbreak and the ongoing trade war with the U.S…. Read more »

  • April 2019 – Managing Hog Margins in a High Volatility Market


    Given the recent spike in hog prices and volatility, producers may find that a “portfolio” approach to margin management may help to spread the risk… Read more »

  • Dec 2018 – The New Year Brings Both Hope and Fear


    With 2018 now over, many producers are no doubt looking ahead to the New Year with optimism that a trade deal will be struck with… Read more »

  • Oct 2018 – Managing Risks & Opportunities in the Current Hog Market


    Hog producers are faced with heightened uncertainty moving forward due to many factors including increased domestic production and processing capacity, trade issues, and the presence… Read more »

  • Sep 2018 – Dairy Revenue Protection


    Dairy producers now have a new risk management tool to add to their arsenal as they weigh alternatives to protect milk revenue in forward production… Read more »

  • Jul 2018 – Comparing Cash Contracts


    Many hog producers are thinking about, or are in the process of negotiating new packer contracts that will change the way they are paid for… Read more »

  • Jun 2018 – A Quick Look into NASS Surveys and Forecasting


    National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is responsible for the task of providing production and yield estimates for most crops grown in the United States. As… Read more »

  • Apr 2018 – The Cash Market and Futures Curve


    Many traders study the relationship between the cash market and futures, as well as the relationship between nearby futures prices and deferred futures contracts. The… Read more »

  • Mar 2018 – Understanding the CFTC COT Report


    Many traders closely follow the CFTC’s Commitments of Traders reports to look at the breakdown of open interest in the market, and specifically, how managed… Read more »

  • Feb 2018: Managing Grain and Oilseed Strength


    Despite expectations for limited movement in the grain and oilseed markets following large U.S. harvests last fall, winter weather in Argentina has negatively impacted crop… Read more »

  • Jan 2018: Make the Most of Strong Margins


    While the primary goal of margin management is to reduce the risk of loss, the same types of strategies are also valuable when margins are… Read more »

  • Dec 2017: Keep Your Balance Sheet Strong


    Most producers inherently understand that they operate in cyclical industries. They may allow their balance sheets to expand in good years and let the ledger… Read more »

  • Nov 2017: Strategies for Low-Margin Environments


    Although it is easier to strategize about protecting profitability when margins are good, a sound risk management plan applies to all environments, and is even… Read more »

  • Oct 2017: Today’s Opportunities: Low-Cost Feed Protection


    As both corn futures prices and corn option implied volatility hover near historical lows, livestock producers may want to consider securing low-cost protection now for… Read more »

  • Sept 2017: Account for the Impact of Milk Check Deductions


    While no one likes a smaller milk check, dairy risk managers who want to protect their profitability will need to account for mandatory deductions in… Read more »

  • August 2017: Managing Uncertainty in Forward Hog Margins


    While many hog producers are celebrating the prospect of additional slaughter capacity, they may also have concerns the impact on hog margins from three new… Read more »

  • Keys to a Successful Advisor Relationship


    A good risk management advisor can be a valuable asset for agriculture producers, especially during volatile markets. But who you work with – and how… Read more »

  • The Limitations of Seasonality Data


    While seasonality considerations can be an important part of a thoughtful margin management policy, the value of seasonality data has it limits and producers should… Read more »

  • Optimize Your Capital


    For most agriculture producers, capital is an asset in limited supply. Hedging strategies, such as trading futures and options, can become quite capital intensive. That’s… Read more »

  • Managing Counterparty Risk


    When Grassland Dairy Products cancelled contracts with several producers in Wisconsin, it forced those producers to scramble for a replacement processor. Fortunately, it appears that… Read more »

  • Hedging vs. Speculating


    Of all the questions we receive about margin management, one that comes up frequently is: how can I be sure that my position is a… Read more »

  • Increased Uncertainty Requires More Flexible Margin Management


    Agricultural producers are accustomed to a certain degree of uncertainty. But this year there is an added layer of unknowns over potential changes to trade… Read more »

  • Why You Should Get to Know Delta


    Today, many agriculture operations find they need the flexibility of exchange-traded options, which allow you not only to protect attractive margins, but also capture future… Read more »

  • Lessons Learned from 2016


    As a new year begins, we take the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and learn from what happened in the markets. Following… Read more »

  • Give Your Lender More Confidence in Your Future


    A sound, detailed margin management policy document can facilitate the credit review step by giving your lenders confidence that you have a well thought-out strategy… Read more »

  • Are You Asking the Right Margin Management Questions?


    Whether your margin management is guided by a formal policy document or a loose set of rules, chances are that it essentially boils down to… Read more »

  • What Hog Producers Need to Know About Changes to USDA Reports


    You may have heard that USDA will soon implement changes to its hog industry reports. But if you are like many hog producers, you may… Read more »

  • Avoid Local (and Other) Bias


    Like many farmers, you may see signs all around you that corn supply is robust and prices will stay low. While you may see clear… Read more »

  • Managing Risk When Margins are Low – or Negative


    You may think that the goal of margin management is to capture and protect favorable margins. And you would be right – but only to… Read more »

  • June Newsletter


    Make a Margin Management Succession PlanPreparing for the next generation to take over the family operation is a critical step. Learn the factors to consider… Read more »

  • May Newsletter


    Incorporating Seasonality Into a Margin Management PlanThis month, we explore how seasonality affects margins and why producers may want to consider this factor as part of… Read more »

  • April Newsletter


    Featured Article -Margin Management Adjustments – A Look at the Recent Soybean Meal Market Our feature article this month examines the recent volatility in soybean… Read more »

  • March Newsletter


    Featured Article – MPP Revisited Our feature article this month revisits a topic that we have examined previously in the dairy sector. The Margin Protection… Read more »

  • February Newsletter


    Inside This Issue The issue of how to handle managing the price of corn when you both grow it and feed it to your livestock… Read more »

  • January Newsletter


    MARGIN MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: AN INTERVIEW WITH JASON BLOCK We sat down with CIH Vice President of Technology, Jason Block to gather his insights… Read more »

  • December Newsletter


    Featured Article – 2015 Year-End Review – Lessons Learned: In this year-end issue of Margin Manager, we take a look back to reflect on our… Read more »

  • November Newsletter


    Featured Article – Understanding Swap Agreements In the last few Margin Managers, we have featured articles discussing some of the more common alternatives used including… Read more »

  • October Newsletter


    Featured Article – Contracting with Futures In our last installment, we discussed forward contracting agreements in the cash market along with some of the considerations… Read more »

  • September Newsletter


    Feature Article – Forward Contracting Agreements The feature article this month begins our series into comparing contracting alternatives. In Forward Contracting Agreements, we discuss the… Read more »

  • August Newsletter


    Feature Article – Contracting Comparisons There has been a proliferation in the use of swaps contracts over the years as both a speculative and risk… Read more »

  • July Newsletter


    Feature Article – Margin Management Adjustments – A Look at Corn While most producers abhor volatility and the added stress it brings, it also affords… Read more »

  • June Newsletter


    Feature Article – Open Outcry Goes Dark Our feature article this month, “Open Outcry Goes Dark” discusses the CME Group’s decision to close down open… Read more »

  • May Newsletter


    Feature Article – Historical Analysis and Margin Management Our feature article this month, “Historical Analysis and Margin Management” discusses the benefits of adopting a long-term… Read more »

  • April Newsletter


    April Margin Watch Summaries With spring now firmly established across the country, attention has turned to planting progress and the outlook for this year’s crops…. Read more »

  • March Newsletter


    Feature Article – Margin Management and Seasonality Revisited In “Margin Management and Seasonality Revisited,” we discuss implied volatility and how this relates to an option’s… Read more »

  • February Newsletter


    Feature Article – Revisiting the MPP Our feature article, “Revisiting MPP” explores coverage that the program offers in light of where current margins may exist… Read more »

  • January 2015 Newsletter


    As many hog producers are aware, the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act (LMR) is set to be reauthorized by Congress in September, 2015. This month’s newsletter… Read more »

  • December Newsletter


    Inside this issue you’ll find the latest Margin Watch reports for the beef, crop, dairy and hog industries. We’ve also put together an article detailing… Read more »

  • November Newsletter


    This month’s issue of Margin Manager includes the following: Protecting Higher Prices Against Long Physical Ownership – This article addresses a common question that comes… Read more »

  • October Newsletter


    This month’s issue of Margin Manager includes the following: The Cash Market and Margin Management – Explores when it may be advantageous to contract a… Read more »

  • September Newsletter


    This month’s issue of Margin Manager includes Margin Watch Reports for Hogs, Beef, Dairy, Corn, Soybeans and Wheat. And a special Dairy White Paper, entitled,… Read more »

  • August Newsletter


    This month’s issue of Margin Manager includes 12 pages of in-depth coverage, including: Margin Watch Reports for Hogs, Beef, Dairy, Corn, Soybeans and Wheat. And… Read more »

  • July Newsletter


    This month’s issue of Margin Manager includes 16 pages of in-depth coverage, including: Margin Watch Reports for Hogs, Beef, Dairy, Corn, Soybeans and Wheat. And… Read more »

  • June Issue


    Inside this issue of Margin Manager you’ll find: Chip Whalen explores the importance of maintaining flexibility. Q&A: “What if I Feed My Own Corn?” Interview:… Read more »

  • May Issue


    Inside the May issue of Margin Manager, you’ll find: Chip Whalen tells you how to factor production risk into your margin management plan. Q&A: Michael… Read more »

  • April Issue


    Inside the April issue of Margin Manager, you’ll find: Get the latest Margin Watch reports for beef, corn, dairy, hog, beans and wheat Chip Whalen… Read more »

  • March Issue


    Inside the April issue of Margin Manager, you’ll find: Hog producers, Bob and Joe Dykhuis discuss the way the margin approach reduces stress levels and… Read more »

  • February Issue


    Inside the inaugural issue of Margin Manager, you’ll find: Dairyman, Steve Whitesides discusses the way he leverages the margin approach to make volatility work for… Read more »