AGvisorPRO is pleased to introduce Tom Halpenny to our ever-growing network of independent Experts. Tom is a born & bred agriculturalist who has expertise in many facets of production with a particular focus and passion for grain marketing.
Tom grew up farming and spent 15 years working with his family as a primary producer, learning the art of farm management at the ground level. He went on to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan with a diploma in Agriculture, which opened doors to gain a broad set of skills and experiences in the ag sector.
Tom worked with the government on the policy side of the business and also worked with The Canadian Wheat Board during the peak of its operation. He also spent 6 years working with Cargill in Risk Management.
Through these varying positions, Tom has picked up a huge amount of knowledge about the grain industry from top to bottom and has worked as a farm management consultant for well over a decade. Through Alberta Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Tom has helped over 400 farm customers get a handle on their operations, and maximize their profitability targets.
“Our world is so uncertain. There’s no way to forecast markets 100% effectively or accurately. The most important thing is turning your attention to the farm, and putting your shoulder into figuring out the cost of production, profit target, and how we’re going to take action to achieve that.”
Three Steps to Risk Management
Grain marketing can seem daunting and complicated from the outside, and there is often a desire from farmers for their grain marketing expert to forecast prices a year in advance. Although this seems like a silver-bullet solution to risk management, Tom assures his farmers that no marketing forecast can be accurate all of the time. Tom’s philosophy is to focus more on the farm side of the transaction, and his work with farmers really boils down to three main areas of focus. What is the operation’s cost of production? What’s the profitability target? How is the farmer going to take action to achieve those goals? Success in grain marketing doesn’t come from predicting the future. Rather, it comes from having an intimate understanding of an operation’s finances. The more you know heading into a season, the better the result will be at harvest.
“Let’s face it. With some commodities (wheat, canola), you’ve got a pretty wide range of risk management tools. But for price-risk-management on some other crops, deciding on a production or spot contract is basically the limit. There’s no futures exchange with peas, lentils, etc.”
Better Profitability Targets Through Hedging and Futures
Tom finds his expertise is most in-demand just after the crop has come off, and farmers have a sense of the quality and quantity of their harvest. He also gets a lot of calls pre-seeding, during the planning portion of the year. As growers are finalizing their seeding plans, they’re leaning on Tom to help them determine their profitability target, and how they’re going to get there.
Throughout the growing season, this can lead to many questions about hedging and futures. Tom understands that hedging means different things to different people, but many farmers hedge with the intent of protecting their price. As a grower progresses through a season, logic generally dictates that their percentage of committed grain should increase, which takes from uncertainty and risk off the table. Another important factor in getting the best price is keeping an eye on the overall status of planting. If weather conditions are stalling planting broadly, a farmer could expect to see price spikes, which an aggressive marketing strategy might be able to capitalize on.
Bottom line: You just don’t know what’s going to happen until the crop gets planted.
AGvisorPRO Has The Expertise You Need for Commodity Marketing and Managing Risk
At the end of the day, Tom gets a sense of fulfillment from helping people understand the complexities of the market, and their own situation a little better. Helping farmers find solutions that work drives Tom, and AGvisorPRO couldn’t be happier to help Tom reach even more people through our remote connectivity platform.
AGvisorPRO helps experts like Tom extend their reach, and be on any farm instantly.
If you need an expert like Tom on your farm, make that connection with AGvisorPRO. Follow this link to book a session with Tom instantly. If you’re not on AGvisorPRO yet, why not download the app? AGvisorPRO is available for free on both Apple and Android devices, also, you can book a free demonstration session with one of our team members to get an introduction to see how AGvisorPRO works.