By Dirk Aaron

Bell County Extension Agent

Bell County farmers have had a challenging year with high production costs, a wet spring, a very dry summer, September floods, Aflatoxin in corn and fluctuating markets for most all commodities. The challenges are huge in Texas and especially Central Texas.

The common thread for success in the future is that all growers must be skilled at more than just the day to day in the field. They must look at ways to improve their decisions on all aspects of production, and marketing is a key part of that. Developing a deeper understanding of these market challenges has been expressed by many to our office in the last two years.

The Texas AgriLife Extension agents across our region have all had farmers request that the successful Master Marketing schools of the past be continued and that a regional class be held in our area. This request has been heard and the first Central Texas class will soon be in Waco.

The Master Marketer program is designed for agricultural producers and agribusiness leaders experienced in marketing commodities and having some knowledge of futures and options markets. The course contains 64 hours of intensive marketing training, focusing on feed grains, cotton, livestock and wheat.

The course will be in Waco at the Texas Farm Bureau Conference Center, 7410 Fish Pond Road. The dates of the 64-hour course are Jan. 11-13, Jan. 26-27, Feb. 9-10, and Feb. 23-24,

The course, offering a range of topics aimed at enhancing marketing skills, will be approached from a real-world standpoint using numerous case-study examples and simulated problems. The 64 hours of different subjects will include:

Development and implementation of a marketing plan

Basic and advanced marketing strategies

Fundamental and technical analysis

Marketing discipline

Weather impact on market prices

Anyone who doesn't feel they are already at this intermediate to advanced level course should attend the free futures and options leveling workshop Jan. 11 before the beginning of the Master Marketer program.

The brochure and applications are available at our office in Belton. The cost will only be $250 payable to account #222100-60025. The deadline is in January but the class size is limited to the first 60 applications.

RSVP by Monday

The second annual CenTex Beef Cattle Symposium is Friday at the McGregor Research Center in McGregor. There is a $20registration fee, which includes a steak dinner. RSVP is required by Monday for meal planning. There also is an opportunity for booths for agriculture vendors. To register or for more information, call the McLennan County Extension office at (254) 757-5180. Registration for the program will open at 8 a.m.

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