Growers wanting to brush up on their grain marketing skills or those who want to learn how to improve their farm operation’s profitability can participate in a series of online grain marketing courses taught by experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Grain Marketing in Challenging Times, to be offered Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17, Feb. 24 and March 3, will offer farmers and growers proven tips and techniques to improve marketing skills, said Chris Bruynis, an Ohio State University Extension educator.

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

With lower crop prices forecast for next year, grain marketing will be one of the more critical decisions farm managers will have to make this year, said Bruynis, who is also an assistant professor in the college’s Department of Extension.

“Grain marketing will be increasingly more important to the future success of the farm business in the next few years due to tighter profit margins associated with lower grain prices,” he said. “The course is designed to be introductory in nature, helping participants hone their grain marketing decision-making skills.”

The marketing webinar will be hosted by Bruynis and taught by Matt Roberts, an associate professor in the college’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and an OSU Extension economist.

Course participants will learn how to use futures and options; make a marketing plan to fit their farm business risk capacity; use crop insurance as a grain marketing tool; and understand financial statement analysis in relationship to their grain marketing plan, Bruynis said.

The webinars are not designed to be advanced marketing classes, he said.

Rather, “the series is for farmers who know some marketing strategies but want to get a better handle on calculating their margins and how to use tools such as puts and options,” Bruynis said.

“Farmers who can improve their ability to make better grain marketing decisions will also improve the profitability of their farm operations,” he said. “This course can help them make better management decisions."

The webinar series is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with each course building on information taught in the previous course. Participants can also take part in three follow-up programs: a grain market outlook, a focus on the market after planting, and post-harvest marketing.

Dates and times for the follow-up webinars will be announced later, Bruynis said.

“Each webinar will be recorded and made available to class participants to review either as make-up for missed classes or to listen again to capture the more important concepts discussed,” Bruynis said. “We are striving to make this series as convenient as possible for learners.”

Registration is $69. A registration form can be found at regonline.com/grainmarketing15. The deadline to register is Jan. 28. For more information about the program, contact Bruynis at bruynis.1@osu.edu or 740-702-3200.