Minnesota Marketing Groups Facilitated
by Agricultural Business Management Team Members
Marketing clubs are ongoing group training and discussion sessions focused on marketing methods, tools, issues, conditions, and trends. The sessions include formal teaching with research based materials from the University of Minnesota, and other credible sources along with discussion facilitated by Regional Extension Educators. Each group formulates a pre-harvest and post-harvest marketing plan that is used to benchmark individual marketing performance.
Most groups consist of 10 to 20 member farms and meet 12 to 20 times per year for 90 to 120 minutes. A group usually meets for two to three years and then disbands or reorganizes with new members. Local sponsors are involved in promoting, developing and managing these groups.
Typical members of marketing clubs are commodity grain and livestock producers of any size and the agricultural professionals that support them. These supporting professionals include but are not limited to, agricultural lenders, crop insurance agents, grain merchandisers, commodity brokers. There have been, and will be in the future, clubs that consist primarily of women producers and Ag professionals. Each farm pays a fee to cover the cost of materials, travel, technology and other costs associated with operating and managing these groups.
Marketing clubs have a long history in the Midwestern United States and have seen a resurgence in recent years in Minnesota as a direct result of the University of Minnesota's Master Marketer and Winning the Game programs. ABM educators have been teaching at, facilitating and organizing marketing clubs for over 7 years.
Numerous marketing clubs that are supported at some level by the University of Minnesota are located throughout the State of Minnesota. Clubs that are managed and facilitated by Ag Business Management Educators and their local partners are located in Southwestern, West Central, and Central Minnesota. Current U of M Marketing Groups are located in Brown County(Sleepy Eye), Murray County(Slayton), Elbow Lake, Wanda, Barrett, St. Cloud, Wheaton, Fergus Falls, and Halstad.
A survey of Mature Marketing Clubs in Minnesota (62 groups and 173 surveys returned) showed these results. 155 reported positive impacts on their operation due to attending marketing group sessions. The reported a 163% improvement in the use of marketing plans with an average increase of income per operation of $20,401. Those surveyed also made these comments:
- The marketing club is another excellent source of information on market trends and analysis. Sharing ideas is probably the best information I receive from the meetings.
- Marketing is a continual learning experience. It only ends when you exit production agriculture. A person could not take in too much information. I would like to see the marketing club stressed to more Ag producers.
- This has been, and continues to be a very positive experience. Discussing issues at hand, strategies and plans helps me to make decisions and /or write my marketing plan. Also gives me the courage to make decisions otherwise I have a tendency to procrastinate.
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