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November, 2010

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Managing Volatility In Agriculture Web Seminar Series

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Join us beginning December 8 for an engaging web seminar series on Managing Volatility in Agriculture. Each web seminar begins at 9:00 am Pacific, 10:00 am Mountain, 11:00 am Central and 12:00 pm Eastern.
The Ag in Uncertain Times web seminar series is fortunate to have presenters with a sound grasp of the issues surrounding volatility in markets and the tools that are available to help farms and ranches deal with the risks that follow. Agriculture has always faced ups and downs in prices. The rate of change of the factors impacting the agricultural economy seems to be accelerating. Volatility is a common discussion issue where ever farmers and ranchers or their lenders and accountants gather. If the future mimics the recent past, the importance of managing volatility will continue to grow for American agricultural producers.

December 8: Volatility in American Agriculture
Daniel Sumner, Ph.D., Director, University of California, Agricultural Issues Center, and Professor, University of California, Davis will set the context for the Managing Volatility in Agriculture seminar series on December 8 with an overview of the factors continuing to support volatility in ag and input markets. Danny Klinefelter, Ph.D., Professor, Texas A&M University and Extension Economist, Texas AgriLife Extension, will follow with a presentation on the management principles that all producers can apply to their farm and ranch businesses to help manage the variety of risks associated with farm product and input price volatility.

December 9: Volatility and the Livestock Industry
Gary Brester, Ph.D., Professor, Montana State University and John Hewlett, Farm/ Ranch Management Specialist, University of Wyoming will address both sources and causes of volatility in livestock markets over the past 12 months as well as, anticipated changes through the coming year on an international, national, and regional level. An outline of the position that livestock sector participants should take to best weather the coming swings in U.S. livestock markets will conclude the session.

December 15: Volatility and Grains
Ed Allen, International Grains Team, USDA-ERS and Duane Griffith, Extension Farm Management Specialist, Montana State University will address current conditions and future volatility in the grain markets and explain how this type of volatility provides new marketing opportunities for producers. A review of tools available to take advantage of relatively high markets, when they appear, will also be covered.

December 16: Volatility and Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Roberta Cook, Ph.D., Marketing Economist, University of California, Davis, will lead this session by highlighting and discussing major risk factors, issues and trends causing volatility in the fruit and vegetable industry while presenting strategies for the industry to be successful in the 21st century. Kynda Curtis, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Utah State University will provide an overview and discuss several management tools available to minimize the risk and volatility to a fruit and vegetable producing operation.

Links will be provided by the panel for additional information and resources available to participants.

Who Should Attend?
Agricultural lenders, producers, producer organizations, not-for-profit organizations, extension specialists and educators, agency personnel, crop insurance industry personnel, policy makers, and Ag College Leaders.

To Participate:
• No pre-registration is required, however each seminar is limited to 500 users. Sign- on is first come.
• Equipment needed:
– A computer with speakers/headphoneso A high speed internet connection (LAN, DSL/cable modem, high-speed wireless)
• To join a seminar, visit:
• This web link opens a screen that has the Enter as a Guest option selected. Use this option and enter your name and then click on the Enter Room button.
• The start time for all seminars in this series is 9:00 am Pacific. Please log on a few minutes early to view information about how to ask presenters questions and to make sure your audio is working.
• Prior to the meeting date and time, test your computer’s ability to communicate with the system we will use. Visit
AgInUncertainTimes.FarmManagement.org and click on the Test Your Internet Connectivity link on the right hand edge of this page. Follow the instructions provided.

For other inquiries, please contact the WSU Western Center for Risk Management Education 509-477-2196, westrme.wsu.edu.


Friday, November 19th, 2010


A hard hitting, applied, Web Seminar series on Managing Volatility in Agriculture will be held December 8,9,15, and 16. The four, one hour, interactive segments, will be kicked off on December 8 with presentations on the short and long term pressures creating volatility, and a discussion on how and why producers should approach their businesses to manage the sharp ups and downs much of American Agriculture is experiencing.

Each one hour presentation consists of:
• Two leaders with knowledge and experience as presenters
• An outline of the issues to be discussed
• Identifying tools that producers can use in their decision making
• Time for interaction with presenters on each segment.

Details on the program including speakers and how to join the web seminar will follow in two weeks. If you want to make sure you don’t miss the next announcement, please send an email to, jnewkirk@wsu.edu, with a simple statement, “Let me Know”.

Seminar Segments: (Each segment starts at 9 AM Pacific)
• December 8: Volatility in American Agriculture; Causes, Insights, and Management Principles
• December 9: Volatility and the Livestock Industry
• December 15: Volatility and Grains
• December 16: Volatility and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (tools with an emphasis on food safety)

The Web Seminar series is organized and produced by the award winning Western Extension Committee’s Ag in Uncertain Times Team:

Duane Griffith, Montana State University
John Hewlett, University of Wyoming
Trent Teegerstrom, University of Arizona
Ramiro Lobo, University of California Extension
Jeffery Tranel, Colorado State University
John Nelson, Washington State University Extension

Jon Newkirk, Extension Economist and Western Center Director
Washington State University Extension
Western Center for Risk Management Education
222 N Havana
Spokane, WA 99202

Ag In Uncertain Times wins awards. . .

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

September, 2010

A project developed to help producers succeed in challenging times has received three awards from the extension service and economics associations.

Ag in Uncertain Times – helping producers and others meet the challenge is a comprehensive Web site and webinar-series under development by the Cooperative Extension Service in seven Western states to assist producers and other ag-related professionals address changing economic conditions.

“We live and operate in uncertain times,” said John Hewlett, UW extension farm and ranch management specialist. “Unstable markets, high input costs, the falling dollar, low credit availability, bank failures, and a thousand other risks add to the uncertainty of production agriculture.”

Other team members include: Duane Griffith, Montana State University, Ramiro Lobo-University of California, Davis, John Nelson and Jon Newkirk, Washington State University, Trent Teegerstrom, University of Arizona, Jeff Tranel, Colorado State University, and Bob Craven, University of Minnesota.

The program has been recognized for:
1) the 2010 Award of Excellence for a Multi-State Program by the Western Extension Directors,
2) the 2010 Outstanding Extension Program Award for Project by the Western Agricultural Economics Association, and
3) the Outstanding Electronic Media Award for 2010 by the Extension Section of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (national award).

Ag in Uncertain Times was developed as a five part-series to address some of the most important topics in the areas of credit, markets and overall risk, said Hewlett. “Across each of these topics, three essential questions were addressed by the speakers: 1) Where are we? 2) Where do we want to go? and 3) How do we get there?”

“Seventeen webinars were hosted by the team from June through December 2009. Forty speakers provided the presentations and materials to populate the project’s Internet pages,” said Hewlett.

Roger Coupal, head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, praised the effort in his letter of nomination.

“It is clear that the Ag In Uncertain Times project has addressed a timely need,” he said. “Difficult times are already faced by several sectors of the agriculture industry. The project team was able, using current technologies, to assemble several panels of nationally known speakers to address five major topic areas. Furthermore, the team utilized a number of evolving and only recently available technologies to optimize the impact and reach of the programming efforts.”

The project includes handout material and recordings of various presenters, but also offers teaching videos, wiki pages and webinars describing how to utilize the recorded webinars to reach local audiences.

“In a word, I would describe this effort as truly innovative and demonstrates an extraordinary extension team effort to address the difficult times faced by agricultural enterprise managers across the United States,” said Coupal.