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This Analyst Pays Virtual Visit

Based on the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words, western Canadian grain marketer David Drozd has developed an online marketing service that lets farmers tap into his marketing expertise 24-7-365.

Drozd, who founded Ag-Chieve Corporation seven years ago, has this year launched an online resource centre so clients can read up-to-date reports on commodity markets, listen to Drozd talk about the market, and see the charts flip by as he gives his presentation.

Subscribers log onto to the company website at www.ag-chieve.ca.As a senior grain marketing analyst, Drozd presents a regular 10-minute market report on the company website. Clients can log in at anytime to listen to his commentary, and at the same time see the technical charts and other support materials he describes.

If Drozd, in his commentary, is talking about canola prices for example, a chart showing canola prices over the past year appears on the screen, and producers can see, as Drozd explains, where the price resistance line of $388.40 is and how prices dropped below that in September ’09. They can also see where the next price resistance line sits. It’s like having a marketing presentation right in the farm office.

“We felt it was another level of service that helps explains to producers what the markets are doing,” says Drozd. “You not only hear it, but you can get a visual image of market trends.” And you can watch whenever it’s convenient for you.

The online resource centre is just one of the tools Ag-Chieve uses to provide timely market information to clients on grains, oilseeds and pulse crops, says Bill Smith, the company’s chief operating officer.

“We use a number of formats to help farmers stay connected,” he says. Along with online reports, video streaming and audio-visual presentations, Ag-Chieve also now sends text messages to clients. “Everybody has a cell phone today,” says Smith. “If there is some development in a market, or a bulletin that should go out, we send a text message. If you have a phone on your belt that rings or vibrates, you’ll have the message as quick as that.” The online resource centre is available through both high speed and dial-up Internet service. Along with email, reports can also be faxed.

The company also offers one-day courses on grain marketing strategies.

Ag-Chieve offers a premium service, which is one-on-one contact with clients. Market advisors work with individual producers to help them develop a marketing plan, figure out a rotation with the most profit potential, and time their marketing to meet cash flow requirements.

“But we have surveyed our clients over the years to find out what they want,” says Drozd. “And most want someone they can talk to for advice or feedback on their own marketing strategy.” A ‘here is what I have, this is what I am planning to do, how does the market look?’ type of discussion.

David Drozd, market analyst and Ag-chieve founder, provides paying clients an online market commentary, including recommendations. You can watch it whenever it’s convenient for you. Visit www.ag-chieve.cafor more information about the service.

“For example, last year around December 1 the market news was quite bearish and our advice was don’t sell now, wait for the seasonal tendency to kick in, which means generally we see some improvements in the market in January,” says Drozd. “January is usually a good time to price some grain and we did have a nice rally in January. So we put out a recommendation in December for clients to price enough grain to carry them through until May or June, because the markets are likely to be down through February and into early March as South American supplies become available.

Smith says the Ag-Chieve services are intended to compliment a producer’s own marketing plan. “Our service is an aid to farmers, because most already have a pretty good handle on the numbers,” says Smith. “They have a plan in mind. Most have already sat down with their accountants, they know their costs, they know their needs, they want to get that expert advice on where the markets are going. They may have a plan in mind, but they want to bounce those ideas off someone who is connected to the market.”

One other feature on the Ag-Chieve website is a crop return calculator. Producers can go to the Ag-Chieve resource centre, plug in their own farm numbers and run through some “what if” scenarios, to help them in their planning.

Ag-Chieve offers a range of service levels. Producers interested in the online Resource Centre feature can subscribe for $189 per month (the company offers a 30-day trial offer for $39); and they also have the Premium Service which is a $3,600 per year flat fee. With the Premium Service producers can make use of the one-on-one consulting service as well as access the online resource centre.

Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

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Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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