Alberta’s agricultural and agri-food sector is more than just cattle. As far and away Canada’s leading producer of cattle and calf, it’s understandable that Alberta’s agricultural reputation skews in that direction. But Alberta also produces vast amounts of wheat, barley, canola and pulses to name just a few of the crops growing in Alberta farms; and Albertan ranchers are also raising goats, horses, sheep and bison.
As an Albertan farmer, you need to be aware of fluctuating markets and environmental conditions, the occupational safety of farm employees, the health concerns of your livestock and/or crops and any number of unforeseen events that threaten your farming operations in Alberta. The commercial insurance specialists at ALIGNED have put together some information in this post to help you navigate some of those risks.
Protecting your Profits – Agricultural Marketing for Farms in Alberta
In this instance, marketing refers to the steps involved in bringing an agricultural product from farm or range to table as opposed to promotional or advertising activities. The Government of Alberta describes agricultural marketing as “planning to have what you can sell at a good price.” On their “Seven Steps to Better Marketing” page, these are the marketing steps they recommend to help you decide on what to produce, how much to price it and the optimal time to sell. Here’s a summary of their recommendations:
“Step 1: Decide what to produce
Price is the market signal that tells farm managers what to produce. Gather price information, market outlook and price forecasts to help you decide what to produce each year.
Step 2: Understand unit cost of production
Calculate your cost per unit to identify which crops are most profitable. One tool you can use to do this is our Crop Returns Calculator. The calculator allows you to calculate production costs, breakeven points and returns to equity based on your inputs.
Step 3: Set price targets and thresholds
Determine what you think the market will give over the year and how much profit you think you can make based on your cost of production.
Step 4: Determine timing of sales
Look at your cash needs, storage capacity and price patterns to determine when you should sell portions of your harvest.
Step 5: Get informed about the market
Look at basis levels, price trends and other current market information.
Price signals are covered in other sections of this guide. See also: Agricultural economics, competitiveness and statistics page.
Step 6: Consider your marketing alternatives
Marketing alternatives include:
- selling for cash, that is, spot prices
- pooling your grain sales with other producers to receive the average price over several months, that is, price pooling
- using deferred delivery contracts
- hedging using futures and options
Step 7: Make a marketing plan
Evaluate, review and modify your marketing plan throughout the year based on current market information.”i
In order to implement these steps, you will need information on:
- current market prices and futures prices if available
- market trend analysis of previous years
- market forecasts
- expert opinions on strategies and contingencies for success in current and future market conditions
Of course, risk management doesn’t end with having a plan to sell in-demand commodities. Nobody knows better than farmers in Alberta that bad weather, insects, viruses and farm equipment failure can also cause a farm to go under.
Alberta Farm Insurance – What’s Covered
The basic coverages of a farm business insurance plan in Alberta brokered by the commercial insurance specialists at ALIGNED will be customized to the scale and products of your Alberta farm and can include insurance options for livestock, harvested crops or both for mixed farmers. It can also cover costs associated with farm equipment and machinery breakdowns, buildings and other physical assets. For more information please visit our Canadian Farm Insurance Special Coverage Overview page.
The following are other insurance products we recommend be included as part of your farm business insurance in Alberta:
Commercial Property Insurance because the farming structures on your land also need to be protected from fires, flooding, hail and other bad weather events. We also recommend adding an extension for Farming Business Interruption coverage to help you manage your operating costs after an insured event.
Commercial General Liability Insurance for legal protection against personal injury, property damage and/or and Product Liability Insurance, Extensions or separate policies can also be written to include Product Recall Insurance and Pollution Liability Insurance which we sometimes recommend to farmers in Alberta depending on their farming operations.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance or Transportation Insurance for trucks, transport and recreational vehicle used as part of your Alberta farming operations.
Integrated Alberta Farm Insurance with ALIGNED – Experts in Risk Management
Our ALIGNED insurance brokers are specialists in commercial insurance policies and risk-management – we only deal in commercial insurance such as farm insurance, commercial auto insurance, business insurance, event insurance, manufacturing insurance etc.
We make it our business to know the unique risks of every type of farming concern in Alberta and how to protect your farm from them. Contact an ALIGNED advocate and get a free quote on Alberta farm insurance in minutes.
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