Category: Other News

11 Mar 2024


Corn has managed to peel off its recent lows despite no major changes in the market. South America’s harvest is moving right along, while the crop appears to be smaller than initially anticipated, the increase in acreage seen will still likely make this a record crop. The March USDA Crop Report gave a little ground in their estimates for South American production of soybeans but slightly raised the estimates for production in Argentina for corn. These changes were inconsequential to any market movement as CONAB numbers this week will be the next data to give the market more direction.

Via Barchart

Soybeans got some good, but not great, news in the USDA report with the USDA slightly lowering the production in Brazil. While many private estimates in South America are still lower than the USDA’s, this shows that the USDA believes the others may be right but are not yet willing to give all their production back. This week’s CONAB numbers will be worth keeping an eye on. Basis has been slowly rising during harvest, hinting at this crop being smaller than expected. Continued gains following Tuesday’s report would be welcome as the further we can put the lows behind us, the better.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets continued their grind higher with a broadening in recent weeks to other names outside of the Magnificent 7. With slower job growth and a slightly higher unemployment rate, the Fed appears to be getting what they aimed for in a soft landing, but inflation is still sticky. The Fed may begin cutting rates in the second half of 2024.

Via Barchart

Other News

  • The stock market continues to make all time highs while AI stocks have driven this rally, some rebalancing appears to be occurring.

Drought Monitor

Here is the current drought monitor as we head toward planting with subsoil moisture a focus.


Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or [email protected].

17 Nov 2023

Hedging: Futures and Options 101

Futures trading has been around for hundreds of years with the first exchange, Dojima Rice Exchange, starting in Japan in 1730.

The United States got its first official commodity trading exchange in 1848 when the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was created. Chicago was the ideal location for the exchange with rail lines and proximity to the heartland of American agriculture and an already booming metropolis. As one would expect, corn, soybeans, and wheat were among the first futures contracts traded with corn leading the way.

Eventually the CBOT merged with the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) to form the CME Group that exists today as the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange. While futures and options are used to trade several asset classes through the CME, we will focus on the agriculture sector and the uses there.

What are Futures and Options?

Futures and options are tools that traders use to both speculate and hedge. A futures contract is a legally binding financial instrument that allows someone to buy or sell a standardized asset for delivery at a set future time for a set price. Futures are different from forward contracts because of the standardized contracts, and they are traded on exchanges. While a forward may be customized with the point of delivery the contracts traded on exchange have defined contract amounts (see chart below).

An options contract is the right but NOT the obligation between two parties to make a potential transaction of an underlying security at a preset price before or on the expiration date.

As we go through all the uses and potential ways futures and options can be used here are some questions you should be able to answer at the end.

  • What are the basic uses of futures and options?
  • What advantages and disadvantages does using futures and options have?
  • How can I use these as risk management tools?
  • How to calculate the profit or loss from a trade?

Hedging with Futures

Hedging in the futures world can best be thought of as a type of insurance. It is used to manage the risk that prices could move adversely to your interests. Hedging is used in all markets to manage positions and reduce exposure to various risks including but not limited to dramatic increases or decrease in price.

Hedging is used in the production agriculture industry to help protect downward price movements and for buyers/ end users to lock in prices for goods that will be sold/bought in the future. Whether you are a farmer selling your crop or an end user buying the grain there are hedge strategies that are available for your operation.

While futures are the most straight forward method of hedging, options are also very popular as they provide some flexibility. Let’s look at a couple examples:

Ex. You are a producer and want to hedge the risk of prices moving lower:

A farmer believes the basis, currently -$0.20, will improve over the next couple months but is happy with a $6.50 futures price. They sell $6.50 March futures while storing the grain. They were right and basis is flat come February, but the price fell to $6.40. This would result in a final price of $6.50 for the farmer minus fees and commissions ($0.10 trade profit + $0.00 basis + $6.40 cash price – fees and commissions). If they had just made the sale at the time when basis was -$0.20 they would have only received a price of $6.30.

On the other side if prices had gone up to $7.00 and basis had remained at -$0.20 the farmer would receive that $6.30 price minus fees and commissions ($7.00 price at time of sale to elevator -$0.50 loss from trade – $0.20 basis – fees and commissions = $6.30). If they were right about basis and it did improve to $0.00, then the price they would receive is $6.50 minus fees and commissions ($7.00 price from elevator – $0.50 loss from trade + $0.00 basis – fees and commissions)

*Fees and commissions vary by broker

Ex. You are an end user that buys grain to feed cattle.

The feeder is comfortable paying current prices because they believe they can make a profit locking in part of the input costs at current levels but is worried prices will move higher. They buy 25,000 bushels for a future month (let’s use July) for $6.00. If prices go up to $6.50 when it is time to buy the corn in July, basis remains the same, they will save themselves $.50 cents a bushel or a total of $12,500 – minus any fees and commissions* ($6.50 x 25,000 = $162,500; $6.00 x 25,000 = $150,000). In this scenario they were right and were able to protect against adverse price movements and save themselves money.

If they had been wrong and prices moved lower by 50 cents, then they would have cost themselves $12,500. The payoff of hedging comes with knowing you have certain prices locked in and help set ceilings and floors to help you budget and manage risk.

While these are some straightforward ways in which futures can be used to hedge, there are other strategies that traders employ that may be specific to the customer. For more information on hedging grains check out the education courses on the CME Group website.

Hedging with Options

Being long an options contract is the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying futures contract at a predetermined price on or before a given date in the future. Many customers like these because they require less capital up front, but that does not eliminate risk. Below the charts show the difference in movement.




Via Schwab

Via StackExchange

Options can be used to reduce uncertainty and limit loss without significantly reducing the potential returns from the other side. There are put and call options that each have different uses and strategies around. Here is an example with each.

Ex. You are a farmer looking to limit downside risk.

1 Dec corn put option is bought for 20 cents per bushel with a strike of $6.50 expiring in Nov. The 1 contract represents 5,000 bushels. The farmer is risking the $1,000 + commissions and fees he paid up front (5,000 bu x $0.20) to protect a move lower. If the price when the option approaches maturity of Dec corn is $6.00 then the farmer successfully protected that $6.50 price while risking the $0.20 (the option would cost around $0.50 then and you would sell it to get out of it or exercise it and get assigned a short position from $6.50).  The total profit on the trade would be $0.30 less commissions (Option strike price of $6.50 – Market settlement $6.00 – cost of the option $0.20).

If the price had moved higher to $7.00 you would benefit from the higher price to make your sale but the $0.20 you paid for the option would be worth close to $0.00, making your actual price $6.80.

            Ex. You are an end user looking to limit the upside price risk.

1 Dec corn call option is bought for 20 cents with a strike of $6.50 expiring in Nov. The end user is risking the $1,000 + commissions and fees he paid up front to protect against a move higher. If the price when the option approaches maturity of Dec corn is $7.00 then you are protected against that move while risking the $0.20. The option would be worth close to 50 cents ($2,500-commissions and fees – the cost of the option $1,000 for a total profit of $1,500 per contract).

If the price had moved lower to $6.00 then you would benefit from buying at a lower price but would lose the 20 cents with the price of the option being close to $0.00, making your real purchase price closer to $6.20.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using either hedging strategy, so it is important to think about what you are trying to accomplish when taking a position. The advantages include ease of pricing, liquidity, and price risk hedging. By actively hedging you can work to limit the price risk or lock in prices that you like or believe can lock in a profit margin for your business. The disadvantages are the risk of being wrong and adverse price movements against your position. As shown above, while these tools can be very helpful it is important to understand their limitations and risks.


Futures and options are also used in the markets every day for speculative purposes allowing for additional volume and liquidity to support the hedging side of the market. That said, with additional volume comes increased volatility and price movement forcing all market participants (hedgers and speculators) to be highly focused on managing risk and profit margins.  Practically, the examples above work the same way for someone trading these contracts that do not deal with the physical side.

For more on how hedge funds are utilizing commodity markets, check out the RCM Alternatives Guide to Commodity Trend Following:


Futures initial margin is the amount of money that you must deposit in advance of entering a futures position with the FCM (Futures Clearing Merchant). Unlike the margin in a stock account, there is no money being borrowed or an interest rate to be paid for using house funds.  Rather, margin is cold / hard cash deposited by the customer in their account at the FCM that acts like a partial downpayment to hold the position.  If the market moves against the initial trade, traders can expect that additional funds will need to be deposited.

Similar to futures margin, option margins are an important factor when using options strategies. Margin is the cash an investor must have on deposit as collateral before purchasing (buying) or writing (selling) options. Often times, the initial margin requirement for an option is low; however, there are more factors to consider with option margin pricing – including but not limited to changes in volatility or the proximity to option expiration.

In the case of both futures and options, margin requirements are set by the exchanges and change from time to time at the sole discretion of either the exchange or FCM.

Maintenance margin is the minimum equity an investor must hold in the account after the purchase to continue to hold the position.

Expiration and Settlement

Expiration dates vary based on the derivative being traded but is the last day that derivatives contracts are valid. Most option contracts are closed or rolled before expiration to avoid assignment.

If the futures contract is held too long, then the customer could risk being assigned delivery. Over 95% of the derivatives are exited early but there are options to take delivery should that be desired.

A link to the expiration calendar can be found here.


In summary, futures and options trading offer a dynamic landscape for both hedging and speculative purposes. Whether you’re a farmer safeguarding against price fluctuations or a trader seeking to capitalize on market movements, understanding these financial instruments is crucial.

The advantages of ease of pricing and liquidity come hand in hand with the responsibility to manage risks diligently. As we’ve explored the intricacies of hedging with futures and options, delving into the significance of margin requirements and the nuances of expiration and settlement, it’s evident that these tools wield immense potential when managed properly.

RCM Ag Services

Farmers, producers and end users have special needs that our experienced hedging/ag trading team have been working through with clients for years. Improve your hedging strategy by making use of RCM’s market analysis and discussing hedge solutions with our local experienced agricultural advisors.  Contact us Here:


To dive even deeper into the world of futures and options, explore the education materials on the CME Group website here.

Happy trading!

09 Nov 2023


The November USDA Report raised US yields and ending stocks. From what we have been hearing about yields in the eastern corn belt the rise in yields was not that unexpected while a 1.9 bu/ac jump higher to 174.9 was not quite expected. Rarely does the November report differ so much from the Sep/Oct yields, but the yields in IL, IN, and OH made up for losses seen in the western corn belt and plains. Current support is at $4.67 for Dec corn, but a close below that could lead lower. If that holds, we should expect the sideways trade we have seen for the next month+. US corn yield 174.9 bpa. Us corn production 15.234 billion bushels.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had seen a good run over the last couple of weeks until the USDA report took a hit. While beans are still well off their lows the report’s reaction saw beans lose 20 cents. Like corn, soybeans saw their yield increased to 49.9 bu/ac. The Chinese demand situation and northern Brazil’s dry weather have been bullish for beans and will be a bullish talking point if they last and the main news moving forward. US soybean yield 49.9 bu/ac. US soybean production 4.129 billion bushels.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets had their longest winning streak of the year in the past couple weeks, climbing back from the latest move lower. Inflation is cooling and the Fed appeared to be done (for now) with changing rates which allows the market to take a deep breath as a “soft landing” appears attainable. Fed Chair Powell today said that he is not confident the Fed has achieved sufficiently restrictive rate to bring down inflation, allowing for some concern of further rate hikes. While earnings have not been stellar across the board strength in some important areas has given the markets fuel for this most recent rally.

Via Barchart


Cotton is a supply and demand story right now with ample supply and a lack of demand. World geopolitical issues and the risk of a recession have kept buying down as producers do not want to be stuck with inventory nobody wants to buy.



Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or [email protected].


25 Aug 2023

The Role of Commercials and End Users in the Agriculture Industry: Understanding Price/Volatility Risk and Proactive Risk Management


The penultimate step of the process for grain is reaching a commercial elevator before going to an end-user to be converted to a final product. These elevators range in size from your local country elevator with little storage capacity to large elevators with millions of bushels capacity. While some producers deliver straight to the end user in areas where that is an option, commercial elevators handle millions and millions of bushels a year of almost every commodity grown in the US. Once the elevators receive the grain, they ship it to the end-user by rail, barge, or other means.

Commercials and How They Fit In

While commercial elevators come towards the end of the process, they have made selling grain as a farmer easier with convenient locations and increased capacity. Railroads played the largest role in the growth and expansion of the United States in the West, which directly led to the growth in farming in the late 1800s. While all elevators are not along railroads or major waterways, you will find the larger ones here as these locations allow for more volume.

On-farm and off-farm storage (elevators) for grains have grown over the years as the US produces more and more while the world consumes it. For the last 20 years, storage capacities have grown close to even with the increase in production and will continue to grow as the world population grows and more supply is needed.

Another example of a commercial facility would be a crush facility. The growth of soybean crush capacity has expanded in the last several years and looks to continue as the demand for soybean oil used in renewable diesel continues to grow. The growth in renewable diesel over the last few years and years to come have made crush facilities a major commercial player now and will only get bigger in the future. Crush facilities close to the growers allow easier access to the beans and competitive prices increase demand.

While it will take time, we will see a shift from soybean meal to soybean oil as the main product coming from these crush facilities. Clean Fuels Alliance America projected renewable diesel production could hit 5.5 billion gallons but 2026 if expansions and new facilities continue. This increase would raise demand for more soy oil, changing the commercial structure that the US has seen in the last 20 years.

End Users and Their Role

End users consume the commodity in all sorts of ways. From feed yards to crush facilities (who then sell the oil and meal) to food production companies, end users cover a wide range of groups. These users face risk on several sides, with the cost of inputs going up and the value of their finished product going down due to other factors. End users face basic economic factors such as recessions and inflation that will affect their revenue, making them adjust their plans of inputs.

While the easy way to think about end users is who makes your cereal, it is crucial to remember how large the commodity space is and that it touches almost every industry. Homebuilders are end users and have seen an increase in their inputs, with lumber moving higher in 2021 before moving lower. If these types of companies cannot effectively manage their risk, it can cost consumers hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year.

Proactive and Disciplined Risk Management

Along with the enormous capacity, commercials, and end users also carry a tremendous amount of price/volatility risk requiring a proactive and disciplined risk management approach to maximize the margins of their operation and keep the system moving forward.

Today’s volatile markets have brought unprecedented levels of risk and reward, highlighting the significance of adapting to this environment. With its interdependent supply chain, the agriculture sector is particularly susceptible to the ripple effects of market fluctuations. This is especially true in the current inflation landscape, soaring prices, energy scarcity, and labor shortages.

How RCM Ag Services works with Commercials

RCM Ag Services utilizes our independent standing, national producer reach, and tech partnerships to bring our commercial agriculture customers best-in-class tools and resources to improve efficiency, increase revenues, and generate more customer volume. With our suite of tools and products, your operation can share in markup on products, improve risk management, achieve better FCM clearing rates, and produce more bushels.

Our market commentary allows commercial elevators to keep up with what is going on all over the country and other parts of the world in an easy-to-read and follow format. This allows you to focus on your operation and make it run to its best ability.

For more information on how RCM Ag Services can support your team, follow the link below.

11 Aug 2023

Transportation & Logistics: The Role of Moving Agricultural Commodities


While producing crops and other commodities is essential, the transportation industry behind the scenes plays a critical role in getting it where it needs to go on time. Whether by truck, railroad, barges, or large over sea vessels, the transport of raw commodities is how the world is fed. Several commodities must be transported in a timely manner relying on a complex supply chain environment. This blog discusses the main areas listed above and their role in feeding the world.


According to a report by the USDA titled “The Importance of Highways to U.S. Agriculture,” published in December 2020, the trucking industry plays a pivotal role in the agriculture sector of the United States. Trucks are the primary means of transporting commodities by weight, accounting for 83% of agriculture freight by weight and over 50% of agricultural freight ton-miles.

Although they are typically used for short distances, trucks are essential in the movement of commodities. In fact, even for grains commonly transported by rail and barge over long distances, over 70% of cargo is moved by trucks. This highlights the significant contribution of trucks to the transportation of agricultural goods, particularly for meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, where the truck mode share is greater than 95%.

While railroads, barges, and other vessels are the preferred method for long-distance transport, almost every commodity touches a truck at some point in the transportation process. The US roads and highways are important in making trucking efficient; as the world progresses, so must the trucking process. As electric trucks and autonomous vehicles gain market share, this will be one way the trucking industry will change in the years to come, as efficiency will be important in feeding the growing world.


Railroads cover millions of miles across the US and the world and transport both people and goods to where they need to be. Most agriculture production is done away from the coasts but needs to get there to be exported; this is where rail becomes an important player.

Corn, wheat, and soybeans are the most common farm products shipped via rail.  The chart below shows the dispersion of amounts on the rails from 2015-2020.

The following chart shows the total tonnage shipped via rail of specific commodities. Clearly, rail freight for corn is monumental in its distribution across the country and world. Corn is used in so many goods, from the gas we put in our car to the food we eat, that getting it where it needs to go in a timely manner is crucial.

While railroads play a significant role in transporting raw farm commodities, it is also a major form of transport for materials used in the energy sector, such as coal and oil. In contrast, the U.S. has an extensive rail system, and part of the infrastructure upgrades over the next couple of decades must improve rail efficiency to handle the increase in production expected.,the%20Texas%20Gulf%20for%20export


When discussing the role of barges, it is important to know the primary waterways that are used: the Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers. While other rivers below play their own role in the shipping of agricultural products, these rivers’ locations make them crucial to the supply chain.

The rivers and locks system can be complicated during flooding, drought, or maintenance and can disrupt these shipping lanes. While these rivers are not only used for agriculture shipping, but there are also elevators all along these rivers to make the distribution to ports easier. Cities like Los Angeles, New Orleans, Savannah, and New York play a major role in the US exporting grain worldwide.

Like with railroads, continued improvements in the barge infrastructure will be important as the U.S. continues to produce and export more grains as the world grows.

Oversea Vessels

In 2021, the U.S. exported over 60 million metric tons of grain and oilseeds, making it one of the top exporting countries in the world. Most of these exports were transported by sea vessels, with some of the largest ships capable of carrying over 200,000 metric tons of cargo at a time. These vessels provide a cost-effective means of transportation for large volumes of goods over long distances and play a vital role in connecting the U.S. to markets worldwide.

The movement of agricultural commodities via sea vessels has its challenges, however. Issues such as port congestion, container shortages, and weather disruptions can all impact the efficient movement of goods. Additionally, changes in global trade policies or economic conditions can lead to shifts in trade flows and impact the demand for shipping services. Despite these challenges, the use of overseas vessels remains a critical component of the global supply chain and will continue to play a vital role in the transportation of agricultural commodities for years to come.

Contact RCM Ag Services for Your Transportation and Logistics Needs

If you’re looking for reliable and efficient transportation and logistics services for your agricultural commodities, look no further than RCM Ag Services. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing the highest quality services to meet your specific needs and ensure your products are delivered on time and in optimal condition.

Contact us today at [email protected] to learn more about our transportation and logistics solutions and how we can help you streamline your supply chain and increase efficiency. We look forward to working with you and supporting your agricultural operations.


02 Aug 2023

Agricultural Risk: The Role of Intermediaries

Agricultural Risk: The Role of Intermediaries

Agriculture is an inherently risky business. Growers and farmers face a wide range of risks, including weather-related events, changes in commodity prices, and supply chain disruptions. These risks not only affect the farmers but also impact every actor along the supply chain, from processors and distributors to retailers and consumers. This blog will discuss the importance of intermediaries in managing agricultural risk.

Several types of intermediaries play a crucial role in managing agricultural risk. Futures commission merchants (FCMs) are one such intermediary. They provide access to commodity futures markets, where farmers can manage price risk by buying or selling futures contracts. Exchanges, such as the Chicago Board of Trade, also play a critical role in managing risk by providing a platform for price discovery and risk management.

Types of Intermediaries:

Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs):

FCMs are regulated entities that act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers in commodity futures markets. They facilitate trades, provide margin financing, and manage the risk exposure of market participants.


Commodity exchanges are marketplaces where buyers and sellers can trade standardized commodity contracts, such as futures and options. Examples of exchanges include the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

Brokers/Farm Advisors:

Brokers and farm advisors provide hedging services and market knowledge to help growers and other market participants manage price risks. They can help with market analysis, risk assessments, and hedging strategies.


Originators and merchandisers are intermediaries who connect buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities. They can help farmers and growers find markets for their products and help buyers source the commodities they need.


Co-ops are farmer-owned organizations that provide services such as grain storage, handling, and marketing. In some cases, they function as elevators, buying grain from farmers and selling it to end-users.

University Extension Offices:

University extension offices provide research, education, and outreach services to the agricultural community. They can help farmers and growers stay informed about new technologies, best practices, and market trends.

Importance in the Big Picture:

Intermediaries are essential to the smooth functioning of agricultural markets. They help manage risk exposure along the supply chain and facilitate the movement of commodities from producers to end-users. Farmers and growers would face more price volatility and uncertainty without intermediaries, and end-users would face supply shortages and price spikes.

RCM Ag Services: Your Trusted Partner for Agricultural Intermediary Services

At RCM Ag Services, we provide a range of intermediary services to the agricultural community. We offer futures and options brokerage, cash grain marketing, risk management consulting, and crop insurance services. Our team of experienced professionals can help farmers and growers manage price risks and navigate the complex world of agricultural markets.


25 Jul 2023

Listen: Jody Lawrence recently joined Chip Flory on AgriTalk to discuss current markets

Recently RCM Ag Services’ director of research, Jody Lawrence, jumped on “AgriTalk with Chip Flory” after they both spoke at an event in Memphis for Helena Agribusiness. During the discussion Jody and Chip dive into the recent events in the commodities space hitting several topics including:

  • The war in Ukraine continuing to impact the world grain supply. The suspension of the export corridor and escalation of the war and its impact on markets.
  • Drought conditions in the US at the start of the year damaged the crop in many areas but how much? Is 177.5 bpa still too high?
  • The recent USDA Report numbers and did 94 million acres of corn really get planted?
  • Balance Sheets and the disconnect between them and what the cash market and basis tells us
  • And More

The audio is below to listen to parts of their discussion and get more insight into their thoughts on what to expect moving forward.

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or [email protected].

07 Jul 2023


Corn fell over the last couple weeks following the USDA coming out with 94 million planted acres, well above the March prospective plantings report. On top of the report there were widespread rains across the US over the end of June and start of July. While the drought conditions remain in most areas this rain was able to provide relief in much needed areas to buy it some time for another good rain. With La Nina setting in the potential for more rain and cooler temperatures could be what we see moving forward but how much damage was caused in May and June will be hard for the market to see. The export market has not provided any help with the slow pace continuing during the summer. If the dryness continues and the rain did not provide enough relief, we could see prices move back up after we get the USDA projected yield update on Wednesday.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had the surprise of lower acres in the report with the USDA coming in at 83.5 million acres, a 4-million-acre shift from the March report. Soybeans got a big pop on this news after falling, like corn, when the chance of rain was added to the forecast for most areas. The pullback this week came as the rains helped this crop that was not in as needy a spot as corn was.  The soybean acreage number will help raise the floor of where this crop could have gone with strong yields, but the low number will be the focus as balance sheets tighten. Weather will be the driver moving forward after the USDA report on Wednesday.

Via Barchart

The report last week for wheat was boring compared to corn and soybeans with little changes made. All wheat acres were reported at 49.628 million, down only 227,000 from the prospective plantings report. While the numbers did not seem bearish overall the USDA trimmed abandonment from 32.6% to 30.5%. Stocks remain tight but the lack of demand with Russia dominating the world markets leaves the US exporters in a tough spot. The lack of US demand does not seem to be changing anytime soon so paying to store wheat, hoping to profit from any bullish change, could cost you more when you include interest you need to pay back on operating loans. If you are looking to profit in this scenario using cheap options to own back on paper would make more sense.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets have traded close to flat over the last two weeks trading higher then back lower. The jobs report came in hotter than expected again this week. The markets give the Fed almost a 90% chance of raising rates at the next meeting. The markets have been lead higher by several stocks as we get to the halfway point, the question moving forward will be will they continue to lead and is there a recession on the horizon.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitors below show the change in drought conditions over the last 2 weeks.



With every new year, there are new opportunities, and there’s no better time to dive deeply into the stock market and tax-saving strategies for 2023 than now. In our latest episode of the Hedged Edge, we’re joined by Tim Webb, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner from our sister company, RCM Wealth Advisors. Tim is no stranger to advising institutions and agribusinesses where he has been implementing no-nonsense financial planning strategies and market investment disciplines to help Clients build and maintain wealth and reach financial goals since

Inside this jam-packed session, we’re taking a break from commodities, and talking about the world of equities, interest rates, tax savings, and business planning strategies. Plus, Jeff and Tim delve into a variety of topics like:

  • The current state of the markets within the wealth management industry
  • Is there a beacon of hope, or is it all doom and gloom for the markets?
  • Other strategies to think about outside of the stock market and so much more!




Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or [email protected].


28 Jun 2023

RCM Ag Services’ Top 5 Takeaways from @ChiGrl Live Ag Talk on Place Your Trades

Recently, we had the opportunity to tune in to the captivating podcast episode of @ChiGrl Live Ag Talk on Place Your Trades. The discussion covered various topics impacting the agricultural industry, and we at RCM Ag Services were inspired by the valuable insights shared. Here are our top five takeaways and what they mean for you.

Takeaway 1: Conflict Between EU and Dutch Government: Implications for Farmers

The conflict between the European Union and the Dutch government has significant implications for farmers in the Netherlands. Dutch farmers are vital to the country’s economy and food production, but they face challenges due to the EU’s regulations aimed at environmental sustainability, food safety, and fair competition.

Farmers are concerned about the financial burden of complying with EU regulations, which can require investments in technology and training. This can increase costs and impact their profitability. Compliance may also restrict their autonomy and traditional farming methods.

The conflict raises questions about the competitiveness of Dutch farmers within the EU market. Protecting and supporting farmers could be seen as creating unfair advantages, while prioritizing EU compliance may risk their economic viability.

To address these concerns, constructive dialogue between the EU and the Dutch government is necessary. Government support through financial assistance, incentives, and technical guidance can help farmers transition to more sustainable practices. Finding a balance between sustainable farming and farmers’ economic well-being is crucial.

Takeaway 2: Germany’s Ambitious Organic Farming Goal: A Sustainable Approach

To truly comprehend the implications of Germany’s ambitious plan to reach 30% organic farming by 2030, it is essential to delve into the multifaceted elements contributing to its success. Central to this exploration is an understanding of the role played by government support, incentives, and infrastructure in realizing this transformative vision.

Government support is a crucial driver in facilitating the transition to organic farming.

By examining the effectiveness of existing programs, we can gain insights into the policies and initiatives put in place to encourage farmers to adopt organic practices. This analysis can shed light on the financial and technical assistance provided to farmers, such as grants, subsidies, and access to expertise and resources. Understanding the extent of government support allows us to gauge the magnitude of the commitment and the resources allocated to facilitate this transition.

Incentives are also pivotal in motivating farmers to embrace organic farming methods. By investigating the range of incentives available, such as premium pricing for organic produce, tax incentives, and preferential market access, we can assess their effectiveness in encouraging farmers to switch. Exploring the incentives landscape helps us gauge the level of support and recognition organic farmers receive, influencing their decision to adopt organic practices.

Infrastructure development is another critical aspect that underpins the successful implementation of Germany’s organic farming goal. Establishing robust markets and distribution networks for organic products is essential to ensure a steady demand and supply chain. Analyzing the development of these networks, including the involvement of retailers, processors, and certification bodies, provides insights into the growth potential of the organic market. Understanding how the infrastructure is evolving enables us to identify potential gaps or areas that require further development to support the expansion of organic farming.

By unraveling these key aspects—government support, incentives, and infrastructure—we gain valuable insights into Germany’s journey toward cultivating a greener and more sustainable agricultural landscape. This holistic examination allows us to appreciate the challenges, opportunities, and potential pathways for success in achieving the ambitious target of 30% organic farming. It also offers valuable lessons and inspiration for other countries and stakeholders looking to foster sustainable agricultural practices and contribute to a more environmentally conscious future.

Takeaway 3: Reducing Methane in Farming: Goals and Strategies

The United States is committed to addressing methane emissions in farming to fight climate change. However, there are challenges farmers face in adopting methane reduction technologies.

One challenge is the cost, as these technologies require significant investments in equipment and infrastructure. This can be particularly burdensome for smaller-scale and resource-constrained farms. Lack of financial resources makes it difficult for farmers to adopt these technologies, despite recognizing their environmental benefits.

Another challenge is the technical requirements and maintenance of methane reduction systems. Farmers need to understand the technology and its installation, operation, and upkeep. However, specialized knowledge and training may not always be accessible. Regular maintenance and troubleshooting can also be challenging for farmers with limited technical expertise or resources.

To overcome these challenges, it is crucial to explore the economic and environmental benefits of methane reduction in farming. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and air pollution. By reducing methane emissions, farmers can improve air quality and save costs in the long run by improving operational efficiency.

Government policies and support are essential for widespread adoption of methane reduction practices. Financial incentives like grants or subsidies can assist farmers in implementing methane capture and mitigation systems. Technical assistance programs and knowledge-sharing platforms are vital in helping farmers navigate the complexities of adopting these technologies.

Evaluating existing policies and support mechanisms is important to identify successful strategies and areas for improvement. By studying the effectiveness of current initiatives, policymakers can refine their approaches and develop targeted solutions. Collaboration among government agencies, agricultural organizations, and researchers can foster innovation and develop best practices for methane reduction in farming.

Takeaway 4: Government Support for Biofuels: Impact on Agriculture and Energy Sectors

Governments in Canada and the United States are actively promoting biofuels as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks associated with these renewable fuels to gain a comprehensive understanding of this government push.

Biofuels offer environmental and energy security benefits. They can reduce greenhouse gas emissions since they are derived from renewable sources that absorb carbon dioxide during their growth. When biofuels are burned, they release roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide absorbed during production, resulting in a near-neutral impact on emissions. Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels can make significant progress in mitigating climate change.

Biofuels also have the potential to decrease dependence on imported fossil fuels. Producing biofuels domestically using local feedstocks enhances energy security by reducing reliance on foreign oil and gas. This can create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and benefit rural areas where feedstocks are produced.

However, it’s important to address potential drawbacks and challenges. Competition for agricultural land is a concern, as biofuel production requires significant land use. This can lead to conflicts between biofuel feedstock crops and food crops. Careful management is necessary to balance biofuel and food production, avoiding deforestation and biodiversity decline while ensuring food security.

Water usage is another consideration, as some biofuel feedstocks require substantial amounts of water. Expanding biofuel production could strain water resources and exacerbate water scarcity. Sustainable water management practices and water-efficient feedstocks are important to mitigate these concerns.

The potential impact on food prices is a valid concern as well. If biofuel feedstocks compete with food crops, it can affect food availability and affordability, especially for vulnerable populations. Policies should ensure that biofuel production doesn’t negatively impact food security.

To promote the biofuel industry’s growth and viability, innovation is crucial. Research and development efforts focus on improving feedstock development, including non-food crops and algae, to reduce competition with food crops and increase yields. Advancements in processing technologies can also contribute to sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Continued investment in research, along with supportive policies and incentives, can drive further innovation in the biofuel sector.

Takeaway 5: Technology’s Role in Future Farming: Precision, Automation, and Sustainability

The episode highlighted technology’s crucial role in shaping the future of farming. Integrating technology into farming practices comes with challenges and barriers that need to be understood.

One challenge is the cost of adopting farming technology. Precision agriculture tools and automated systems require significant upfront investments. Farmers must assess the long-term benefits against the initial costs and ensure the financial feasibility of implementing these technologies.

Accessibility is another consideration. Not all farmers have equal access to technology, especially in rural or developing areas. Addressing infrastructure, connectivity, and technological literacy issues is important to ensure inclusive technology adoption that benefits all farmers.

Proper training and support are crucial for successful technology integration. Farmers need to acquire the skills and knowledge to effectively use and maintain the technology they adopt. Training programs and workshops can bridge the knowledge gap and empower farmers in utilizing available technological tools.

Ongoing technical support is vital to address any implementation or operational challenges that may arise. Access to reliable assistance and troubleshooting resources ensures a smooth transition and minimizes disruptions to farming operations.

Precision agriculture techniques, automation, and artificial intelligence applications offer benefits such as optimized resource use, improved yields, and reduced environmental impacts. Real-time monitoring, disease management, efficient irrigation, and waste reduction are some of the advantages technology brings to the agricultural industry. By harnessing technology, farmers can enhance profitability while reducing their environmental footprint.

Supporting Farmers and Industry Professionals in the Ever-Evolving Agricultural Sector: Discover the Expertise and Tailored Solutions of RCM Ag Services

RCM Ag Services is committed to supporting farmers and industry professionals navigate these complex agricultural landscapes. Our team of experts is well-versed in the latest trends, regulations, and technologies impacting the industry. We provide various services, including consulting, risk management, and financial solutions tailored to your specific needs.

If you’d like to learn more about how RCM Ag Services can assist you in optimizing your operations and staying ahead in the dynamic agricultural sector, schedule a call with our team here. Together, we can explore strategies to help you thrive in an ever-evolving industry.

Don’t forget to check out the full episode of @ChiGrl Live Ag Talk on Place Your Trade for an in-depth discussion on these critical agricultural topics. You can find the episode on their Twitter page here:

23 Jun 2023


Welcome to the weather market we have been waiting for. The market skyrocketed higher as drought conditions set it across the US as growing is well on the way. The market ended the week with large losses as the chances of rain across a large area is expected over the weekend. While the market was quick to give up 40 cents on chances of rain whether or not that rain comes is still a question mark, let alone the amount needed is unlikely to happen. The US corn crop was rated at 55% good/excellent to start the week, very low for this time of year before we get into the heat of the summer. The actual rainfall amount seen over the weekend will be important, but continued rain in the coming weeks will be needed with minimal subsoil moisture currently helping this crop.

Via Barchart

Soybeans saw a similar rally to corn in the last couple weeks with the drought conditions helping the market higher then rain chances pulling them back. The chances of rain this weekend will help soybeans, like corn, but the soybean crop is not in full panic mode yet although it is in some places. The US crop was rated 54% good/excellent to start the holiday shortened week as the weather market is in full effect. One other piece of news this week was the US EPA adjusting the biofuel mandates for 2023-25. While they raised the blending requirements to 22.38 billion gallons by 2025 many were expecting/hoping for higher amounts to give soybeans another catalyst higher. While they increased the 2023 renewable volume obligation by 120 million gallons from the December proposal, they lowered the RVOs by 300+ million gallons for ’24 and ’25.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets saw losses this week after an impressive run over the last couple of months in tech. Recession fears are still widespread in the market as we are not out of the storm yet with inflation still well above the target levels. The Fed did not raise rates in their latest meeting as expected but could still raise them again in the future.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitors below show the change in drought conditions over the last 2 weeks.


With every new year, there are new opportunities, and there’s no better time to dive deeply into the stock market and tax-saving strategies for 2023 than now. In our latest episode of the Hedged Edge, we’re joined by Tim Webb, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner from our sister company, RCM Wealth Advisors. Tim is no stranger to advising institutions and agribusinesses where he has been implementing no-nonsense financial planning strategies and market investment disciplines to help Clients build and maintain wealth and reach financial goals since

Inside this jam-packed session, we’re taking a break from commodities, and talking about the world of equities, interest rates, tax savings, and business planning strategies. Plus, Jeff and Tim delve into a variety of topics like:

  • The current state of the markets within the wealth management industry
  • Is there a beacon of hope, or is it all doom and gloom for the markets?
  • Other strategies to think about outside of the stock market and so much more!




Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or [email protected].