Tired of being a price taker? A user-friendly online electronic marketing service can help switch that title to “price maker.”

More than 2,000 growers are already using the online marketing service from Farms Technology, Overland Park, KS. With the click of their mouse, those growers sold more than 20 million bushels of corn and 5 million bushels of soybeans through Dynamic Pricing Platform (DPP) from Farms Tech.

Grain is sold to various large buyers in the DPP, as well as local elevators or other corn and soybean users. There are more than 50 total buyers in the DPP system.

“The grain our buyers take is almost exclusively from farmers,” says Jason Tatge, Farms Tech CEO. “We serve growers across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas and are adding new buyers in Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska.”

DPP grew out of the first Farms Tech sales in March 2003. Through DPP, a grower can establish a “target offer,” a “firm offer” or an “open offer.” Farms Tech takes the cash price a grower wants for grain, then electronically makes the sale when that cash price is reached.

“You designate the price that you want, how much you want to sell and when you want to deliver it,” says Tatge. “From there we handle the rest. You can change the price you want, whenever you want, as many times as you want. Using an online system, we evaluate cash prices in real time.”

In the program, a farmer logs on to the Web site www.farmstech.com. If he wants to, say, sell to a local buyer in the DPP system and deliver corn at a cash price of $3.85/bu., he enters that information. If the elevator is paying 25¢-under futures, then DPP will automatically execute the transaction when the futures price hits $4.10.”

Arlo Biere, Kansas State University agricultural economics professor and researcher, Manhattan, KS, says online trading like that offered by Farms Tech has the potential to help more growers improve corn and soybean marketing.

“Online marketing can help growers streamline their marketing,” he says. “The Farms Tech program allows them to pick a target and they'll be sold when that target is reached.

“They can do the same thing by contacting the elevator, feedyard, ethanol plant or other originator. But they can't be sure that the originator is watching every tick of the market to know it's at the point to sell,” Biere says. “This online service is automated so that at the same time a sell price is reached, the elevator or other originator is hedged. That has some real potential for the seller and the buyer.”

Tatge says DPP enables growers to offer grain to numerous buyers, including several large buyers. They include Jennie-O Turkey Stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin; CHS River Terminals and Soybean Processing in Minnesota and Iowa; MAWG terminals in Minnesota and North Dakota; AgVantage FS in Northeast Iowa; Bushmills Ethanol in Minnesota; Western Wisconsin Energy in Wisconsin and East Kansas Agri-Energy near Kansas City. A compete list is available at www.farmstech.com.

Cost of the DPP service is 1¢/bu., says Tatge. Biere notes that one term a seller should consider is whether he or the buyer pays that 1¢/bu.

Tatge says the program ultimately helps growers get trades made more quickly and efficiently. “During futures rallies, it can be difficult to get through to the merchandiser (at the elevator),” he says. “The markets don't stop moving when you're on hold.

“When you're rolling to voicemail or getting a busy signal, the DPP can execute your offer,” he explains. “Voicemail can take your message, or the DPP can take your offer. Which would you prefer?”

There are various online marketing services available. Biere advises growers to consult their regional Extension economist for additional information.