When I set out to share guests post about ag careers via the Hi, I’m Agriculture series, I wanted to try and include a LOT of careers. That meant reaching into areas of the industry that I might not be familiar with, like economics. When I asked a friend if she could write a post about grain merchandising, she could not because of non-disclosure but was able to connect me with Charlotte, who’s wonderful post is below. Charlotte spends her days advising farmers on their grain trading options, and goes home each night to tend to cattle and sheep. This multi-faceted farmgirl sure knows her ag! Enjoy, and thanks a lot to Charlotte for contributing!
I’m Charlotte Montague, a merchandiser of grain and feed products by day, but a farm girl by night.
I was born and raised a farm girl who refused to leave my roots in agriculture. I grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Missouri which influenced me to pursue a career in the most ag-venturous industry. I also always knew I wanted to have my own farm, and my husband shared that passion. I live and breathe the heartbeat of agriculture in my work and my personal life. I always heard two phrases related to agriculture, but now I have tested them and know them to be true: you have to make hay when the sun shines, and there is no fruit without labor!
Never take for granted the time to make hay when the sun is shining. Each day, I get up and go to work with a group of very talented individuals – farmers. I get to serve a very fun role for America’s farmer. I assist them in marketing their grain and buying feed for the cattle, hogs, and poultry in a very volatile trading world. The most fun (and scariest) part of my job is the serious affect the farmer’s marketing has on their bottom line. I need my customers to be successful so that my company can be successful.
Farmers are some of the biggest risk takers I know. Each year they plant a crop and have faith that the weather will cooperate so they can have a prosperous season. They plant a crop and hope they can market it at an adequate price to make a margin. I tell every farmer I know when it comes to grain marketing, product purchasing, and marketing an end product, they need to bale every bit of hay possible when the sun shines. Margins in agriculture are not easy to come by especially when our market is so volatile and influenced globally. The savviest farmers will make money – those are the ones making hay when the sun is shining.
There is no fruit without labor. Farmers are some of the most hardworking people I know. Not only do they work from sunrise to sunset sometimes doing physical labor, but then they also have to be an economist, an accountant, a mechanic, an agronomist, and an entrepreneur in every part of their business. I see this daily as farmers learn to deal with futures and cash markets, hedging, and accounting with their grain marketing. I also experience this personally on our own farm with our cow calf operation and a few club lambs we run. Taking care of year end accounting, marketing livestock, and managing the day to day labor can take up most of my energy some days. But my husband and I enjoy the fruit of our labor, and the hard work makes us appreciate everything we have.
Hopefully you have a little insight now into the life of a merchandiser by day and farm girl by night. I am Agriculture. What are you?