After a successful run last year, University of Missouri Extension is offering a second round of the online grain marketing game “Show-Me Market Showdown” from March 2 to May 8.
The goal of the program is to improve farmers’ knowledge of grain marketing strategies and encourage them to develop sound marketing plans. “Show-Me Market Showdown” is a fun, risk-free way to learn about grain markets, says Mark Jenner, MU Extension agriculture business specialist.
The game uses a third-party website called CommodityChallenge.com to allow players to execute virtual transactions based on real-time market prices. The website monitors players’ market positions, executes their trades and summarizes their virtual account balances.
Although the game is competitive, the main focus is for players to learn the risks and rewards of alternative marketing strategies and understand the mechanics of various marketing tools.
“Players each receive an electronic endowment of corn, beans and wheat, and they compete with each other to see who can increase—or keep from losing—the value of their grain over the 10-week gaming period,” says Jenner. “It is a risk-free opportunity to experiment with grain marketing tools and strategies. The game structure allows for friendly competition between families and co-workers. One farmer intends to sign up everyone in the family.”
MU Extension agriculture business specialists will offer guidance and instruction through weekly emails and a game blog. The emails and blog will also provide a forum for discussion among the game coordinators and participants.
“Players make trades from their own computer and Internet connection,” Jenner says. “They can put as much or as little into the game as they want. Since the game is educational, a valid alternative strategy to ‘competing’ is to try new tools to understand how they impact your grain value. The reward of learning in this case outweighs risk of playing in this virtual market.”
An additional program objective is to educate nonfarmer participants about the complexities of grain marketing and increase their awareness of the challenges farmers face when they make marketing decisions.