Independent, Unbiased Advice: Grain Marketing Q&A with Ryan Denis

FBN Network

Oct 04, 2019

This week we launched FBN Market Advisory in Western Canada, a valuable new offering driven by the insights and expertise of Ryan Denis, Head of Crop Marketing, and his team of local advisors. Ryan has extensive experience in grain marketing and brings an independent, unbiased approach to this new initiative in Canada.

For a limited time, you can enroll in FBN Market Advisory for a special introductory price of $7500 (no per acre fee). 

Sign up now.

Tell us a little bit about your journey. How did you arrive at the place that you are now?

Well, I'm a farm kid from Northern Saskatchewan, just south of Prince Albert, and my family -- my folks and my brother -- still farms there today. But I actually started in the ag industry during summers while I was in university. I later went into grain marketing, or the grain industry itself, as a grain buyer with Viterra. So I got the experience of purchasing grain from farmers, learning how to interact with growers and have those conversations. 

In 2011, I switched from buying grain to helping farmers market their own grain as an advisor with Cargill, one of the largest ag companies in Western Canada. I really enjoyed working one-on-one with farmers, creating grain marketing plans and strategies with them and really just helping farmers succeed. 

After a few years, I realized I wanted to disconnect myself from the large line companies and provide more independent, unbiased recommendations to farmers. It was extremely important to me and to my values, and I knew how much more of a benefit it would be to the growers I was working with. So in 2015, I became an independent grain marketing advisor and started my own company, Full Acre, to work one-on-one with growers everyday.

We’ve grown Full Acre over the past four years to serve 100 farms representing 400,000 acres in Alberta and Saskatchawan. When the opportunity to build the new FBN Market Advisory program presented itself, I knew it would allow us to expand our work on a larger scale and help farmers across Western Canada maximize on their opportunities. And the strong Farmers First mentality at FBN aligned really well with what we were doing at Full Acre.

Tell us more about how those values fit into your approach to grain marketing.

Yeah, that's a great question. There's obviously a lot of market information out there in this day and age, but it can be very cloudy and complicated. When I look at our growers, they can get that information anywhere. But then the question becomes how do you execute? How do you actually take the info and make the right decision for your farm? I'm trying to take all the information out there and filter it down to something that's easy to read, whether it’s a text update or audio report.

But our approach is also very proactive. We’re going to growers and saying, “Hey, this is why we need to make a sale today. Here's all the highlights. Here are the reasons to be bullish, and here are the reasons to be bearish.” And while I'm talking to you, I already know who your top bids are, who's leading the market, who's paying a premium. I can tell you my advice based on those factors, and that's a big difference. When you take a blanket recommendation in Western Canada, the farmer might have to call six or eight different companies to find out who's leading. We take that noise out; we'll give you your top bids and say, “Here you go.”

Many farms in Canada are expanding. Farmers are busy, and they're getting busier and busier every year. They need grain marketing advisers that can just phone them with the information they need to make that decision. So that's what we've been doing. That's our, our personal approach and it's very successful.

When a farmer signs up for FBN Market Advisory, what are some of the tangible things they receive?

You’ll receive a full-service offering. You're going to get a dedicated advisor for your farm who will guide you through developing your grain marketing plan. That advisor is going to show up at your farm four times a year at minimum and sit down with you, go over the agenda and help execute your grain marketing plan. 

You're going to get market reports: Daily reports, weekly reports and audio updates. In these reports, we talk about world news and local news -- what's happening in your own backyard. We talk about specials or premiums in the marketplace and our recommendations. 

We also bring that local knowledge and have solid relationships with buyers in your region. We focus on knowing who you're selling your grain to and really work on that relationship because it ultimately will benefit you.

You'll get access to the FBN Profit Center, an online dashboard where you manage your contracts and track your cost of production on your percent sold -- all very important when it comes to your marketing plan. 

And then of course with FBN, everything is driven by data contributed by a network of farmers that provides information and insights to help inform your decisions. 

What are the more satisfying aspects of the work that you do?

When I find a market where I know growers are going to maximize their opportunity and, you know, hit a home run, that’s the absolute high. In our work, there’s a lot of time in the trenches, digging through the mud -- trying to find that angle, that leverage, that premium that's out there. When we get that accomplished and our growers are able to see the opportunity and act on it, it feels great.

I also value building relationships with growers in Western Canada. Again, I'm from the farm. I love farms, I love talking about farming. So when I get to build relationships with farmers and help them make stronger grain marketing decisions, that’s a high.

What are some of the success stories you hear from farmers?

This might surprise you, but some of the success stories that drive me actually come secondhand from bankers and accountants. When I meet with a farmer and they say their accountant or their banker is telling them how well they're doing compared to other farms in the region, that’s satisfying.

Also, when we can make a wheat deal with a flour miller or make a deal on rye with a distiller and show the premium value to growers, it feels great. Success stories like that, you know, really keep us going. 

FBN Crop Marketing Canada, Inc. does not guarantee any specific benefits or value from participating in FBN Crop Marketing; results will vary. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. FBN Crop Marketing Canada offerings involve risks, including the risk that market conditions deteriorate, resulting in contract participants receiving lower price for their grain than had they not participated in the FBN offering. 

Copyright © 2019 FBN Crop Marketing Canada, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, "Farmers Business Network," "FBN," and "Farmers First" are registered service marks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. and are used with permission. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. FBN Crop Marketing Services are offered by FBN Crop Marketing Canada, Inc. and are available only in provinces where Farmer's Business Network Canada, Inc. is licensed. FBN Crop Marketing Canada, Inc. Box 5607, High River, AB T1V 1M4, Canada

FBN Network

Oct 04, 2019