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Cow/calf risk management topic of upcoming program
Stacy Campbell
Stacy Campbell

K-State Research and Extension recognizes the uncertainty that farmers and ranchers are experiencing due to fluctuating cattle and input prices. More than ever, risk management of the operation is critical to long-term sustainability.

Jenny Ifft says successful cow-calf producers are “risk experts. They face multiple sources of risk every day,” said Ifft, an agricultural policy specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “Forage production can vary dramatically based on when or how much it rains. If the market tanks the month before they sell their herd, a producer’s profit could be wiped out.”  

LaVell Winsor, a farm analyst with K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, said some of the topics covered on Feb. 23 include enterprise budgeting, cattle marketing and cow-calf insurance options.  

“It is important for ranchers to understand their cost structure because there is a wide range of costs of production,” Winsor said. “Marketing is always critical, but with high feed costs (currently), it is especially important for cattle producers to be watching for opportunities to lock in profits.”  

Ifft said cow-calf producers can also be strategic when considering insurance options. She notes that half of Kansas currently is facing moderate drought and feed prices are volatile.  

“Insurance products are available to help producers manage forage risk and price risk by making payouts when a producer’s local area is abnormally dry, and when cattle prices are lower than expected,” she said.  

This Cow/calf Risk Management Workshop is being conducted by K-State Agricultural Economists along with 28 county and district Extension offices across the state. It will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23. The Cottonwood Extension District in both Hays and Great Bend will be hosting this workshop. In Hays it will be held at the Cottonwood District meeting room, 601 Main Street and in Great Bend at their office meeting room, 3007 10th Street. 

This session is part of the Risk Management Series for Kansas Women in Agriculture, but can be attended individually. This program is open to anyone interested in attending.

Registration fee $15, payable at the local location that night for printed materials and meal. Registration is requested at or give either office a call Hays at 785-628-9430, Great Bend 620-793-1910. 

Stacy Campbell is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Cottonwood Extension District. Email him at or call the Hays office, 785-628-9430.