Farmers use various tools to control the many risks in agriculture. Watching the weather influences when they plant or harvest. Buying crop insurance and selecting farm bill safety net programs helps protect them from crop devastation. But they can also manage some of the threat posed by volatile market prices by participating in the futures market. Farmers can get a feel for how that works if they play Commodity Classic, an online teaching tool that uses fictitious bushels of grain in a fake futures market.
But here at Harvest Public Media, we wanted to better understand how the futures market helps both producers and users of a major commodity, such as corn. And how the benefits trickle down to regular food consumers. Here’s what we learned.