I believe that through my education and experience, I can provide a valuable consulting service and help farmers overcome challenges and thrive.
My name is Dwight Nichol. I grew up in the hamlet of Shamrock, Saskatchewan, and later on a farm near Bateman, Saskatchewan. As a teenager and young adult, I witnessed farming through some of the toughest times during the late 1980s and 90s. Although I left the farm after high school, I never lost my desire for the small town, farming lifestyle.
Launching DLN AgVentures is the realization of a lifelong dream of self-employment. This completes life’s largest circle for me, bringing me back to where I grew up. In 2002, while working as a bartender and server, I had a business idea born from countless hours and days of listening to the frustrations of my family and other farmers in the community about how unclear or unjust the system they sold their grain into was. I believed that if I could learn enough about the system, I could provide a valuable consulting service to these farmers in my community.
In the fall of 2002, I selected Olds College in Alberta because they offered the most in depth marketing courses specifically related to farming.
After graduation in 2004, I took a position with Cargill as they were the only company at the time offering a fee for service marketing product. Within Cargill, I tailored my career path to focus on all aspects of marketing, from contracting to purchasing to shipping and logistics.
In 2008, and until recently, I have worked as a full time marketing consultant and was part of a group of 5 across Canada that created Cargill’s full service grain market consulting product. In the past 6 years I have personally delivered well over $1mill in grain market consulting, and have trained and managed many others to do the same.
I believe as an individual, I can overcome several challenges that consultants working for grain companies are faced with. I feel that operating as an individual and independent allows me to deliver the best, most comprehensive grain market consulting product on the market today.
Does my crystal ball work better than yours?
Generally I think that the perception and expectation of grain marketing services are that they can predict what grain prices will do in the future. When I first envisioned such services I know that my expectations were similar. Trying to pick tops or bottoms in this market will humble you quickly. Of all of the major services out there, if you look at just the past 6 years you will find they have had good years, and terrible years. I can make every call or recommendation look brilliant, or stupid just by changing the point of reference. I could argue that every sale is wrong because the price inevitably was higher the day before you sold, or the day after. You could prove that every sale was smart because the market was lower than your price either the day before, or the day after. If you want to play that game be prepared to be a hero one day and a zero the next. My point is that timing the market, in particular with traditional cash contracts, is a sucker’s game. The reality of selling grain is much more complex than selling at the “right” time. More often than not the best prices are available when you don’t have the grain, and the worst prices when you do. The system isn’t rigged against you, it is simple supply and demand economics.
Can you benefit from a broker? Do you need a degree in economics to hedge your risk using market options or futures?
I believe that understanding how futures markets and options work can help greatly to sell more when you have less, and sell less when you have more. Knowing this doesn’t ensure making good calls, more so it prevents making bad ones. Unfortunately these strategies are so complicated that it isn’t reasonable to expect every farm to educate themselves on their use. I will spend my time making solid recommendations and supporting those recommendations through to fruition, vs trying to pass on 12 years of education and experience.
Having spent significant time working at all stages of the grain selling/shipping business, I have identified an area of opportunity overlooked by most. We don’t really stop to appreciate the complexity of a grain contract. Trust me, I built and wrote from the ground up a contract to be used for Malt Barley post CWB. There are more variables and moving parts than in almost any contract in any other industry. Supply (both yours and global) is impossible to predict due to nature, this is never going to change. Quality is also impossible to predict for same reasons. Logistics of the global market place are still evolving and can also be influenced by unpredictable forces of nature. Planning a 100,000MT CWRS shipment of wheat at a consistent #2 13% protein, 14% moisture that could come from any farm in AB/SK/MB, but needs to be shipped in minimum 50 car lots is a tall order if you consider that wheat from 600-1000 different farms is typically be needed. Things are evolving so quickly that grain companies software systems, and the people using them cannot keep up.
The opportunity where I know for certain I can provide a tangible benefit is in contracting accuracy and execution. I cannot begin to add up how many dollars I have seen lost or saved due to mistakes, misunderstandings, or lack of knowledge of policies and procedures. I understand what the buyers’ challenges and opportunities are and I can mediate negotiations and build stronger relationships with them than you can on your own. Knowing with confidence what a good or bad grade offer is, and knowing what happens to your grain after it leaves your truck means not leaving dollars on the table.
Remember which way the product and the money flows. You are selling, therefore the buyers are your customer. You will benefit from being their preferred supplier, I can help you achieve that.
No conflicts of interest here!
My only motivation is to earn my living providing this consulting service. I do not source grain or sell any other products. My goal is to align with the best farms possible, and to never have to replace a customer. If you can buy into my philosophy and are willing to participate and make me part of your farm management team, I am certain my value will exceed your investment.