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Balance the Ride Ahead

I love a good roller coaster, and it all started with the American Eagle at Six Flags Great America, outside of Chicago.

One of my favorite things about roller coasters is the anticipation of the climb, the thrill of the plunge, the way my heart pounds as the ride whirls its way back to the station.

No two rides, like no two crop years, are the same, despite each following the same set of patterns. Now that the calendar has turned to April, much of the long, slow climb to the starting line is behind us. Balanced near the precipice with planting about to start in earnest, we see a bit of what the ride ahead entails.

Farmers have weighed in on what they intend to plant, and while USDA published its "Prospective Plantings" report after this issue went to print, more total acres are likely to be planted this year.

There's also uncertainty ahead on trade, whether it's from the coronavirus or the state of affairs with China. Those two factors, along with the weather, will be a likely source of in-season twists and turns, both in the form of market prices and speculation about another round of government trade assistance.

So, while we're paused here at the apex, let's think about what you can control once this ride gets underway. It's not the twists or turns; it's the faces you make for cameras. Are you having fun, or are you paralyzed with fear?

You can never control the market, the weather or politics, but you do control your marketing decisions. If haven't already, figure out your target price and make a plan before this train starts heading downhill. It will make it a lot easier to spot opportunities as the crop year whizzes by.

> Read Katie's business blog at about.dtnpf.com/business.

> You may email Katie at katie.dehlinger@dtn.com, or visit @KatieD_DTN on Twitter.

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