A few weeks ago, NewsChannel 11 told you about the Master Marketer Program. It's an eight day program designed to help farmers improve marketing knowledge and increase profits. Farmers say that it's already helping them just halfway through the program. Farmers like Billy Tiller will stop at nothing to stay in business.
"I'm a common farmer, 20 years in doing this, and I always say the price is low. I think we've gotta try to help ourselves try to get a better price maybe based on what we do day to day," says Tiller, a Lamb County farmer.
Like other West Texas farmers, Billy's trading his daily routine in a tractor to spend a little time in the classroom.
"I've had a lot of pretty good years. Of course, the last few have made me realize there's a lot of things out of my control, and I'm here today at the master marketer to just really try to get a handle on price -- I mean it's out of my control, but maybe there's a few things I can do to get a handle on it," says Tiller.
So, Billy and other farmers are taking a marketing class offered by the extension service and taught by experts in ag economics. It's their first weapon in winning the never ending pricing war.
"We're hoping they take a more management role and give them ideas on how they might better manage the pricing decision and hopefully add to their margins," says professor of ag economics at Kansas State University, Dr. Art Barnaby.
"What I want to get out of it is just trying to get a better marketing plan for my own operation and deciding when do I price my cotton? Do I wait until harvest, or do I try to price it early? They're really giving us tools to do that, so I think it's gonna be fulfilling," says Tiller.
The farmers in this program have about two more weeks of class work left. Over 600 farmers have graduated from the Master Marketer Program across the state. In a two and a half year post graduation survey, graduates from the first five training said that they have increased their profits by more than $26,000 annually.