Taylor Cowan and Joshe Goode of Smithfield Grains visited the students of ARE 415: Introduction to Commodity and Futures Markets on March 13th, 2018, taught by Nick Piggott and Wally Thurman. The presentation included information about Smithfield Grains’ operations and grain buying procedures in North Carolina. Cowan and Goode spoke about the mechanics of buying a selling grain (corn, soybeans, wheat, and grain sorghum) in a competitive market with an emphasis on North Carolina. It was a tremendous learning experience for the class as they heard about many of the concepts taught in the classroom from the perspective of professional buyers who must buy enough grain each day to feed all of the hogs that Smithfield grows.
They also discussed Smithfield’s valuable internship opportunities in which Goode himself participated shortly before joining the company permanently in 2015. Students were also engaged in an activity which required them to determine the most profitable way to sell a hypothetical grain harvest.
Cowan, an Agricultural Business Management alumnus who graduated in 2017, is now a Grain Origination Manager in the Northeast Division of North Carolina. Two years earlier he was taking ARE 415 as a student. Now he has learned enough to present industry knowledge to students. Josh Goode, Smithfield’s Grain Origination Manager for the Southeast Division of North Carolina, went to work for Smithfield Grains immediately out of college. Both Cowan and Goode recognize the importance of growing strong relationships with the farmers in their region. They also emphasized the value of taking risks. Cowan finished by explaining, “You’re taking a risk either way” (locking in your price or selling on the cash market) but it is most important to know how to manage that risk.