Doug Yoder, Senior Director of Marketing and Affiliate Management with the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), is a University of Illinois alumnus . Yoder grew up on a farm near Arthur , Illinois , and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1984 with a degree in agricultural economics.
“My studies focused on grain marketing and elevator management,” said Yoder, “and I worked for four different grain elevators in the early years of my career.”
Yoder started work with IFB in 1999, and said he has used farmdoc ‘from the very beginning.'
“Part of my job here entails designing education courses for producers,” said Yoder. “I quickly learned of farmdoc and started incorporating it into our presentations and into our farmer education series.”
Because the main commodities in Illinois are corn, beans and wheat, Yoder said he provides educational resources that focus on grain marketing.
“We conduct seminars on anything to do with grain marketing, managing risks on the farm, crop insurance, the Farm Bill, and e-commerce,” he said. “Of course, those are all very broad topics, so there are a number of different courses we teach within each topic.
“For instance,” Yoder continued, “in one course in grain marketing we teach how to study basis and track it. The basis tool is a wonderful way to illustrate to producers the value in tracking their basis levels over time and provides them a way to start tracking basis levels on their own.”
Yoder said he also uses the crop insurance and grain marketing models in his seminars to illustrate the value in and the need for combining the two plans . “These tools help producers visualize the advantages of combining sound risk management (crop insurance) strategy within their grain marketing plan to help them optimize their grain marketing.”
Given the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill, another tool Yoder currently finds very useful is the ACRE calculator.
“The calculator is extremely valuable right now in helping producers compare the new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) with the traditional Counter-cyclical program,” he noted. “Given the magnitude and importance of this decision, the calculator is instrumental in helping producers make a well-informed decision.”
Yoder continued, “ I've always found the farmdoc FAST Tools to be of great value . I can explain how to do things, but when I can put one of the computer modules from FAST Tools in the farmers' hands, they can take it one step further and start using it on their farm.”
Yoder spends most of January, February and March traveling the state to present IFB seminars at county farm bureau meetings, various agriculture seminars and conferences, and the annual Young Leaders Conference in Springfield .
Yoder said the relationship the Illinois Farm Bureau has with farmdoc is a productive one.
“We have pushed farmdoc in our meetings for years, and today, most of the producers we work with are very aware of farmdoc. So it's been a good partnership,” he concluded . “The farmdoc faculty, along with other University faculty, develops the tools and we help take the message to the street.”
In his spare time, Yoder is a youth baseball and basketball coach for his son's teams, and he and his family follow the U of I athletics program ‘faithfully.'