I want to start out by welcoming you to The Ag Fix. My journey in the industry of agriculture began as young child in Northwest Iowa – growing up riding my family’s livestock trucks, helping my uncle Dan on his farm, and continuing to pursue my dreams and goals by attending Morningside College, where I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Ag Business and Economics. I began my career as a summer intern with Tyson Foods, Inc. (formerly IBP, Inc.) in 1993. From 1993-2002, I held several sales roles in the company’s pork division. In 2002, I was named Vice President of Retail Pork Pricing, in which I had full responsibility for sales and pricing of retail fresh and frozen pork division. During this period, I became active in managing risk for the business and my passion for the markets emerged.
In 2005, I was named Vice President of Business Development, where I held responsibilities for developing and managing new business concepts and product lines for Tyson Fresh Meats. Of these developments, my teams launched Star Ranch Angus Natural and Certified Angus Natural beef programs, as well as the numerous value added product lines for Tyson Fresh Meats. In 2006, I was promoted to Vice President of Value Added Meats, where I was responsible for product development, sales, and operations for the division. My role in this position was instrumental for the growth of value added products, a key strategic area for Tyson Foods, Inc.
In 2014, I changed gears and decided to take my passion and knowledge of the field of agriculture to academics. Going back to where my educational career began, I took on the position of Program Director for the Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Department at Morningside College. In my role, I hold responsibilities for marketing the program and developing relationships with agricultural industry leaders, manage student externships, and teach Futures and Risk Management courses to students in my program. My industry experiences provide me the opportunity to relate real-world scenarios to students in the classroom. With the changes taking place in agriculture, it is incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to prepare the next generation of agricultural professionals.
Over the last 25 years, I have gained a great deal of experience in the agricultural commodity industry. I have witnessed market conditions in numerous areas of agriculture, from beef and pork processing, feeding livestock, to personally trading livestock and grain futures. Through my experiences, my passion for agriculture and the desire to learn more about the industry and markets has grown. This knowledge has also taught me that the markets are driven by human behavior and events, both of which are unpredictable and create uncertainty in agriculture.
I believe that the users and producers of commodities give good insight into their fundamental view of the current market conditions. After my career working for a commercial meat packer, I was led to study the Commitment of Traders (COT) report that provided this insight for two reasons: one, that the users and producers of a commodity should have the most reliable view of the market fundamentals, and two, that man operates under the herd-mentality. After learning how to analyze the report, I wanted to develop a systematic model that visually displayed a unique way to look at the markets. I wanted to fully grasp an understanding of the hedging activity by the users and producers of a commodity and it’s price.
This led to the development of my model – The Heat Map; a simple way of looking at the participants in the market and a level of predictability I could have confidence in. The results of my model indicated a strong correlation, meaning that as price moves higher, the selling of the commercial increases in relationship. I also discovered that as a price moves higher, it is good indication that the herd-mentality of man created it.
After studying the numbers and analyzing the Commitment of Traders (COT) report over the last few years, I shared my concept with a select group of producers and traders. I began to receive overwhelming positive feedback that this model and format could be beneficial to others. It wasn’t until one early morning in Las Vegas, as I was having my usual cup of coffee taking in the city sights of the Aria Casino, when I started to notice a trend surrounding me. People of all ages and diversity had one thing in common: they were getting their “fix” at the casino. Intrigued by what I saw, I started exploring the idea of starting a company that provides people with small “doses” of accurate and unbiased market information. This was the start of something big – The Ag Fix. Combining a few key components, my vision is to provide information in a readable and visual format that is precise and interpreted quickly. The Daily Ag Fix displays information that is condensed into snippets of facts and headlines. The Heat Map presents information in a visual format that is clear and coherent. This visual analysis provides strong indication of supply and demand, price equilibrium, and potential market behavior in a way that is unique and easy to decipher. The Weekend Fix allows individuals’ to dig deeper – to gain more insight into agriculture analysis, educational pieces, coaching, and psychology. My goal is to be dedicated in helping the user and producer of commodities become better decision makers for their businesses and companies. I firmly believe that individuals must play an important role in the risk management decisions for their operations. I am confident that our market analysis can benefit the crop and livestock users, producers, and traders of agricultural commodities.
Chris Benson President, The Ag Fix
"Chris Benson's Heat Map is a remarkable tool. It distills information on the positions of the various players in the grain markets so that a trader or hedger can see graphically where everyone is in the market. Importantly, the Heat Map makes it obvious when positions are likely at an unsustainable extreme." Jeff Quinto Trader, Mentor Former CME and KCBT member
“When Chris and I first entered our professional coaching relationships, I discovered he had devoted countless hours into the creation of this phenomenal marketing tool, and his deep passion and confidence were evident. In December, when I received The Daily Ag Fix in my inbox for the first time, I was immediately captured by the simplicity and bottom-line approach. Chris’s goal is to make an impact, and I am confident he will bring value to agricultural consultants, marketers, grain producers, and land owners like myself." Bob Christensen Impact Results, Inc. 40 Year Cargill Employee
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