Good commodity prices and strong export markets are why Iowa State University ag economist Chad Hart is urging farmers to sell their crops before planting them. According to Hart, signs are pointing to weakening export trade during the upcoming year, so now would be the time to consider forward contracting.

A forward contract is an agreement between two parties for a set amount of time and price. This can help farmers against falls in market prices.

The price series that we've got right now in front of us does lead to some opportunities, not only in marketing the corn and soybeans that are sitting in the bin right now, but also taking a look at those new crop opportunities for the 2022 crop, and even for those who are fairly aggressive, they could be looking out there to 2023 as well.

Currently, the futures trade shows profitable levels for both corn and soybeans for the next few years—something Hart is saying farmers should take advantage of.

Corn prices right now, all the way out to 2024, are all above $5 a bushel. Soybean prices, all the way out to 2024, are all above $12 per bushel. That's an amazing pricing plateau to take advantage of right now and it's something we see very rarely.

While China is a good partner when it comes to trade, Hart says they are starting to cut back on what they are buying.

They're the ones that are backing off the most as we look at these higher prices. They remain a very strong market for us. As you look at our top markets, they're still our biggest buyer on the soybean side, they're our second-biggest buyer on corn and pork.

China is the third-largest buyer for beef but when it comes to corn and soybean, Hart says, they have been getting less and less each year.

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