Would you try to jam a Mac operating system into a PC computer?
How about the reverse?
Of course you wouldn’t, unless you’re an idiot, because you’d realize that you cannot just force a cat to become a dog. These are fundamentally different creatures.
Yet that’s what some farmers expect to see with the farm marketing advisers, analysts and newspapers they rely upon for market advice and information.
Some want these people and organizations to privately give them the best, honest marketing advice they’ve got, but then become dishonest spinners of market opinion when they speak in public.
If the market is likely to go down, they want the adviser to privately tell them to sell, but then say out loud stuff that is designed to push prices back up. Or if they won’t do that, to just shut up. They don’t want the analyst (or newspaper) to give an honest view, but to deliberately engage in manipulation.
I recently witnessed this happening when some farmers were berating an analyst that had spoken to The Western Producer about the giant size of this year’s prairie crop.
They were annoyed that his comments, and our coverage, might help push prices down as buyers realized that there’s lots of crop out there.
And the analyst was even accused of deliberately giving a bearish view in aid of some bizarre company interest, with his employer somehow benefiting from crop prices going down.
This didn’t rattle the analyst much because he could fall back on a simple truth: he was giving his honest opinion, whether anyone likes it or not. And that’s what he does for a living.
That to me is the crucial value of the traders, advisers, analysts and market commentators I rely upon in my work as a markets reporter: they are fearless with their views of the market, even if those opinions are likely to be unpopular, are different from those of their colleagues and could possibly have a market impact.
Like a good referee, they call it as they see it.
I’m often surprised at just how frank and open traders and analysts are when I call them — out of the blue always — to get their take on the markets. Immediately, they spill forth a complex analysis of competing factors and dynamics. They never need a moment to think about it.
That’s because you don’t need to think much about something if you’re telling the truth, and that’s their stock in trade.
And it’s what the markets rely upon. Markets are voracious consumers of data, information and analysis. The more and better info markets get, the better they operate in their crucial role of establishing prices.
And that’s something all farmers rely upon: well-functioning markets.
Most farmers get this with both analysts and newspapers like The Western Producer. We cover the situation as it is, as best as we can discover it, and don’t intentionally misrepresent situations, even if we occasionally get things wrong.
We have an operating system that values honest opinion, and if you want something different, you’d better turn somewhere else.