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LRP offers advantages over options

LRP (Livestock Risk Protection) offers several advantages over options when it comes to protecting the price of livestock. These advantages and highlights are why LRP is a more cost-effective and flexible option.

 

LRP benefits

Firstly, LRP provides subsidies and support that can help farmers and ranchers manage their risk. These include delayed premium payments until after the contract maturity and cash price subsidies on the premium itself. These subsidies make LRP a more affordable option compared to using the options market.

Dakota mentions that the cost per hundred and cost per head, which are important metrics for livestock producers, are calculated after the subsidies come into play. This means that LRP provides a financial advantage over using options.

Another advantage of LRP is its flexibility. Unlike options, which have minimum contract sizes and brokerage fees, LRP has no minimum contract sizes, no brokerage fees, and no margin calls. This makes it accessible to a wide range of livestock producers, including those with smaller operations. He mentions that even farmers with as few as 40 head of cattle and who sell only 15 or 20 steers a year can benefit from LRP.

LRP offers tax-deductible premiums, which can be listed as an expense on Schedule F under the crop insurance column. This can provide additional financial benefits for producers.

Another important advantage of LRP is that there is no requirement to sell the animals when the endorsement period is over. Farmers can choose to settle up and remain open to the market after the endorsement period. Additionally, if the cattle are sold privately, the insurance coverage can be transferred to the new owners upon sale, although some additional paperwork may be required.

One unique advantage of LRP is that it provides coverage in months with no futures contract. This means that even during off months when options may not be available, LRP can still offer protection and a floor price for livestock.


 

LRP insurance protects against volatility

LRP insurance, or Livestock Risk Protection insurance, is a type of insurance that protects livestock producers against price volatility in the market. This insurance is specifically designed for cattle, swine, and lamb producers and provides coverage for unexpected price declines.


One of the main advantages of LRP insurance is its ability to protect against market volatility. Market volatility refers to the rapid and significant changes in market prices. These fluctuations can be caused by various factors such as changes in supply and demand, weather conditions, or global economic events. LRP insurance helps producers mitigate the financial risks associated with these price fluctuations by providing them with a guaranteed price for their livestock.

Unlike options trading, which can be complex and require a deep understanding of the market, LRP insurance is relatively straightforward and easy to understand. Producers can simply lock in a price for their livestock based on their estimated weight at sale time. This allows them to have a clear idea of the revenue they will receive, regardless of the actual weight of the livestock at the time of sale.

Another advantage of LRP insurance is its subsidies. The government provides subsidies to help reduce the cost of premiums for producers. These subsidies make LRP insurance more affordable and accessible for livestock producers, especially small-scale farmers who may have limited financial resources.

LRP insurance offers flexibility in terms of coverage availability. Unlike options trading, which may have limited availability during certain months, LRP insurance is available year-round. This means that producers can protect their livestock prices even during off months when market conditions may be more uncertain.



 

Locking in floor prices for cattle

One of the key topics is the concept of locking in floor prices for cattle. He explains that by doing so, farmers can protect themselves from potential market downturns and ensure a minimum price for their livestock. This is particularly important in the livestock industry, where prices can be volatile and unpredictable.


Dakota mentions the USDA's Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) program as a tool that farmers can use to lock in floor prices. The LRP program allows farmers to purchase insurance coverage for their livestock, which guarantees a minimum price if market prices fall below a certain level. This provides farmers with a level of financial security and helps them manage their risk.

He also discusses the factors that farmers should consider when deciding when to lock in floor prices. He mentions that the timing of locking in prices can impact the cost of the insurance coverage. For example, if farmers wait until closer to the grazing period, they may be able to secure a higher price but at a higher cost. On the other hand, if they lock in prices earlier, they may be able to get a cheaper rate but with the risk of missing out on potential price increases.

He advises farmers to work with LRP agents who have a good understanding of the livestock industry and the market dynamics. It is important for agents to have knowledge of livestock markets and be able to provide accurate advice to farmers. He also warns against speculative and gambling behaviors, such as repeatedly locking in prices at different weight categories. This can result in paying multiple premiums and potentially putting farmers in a financial hole.


 

Livestock agents are in short supply

One key takeaway is that livestock agents are in short supply. Dakota mentions that there are only a few outfits in Oklahoma and Texas that are actively pushing for the use of the USDA's Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) program. In fact, in the southern part of Oklahoma and northern Texas, he is not aware of any other agents who are actively educating people about this program. This scarcity of livestock agents is a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of the LRP program.

He suggests that one reason for the shortage of livestock agents is the average age of crop agents. Most crop agents are of a similar age as farmers and ranchers, and they may not be inclined to learn something new and integrate it into their business. This reluctance to embrace change and learn new strategies is holding back the adoption of the LRP program. He mentions that in previous years when the program was not as valuable, there was little incentive for agents to put in the effort to promote it.

Another reason for the shortage of livestock agents is the demanding nature of the job. He mentions that young ranchers in southern Oklahoma are facing challenges in getting licensed as agents because they are busy with their daily tasks of feeding and checking cattle. These ranchers are unable to dedicate enough time to being livestock agents and fulfilling the needs of their customers simultaneously. This highlights the need for agents who can prioritize their role and make it their full-time job rather than just a side gig.

The shortage of livestock agents is problematic because it hinders the dissemination of information about the LRP program and limits the availability of assistance for farmers who want to participate. Dakota does provide a solution by suggesting the use of technology and online resources. The USDA's agent locator website is mentioned as a valuable tool for finding local livestock agents. He mentions the example of a big agency in Denver, Colorado, that is using email and cell phones to send out daily reports and communicate with customers. This indicates that technology is playing a crucial role in the future of livestock agents and the LRP program.

 


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