University of Minnesota Extension

Winning the Game   Tool Time

About the Winning the Game & Tool Time workshops

Winning the Game & Tool Time are a series of workshops from the University of Minnesota and the Center for Farm Financial Management. Each workshop features a realistic marketing game, where producers make pricing decisions before or after harvest. The games are fun, but more important is learning a practical approach to marketing that cuts through the fog of market opinions and commentary to help producers make some common sense decisions.

Presented in cooperation with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council & local sponsors, these award winning workshops offer valuable information to all those who attend.

“Pre-harvest marketing pays & crop insurance is the tool that allows you to
do it with comfort "

Winning the Game participant

Winning the Game History

Many people and organizations have contributed to the success of Winning the Game. Roger Selley and Doug Jose of the University of Nebraska developed the original game and workshop concept in 1999. Originally, the program wasn’t known as Winning the Game.

Early in 2000, the Center for Farm Financial Management set out to upgrade the game and hone the marketing message that producers would learn from the game.

The goal was a hands-on marketing game that let farmers practice a different approach to marketing and remove a little bit of the mystery. Reformatted and renamed Winning the Game, the workshop rolled out in the fall of was a big success! Since then Winning the Game has become a series of workshops, each with a different game and marketing focus.

While each game is unique, the workshops contain some common elements. Each workshop is designed as a three-hour program, including the game and a discussion of several aspect of marketing directly related to the game. Each game is designed to deliver a different take-home message. We focus on eliminating mistakes in marketing and emphasize the importance of having a marketing plan. Each session encourages producers to reassess their current marketing practices.

Tool Time History

After years of success with Winning the Game, the concept for a pair of Tool Time pre and post-harvest workshops emerged as a natural next step in marketing education. While Winning the Game focuses on the development and execution of a marketing plan for grain, Tool Time explores the pricing tools needed to execute the plan.

Pricing tools that use futures and options can be complicated. Tool Time was developed using the same plain-speaking and hands-on approach as Winning the Game, with a marketing game that let’s farmers practice a variety of pricing tools to develop knowledge and confidence.

Two versions of Tool Time explore pricing tools available before and after harvest. The “Pre-Harvest” and “Post-Harvest” programs are different, but they contain common elements. Each workshop is designed as a three-hour program, with an in-depth review of pricing tools, ranging from a basic forward contract to options strategies that establish minimum and maximum prices. The market simulation game gives producers the chance to practice using the tools, and develop an understanding of how they work in different market situations. Each session encourages producers to reassess the pricing tools needed to execute a marketing plan.


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