FALL 2009 ISSUE


It’s in the Blood






Looking back I’m not sure there was ever any doubt. However, that’s easy to say now, more than 8 years removed from my start at POET Risk Management.


I started working for my dad, Craig, just days after graduating from college back in the spring of 2001, jumping head first into the world of corn trading. My old man had been involved with the cob his entire life and as far as I was concerned he was already the Bobby Fischer of cash corn trading.


My exposure to corn up until that point had been limited primarily to devouring my favorite family dish at Thanksgiving dinner, scalloped corn. Nonetheless, it didn’t take but a few weeks on the job to realize that buried deep inside of me was an insatiable appetite for knowing everything about the commodity.


The rest as they say is history. There is now no denying the Ludtkes have long been addicted to corn. I’ve since learned our family stalk is littered with corn traders dating all the way back to the late 1890s.


Common symptoms exhibited by a Ludtke corn addict include:


Paranoia
Most often experienced when traveling in remote areas of the Midwest with inadequate cell phone coverage — thus impairing our ability to know where corn is trading at every second of the day.


Involuntary eye twitching
A byproduct of incessant “tick” watching during volatile trading sessions.


Irritability, restlessness and confusion
Daily occurrence when assessing the accuracy of our market bias regarding the future direction of corn prices.


Insomnia
Transpires the night before a major USDA crop report. Can result in delusions depicting various “end of the world” type scenarios.


Euphoria
The moment we realize we have survived another major USDA crop report. Visions of summiting Mt. Everest soon follow.


This pattern then repeats itself on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, I have to yet come across a 7-step program created exclusively for corn addicts.


How bad can it get? Consider this; I don’t necessarily fear death as much as I do the thought of God not having Wi-Fi and a quote screen. I’m pretty sure any leverage I might have had in the discussion was forfeited following unsubstantiated rumors of a pumpkin smashing ring in Junior High.


Furthermore, I’m not sure the addiction loses its stranglehold even after you retire from active trading duty. My grandpa, Art Ludtke, has yet to kick the habit and he’s 83 years young.


My hope is someday we’ll all find peace from our corn addiction. However until then, I think it’s safe to say we’re embracing living in denial, ready and willing to place our next bets and looking forward to the next major crop report.


After all, it’s in the blood.


Marcus Ludtke graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and started working for POET Risk Management in May of that year. His primary responsibilities include managing POET’s corn position and market research.





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