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About Beef Basis began in the mind of Custom Ag Solutions (CAS) President Brett Crosby, a Wyoming cattle rancher with a penchant (or obsession) for observing cattle markets. Crosby recognized that futures markets are ineffective hedging instruments for most cow-calf producers. In short, volatile basis of the futures markets to lighter weight calves makes the instruments largely useless as hedging tools. Beyond recognizing the issue, Crosby, along with John Mangus and Kole Swanser, decided to try to improve producer’s abilities for dealing with the problem.

In 2005, CAS partnered with researchers at Kansas State University (K-State) to seek USDA funding to develop a tool to more accurately forecast basis for calves of various weights at locations around the country. With support from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), CAS and K-State conducted research and development activities aimed at improving producers’ marketing decisions. The partnership produced a suite of online tools, housed at, that provided highly accessible market information and intuitive analytical capabilities, especially related to cattle basis risk.

Following the successful completion of the initial USDA/RMA partnership, CAS has continued to maintain, with continuous, self-funded improvement initiatives directed toward improving cattle producers’ decision making and resulting profitability. Today, CAS and its team members are working to take to a new level in terms of capabilities and results.

What is Basis?

Basis, defined simply as the difference between the local cash markets and futures contract prices, can be complex and can vary dramatically between weight classes and market locations from year to year. Understanding the risk related to basis uncertainty, or “basis risk,” is essential to making effective use of price risk management tools such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures and options and forward contracts.

Team Members Past and Present Core Team

  • Brett Crosby, President, Custom Ag Solutions
  • Kole Swanser,  PhD, Research Economist / Development Architect, CAS & AgRAEIS
  • John Mangus, Project Manager, Custom Ag Solutions
  • Chris Crosby, Lead Developer, Custom Ag Solutions
  • Justin Harrison, Web Designer / Developer

Advisory and Founding Research & Development Team

  • Kevin C. Dhuyvetter, PhD, Researcher, Elanco, formerly with K-State
  • Terry Kastens, PhD, Researcher, Kastens Farms, formerly with K-State
  • James Mintert, PhD, Researcher, Purdue University, formerly with K-State
  • Glynn Tonsor, PhD, Researcher, K-State

Contact registered users will soon be supported through the site’s integrated help desk and knowledge base, which will be monitored with a 24-hour response standard. For now, please contact the team via email (

General inquiries can be made as follows:

Custom Ag Solutions

PO Box 659
27 W Main St
Cowley, WY 82420


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