Tommy Kent Crouch recalls that his first futures trade was in pork bellies and caused him to lose the down payment on the house for which he and his wife were saving. That was back in 1966 and Crouch calls it his “first lesson” in trading, but it was one of many and the beginning of a lifelong love affair with markets and trading.
Crouch grew up on a farm in central Indiana and was hired as a hog buyer by Heinold Commodities when he was 20 years old. In 1971 he got the opportunity to go to Chicago to be a livestock analyst for Heinold.
“I couldn’t pack my bags fast enough,” Crouch says. “I was responsible for giving market recommendations to branch offices throughout the country. I handled a deck, I filled a lot of orders for Heinold in second option hogs.”
In 1977 he and a partner left Heinold and bought into ag-based futures broker Packers Trading Company.
Crouch always has traded throughout an eclectic career that has spanned six decades and has focused on every aspect of agribusiness. He has farmed, traded, raised cattle, bred racehorses, brokered customer orders and owned clearing firms and feedlots.
In the mid-1970s, he opened the first Pig Improvement Company (PIC) multiplier in the United States and bought a horse farm. PIC began in England in the 1960s, dedicated to providing genetic improvement in pork breeding.
He moved to Kentucky in the mid-1980s to dedicate more of his time to breeding horses, which he did quite successfully, breeding several million-dollar winners and earning an induction into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. But it wasn’t until 2010, at an age when most traders would be retiring, that Crouch launched his commodity trading advisor, TKC Investment Services.
TKC is a discretionary program that trades grain and livestock markets on fundamentals, but Crouch understands the impact of systematic trading. “Fundamentals always will win out,” he says. “Do I pay attention to technicals? Absolutely. More so today than ever. There is nothing worse than being right on the fundamentals and losing money because somebody wanted to move 2,000 [lots] because the technical said something.”