Dairy Testimonial

Posted August 22nd, 2011 — Filed in Testimonials

Yesterday I spent several hours observing, videoing, and visiting with the manager and employees of a 1500 cow dairy here in . . . . that has implemented your low-stress stockmanship practices. Back in March spent a couple of days teaching them what you taught me and the dairy adopted “zero-tolerance” policy for handling cows the “old way.” No more whistling, yelling, running, etc. Back then, the dairy was milking 1300 cows, three times a day, and struggling to get cows through the parlor. They also would have a couple cows every week that would fall down on the concrete or be injured as a result of mishandling. The working climate of the farm was described as “stressful.”
Over the last five months, the climate has changed from stressful to relaxed and enjoyable. Injuries and down cows have been virtually eliminated. The dairy is now putting 1500 cows through the barn, three times a day, with time to spare. Cows are now allowed to come into the parlor instead of being pushed. Milk production has increased and adverse health events have decreased. Additionally, employee turnover has stopped and employee satisfaction is through the roof. I interviewed the manager and an upper level employee separately and found their thoughts about their cows and how the farm has improved to be virtually identical. To have these people on the same page is a rarity on other facilities. They both agreed that it has taken a lot of hard work to get to where they are, and there is always more to improve, but the change has been worth it. The manager told me that the key was to have a couple of other higher level employees helping him at all times to keep everyone moving forward in this endeavor. These individuals both told me they would quit if they were forced to change back to the old ways. They love to see their cows so content and easy to work.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. Using these methods and thought processes is something that makes us better stewards of our land and cattle, and at the same time makes us more profitable.

Starting Out (more)

Posted August 9th, 2011 — Filed in Bud's Musings, Testimonials

In regards to the starting out post.

I am certainly considered a youngster at age 28 and while Cattle aren’t my only source of income I’ve been very blessed the last two years, largely in thanks to Bud and thinking about things in a world before cattle futures, FSA loans and disaster payments. I have no debt on either land (don’t own any) or cattle and this past year all my Cows were paid for out of retained earnings.

May I also recommend two books: “Knowledge Rich Ranching” and “Pasture Profits with Stocker Cattle.” Allan Nation, the author, is a smart man, he called Bud Williams a genius and the same can apply for Gordon Hazard, the man profile in the Pasture Profits book.

Cattle are amazing animals, a Cow can survive and raise a calf on pastures that other animals cannot utilize, the greatest advantage to someone is to therefore try and make this their unfair advantage. Field crop residue, so called waste land, seep land, CRP fields coming out of the program, these can all make excellent and very cheap Cow forage.

A young person could also try and partner with an older operator who has the money, land and resources but maybe not the energy or the desire to implement management practices. How much more productive can most pasture land be with grazing and animal management? How much money can a person nearing retirement age make on a bank CD versus what they can make loaning money or partnering with you? If you can prove your ability to work with cattle, especially weaning and starting calves I would think you would be a valuable commodity since almost no one anymore seems to want to do this or know how.

I actually think the barriers to entry in ranching/cattle are very low, there are lots of nice folks, few young people it seems and lots of resources available.

Starting Out

Posted August 7th, 2011 — Filed in Bud's Musings

Question: . . . I am a fan of following your website. I am going to ask a bold question and maybe you can or can’t answer it but in your opinion for someone wanting to start out ranching what is the best way to get started. I want to ranch so bad I can taste it but I keep running into road blocks. It seems so difficult with all the expenses. This is probably a bad question but I have to ask as you guys have been so successful in the cattle industry. Any advice is appreciated.

Answer:  Actually this is not a bad question, in fact there are very few bad question, there are many bad answers. One of the best ways to learn is by asking questions.  This will or should get you to the point where you know what questions to ask, then the learning can start.  Road blocks are only a state of mind, why can’t they just be learning experiences? Things that happen are just what they are not good not bad – just what they are.

“It seems so difficult with all the expenses” What are the expenses?  There are only expenses after we get into ranching and we have control of that. It is not possible to start many businesses with out there being some expenses.

With the e-mail I get no information just what you want and the perceived problems.  Getting into any business there will be some obstacles, that means that we must have a positive attitude about things and know or learn how to overcome or live with these obstacles. The most successful way to get into anything is to first learn what YOU know about it and what YOU can do that will make the business successful.  How much experience do you have, how much knowledge do you have about what you want to do?  It will be your knowledge that will allow this to work not all of the things that makes it difficult.

Most people think that to get into ranching they need lots of money and a place where they can make lots of money. It is usually wise to start with what you can afford and build on that. There are all kinds of opportunities to start small and work at whatever until the ranch operation is big enough to support you and what you would like to do.

The best way to answer your question is to say “Think positive, understand that the negative things are just something to learn how to overcome, then think big, with actions that are small.

Eunice’s 2-cents worth: Along this line, here is part of a letter that we just received from Grahame Rees,  the “R” in KLR Marketing who is teaching Bud’s marketing concepts in Australia.

“. . . . started with 4 head, borrowed $10,000.  18 months later has turned over 200 this year and paid back her $10,000.

. . . . started with 10 head 12 months ago no money down and has 100 head.
Plus to expand she applied to her agent to borrow $100,000 to expand.  He told her the money is interest free as she is making him more commission than he can bear.

. . .  told me he does not know of a beef breeder in Queensland that made money last year.”

Did you notice that both of these are women?  Do you suppose there is a difference in how young men and young women look at “Starting a Business?”