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Expert Advice Doesn’t Eliminate Learning Things The Hard Way

Have you ever attended a meeting and heard a producer talk about his branded-beef program, rotational grazing system or planned breeding system that utilizes artificial insemination, etc.? These folks usually have incredible data on the gains they’ve made and such claims are almost universally correct. It truly is amazing what they’ve achieved.

These folks are usually asked to present their story not only because of their successes in implementing these strategies but also in their long-term experience in these areas. It makes sense, as they are the experts, but I’ve come to believe that with expertise comes a lack of understanding or appreciation about exactly what it took to get to that level of expertise.

These presenters almost always make it sound easy. As an analogy, I know horse trainers who can describe in two sentences how to get a horse to do a sliding stop, but for anyone who listened closely and tried to go out and execute that move, it’s never quite as simple as it sounds. 

The problem with experts is that they’ve learned so much about the subject of their expertise that they can’t relate to a person’s lack of expertise and remember to tell you everything you need to know. I experienced this first hand this summer as we have attempted to implement a more intensive grazing management plan. I just hope the experts are right and that it gets easier over time.

I try to learn as much as I can from experts, but the one thing I admit that I always ignore is when they say it is easy and no big deal to implement x y or z. That’s because I usually find they have forgotten to mention about 40 things that I will be forced to learn the hard way.  

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