Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said: "A man lives by believing something, not by debating and arguing about many things." So it is with many decisions that face ranchers in day-to-day management.
One can have great wonderings about his or her breeding program -- Can one breed do it all? Are hybrids inconsistent? Can I get the growth the industry is demanding and still keep my cow herd at an efficient mature size level? And EPDs, a host of new technologies from DNA markers to ultrasound, market signals, and genetic antagonisms, all can provide endless discussion.
But perhaps the genetic side is a bad analogy because there's a tremendous amount of data and science on these topics. Marketing, on the other hand, might entail such questions as: Should I retain ownership, expand, reduce, sell on a grid, buy protection, bet on the come, purchase grain? Again, the list is endless and while there's sound data and a lot of opinions, nobody knows the answers -- except in hindsight.
This could be said about a whole range of management decisions in the cattle business. But knowing exactly where things are going may not be as important as having a vision of where you want to go, what you believe in, and moving forward aggressively along those lines.
Faye Wattleton, said, "The only safe ship in a storm is leadership." You may not know where the market is heading, but odds are you have a strong belief/understanding of whether you want to retain ownership. And, irrespective of whether you believe national ID is a good thing, you know there are substantial premiums for source- and age-verified cattle.
Whether you like Angus, Simmental or some combination of breeds, you know how you want those cows to perform, what they must do to be profitable, and the list goes on. The key is having a core belief on where the industry is heading, decide on your direction, and act decisively to position yourself.
No one can predict the future accurately but those best prepared for the future are those who take time to develop sound beliefs on the general direction, and then lead their operation in preparing for that future.
-- Troy Marshall