Earlier this week I received word that rancher and author Walt Davis passed on. I had expressed an interest to Wally Olson once that I would like to meet Walt. Wally told me anytime I wanted to ride down there he would introduce me. This was several years ago and now I regret not taking Wally up on his offer. I am certain I would have gained a huge amount of knowledge and insight from the conversation between the three of us.
As I reflected upon this blown opportunity, I had to get real with myself. I was not real serious about meeting Walt. If we look at our day planner and our checkbook, we can see our priorities. I made the excuse of being busy. I have to run my operation and all the day-to-day activities and then there is all my daughter’s activities. If I was real serious, I could have figured out a way to take off for a couple days. But I didn’t make that choice.
When we are serious about something, we find a way, when we are not, we find an excuse.
Beating your limitations
From a young age we are programmed to believe doing certain things is beyond reality. There is a list of excuses a mile long, and it's getting longer, of why we can’t start an operation from scratch. Most people believe this and end up living their lives having accepted someone else’s limitations. These people were never serious about starting their own operation.
If you want things to happen you must get serious about it. I talk about commitment in my marketing schools. We must commit to our desire which means cutting ourselves off from anything that won’t help us achieve that goal.
I hear young people all the time complain about how they can’t catch a break or get started. Or they talk about dreams. One thing they have in common is they are not doing anything to make it happen.
Planning, approval, and timing are a big deal to these people. The only thing on that list that may matter is getting approval from the banker. But many seek approval of others. Remember this: like attracts like. If you feel there are forces that will stop you from achieving your goal you will meet more people that think the same way you do. This will only act to reinforce the idea the goal can't be achieved.
Timing will never be right. It's like sitting at the south side of my hometown at the first stop light and thinking I won’t go until every light is green at the same time so I can just cruise right on through. Between the timing of the lights and traffic this will never happen. But going from one light to the next is progress.
No direct line to a goal
Planning only makes us feel good. We can think on something for a long time and come up with the perfect plan. Once we get started life happens and the plan is out the window. I compare this to driving from New York to Los Angeles in the dark. We can only see a few hundred feet in front of us because that is all the farther our head lights go. But when we drive a few hundred feet ahead we can see the next few hundred feet. There will be detours, delays, and possibly a break down. If we are committed to getting there and are persistent we will get there.
This is how it works. We go to the auction and we have a difficult time getting anything bought that we feel like we can make work. The old guys, and it is always the old guys, will not let us have a bargain. Even if the animal we are bidding on doesn’t fit their deal. The other thing is no one will offer a young inexperienced person an opportunity. It is difficult to get a foot in the door.
Once we do get a foot in the door, we have to stick it out for a while doing some trading. When I say a while, I am talking years. Then one day one of those old timers will invite, usually command, you to sit by them during a sale. This is when the good stuff happens. They talk to or maybe at you and share things with you. You must show resolve before you get respect. Opportunities will eventually follow.
I have said before we don’t find mentors, mentors find us. You will not be found until you are serious. Being serious means you are ready to learn and to do something. You are worth their time.
This weekend ask yourself these three questions:
1. What do you want?
2. How bad do you want it?
3. What are you willing to do about it?
Question 3 is when it gets real. It's where most people will walk away. It's this question that will determine if you’re serious and what your commitment level is. It is where you rearrange your priorities and your life will change.
I feel like I barely scratched the surface for a young person wanting to get started. If you know of such a young person and you think I wrote something of value here please share it with them.
I also mentioned that Walt Davis was an author. He wrote two great books: Cerebral Ranching and How To Not Go Broke Ranching.
View from the cattle markets
This week in the feeder markets we saw the heavier feeders back off a little and the lightweight feeders move higher. The breaking point is around 600-pounds. The Value of Gain from one weight to the next now looks like a yo-yo. It starts high and flyweights drop below the Cost of Gain around the six weights then rises above COG around the seven or eight weights depending on what sale you attend. Then it drops off again.
If we are looking at the steer side they are over-valued to fats, while heifers are under-valued to fats.
This week feeder bulls were 15-33 back and unweaned calves were 7-20 back. Replacement quality heifers caught a 12 dollar premium.
The five weight to fly weight trade has the most margin capture this week. Then trading ones and twos for other ones and twos has the second best margin capture. This is the third week these lesser quality cattle have been saturated with profit potential. Respect the entire market because it doesn’t pay well to be a cattle snob.
The volatility we are seeing is beginning to make some people think that things are messed up. To a sell/buy marketer who has market literacy this volatility is a dream. The VOG on some weights is offering an opportunity for value capture. The discounts on bulls and bawlers is offering an opportunity to trade out of under-valued heavy weight feeders, provided that person can handle them.