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Survey finds micromanagement bad for performance

A recent survey conducted by The Harvard Business Review reveals that autonomy at work (not micromanagement) is the key to employee satisfaction and organizational achievement.

It describes this concept as "rebelling," or giving employees the freedom to "deviate from organizational norms, others' actions, or common expectations, to the benefit of the organization."

This has been a core value at my company, Wattpad, since we launched a decade ago. We describe this frame of mind as that of a trailblazer. Trailblazers challenge themselves and others to think big and think differently. They are not afraid to lead, or to try something new.

This all sounds good on paper, but structure, vision, and process also need to be in place to run an effective organization. So, the question becomes: How do you create a workplace culture that produces results while providing staff with the freedom to do things their way?

Read more

What's the message to new customers?

Before someone becomes a customer, chances are they will get more attention than they will over the next couple of years - if we don't count the "I want to sell you something" contacts. Then, if customers don't respond to the sales pitches, there are fewer and fewer contacts - until they stop.

This is a scenario that occurs so frequently, customers know what to expect: first, they're courted; then, they're dropped like a jilted lover. To overcome the "letdown feeling," some companies introduce what they call "customer care," which may include what they will do to build an ongoing relationship. Again, this raises expectations and increases the chances of disappointment.

It's not surprising that those coming through the front door often disappear out the back door. This happens not only in companies, but all types of organizations. Work hard to get the fish in the boat, but not so much to keep them there.

What you can do about it:

  1. Give customer retention the same level of attention and support that you give sales.
  2. Select highly competent people and train them in relationship management.
  3. Constantly evolve the relationship program by trying out new ideas gleaned from customer feedback.

For more information on this and other sales, marketing and business management topics, visit




NEW photo contest: For the love of land & livestock

Amanda Radke For Love Of Land & Livestock

The old saying, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson” really rings true to those of us in the cattle business. This industry is tough, and the great risks we take can result in great rewards or massive failure. It would be impossible not to make mistakes in this business, but the key is to learn from them and move forward (and avoid making the same mistakes twice!)

The last year isn’t going to be remembered in the history books as a great one for cattle producers; however, successful cattlemen know that there are highs and lows in this industry, and ultimately, we do what we do not for fame and fortune, but for our deep love for the land and the livestock.

The editors at BEEF would like to capture ranchers’ passions with a new photo contest with the theme, “For the love of land & livestock.” We are seeking your best images of cattle, pastures, horses, cow dogs, family, ranch hands or any other photo that showcases why you love what you do in this business of producing beef.

READ: My dispersal ad (that you'll likely never see)

To enter, simply email me at [email protected] with your favorite photo, plus a caption, your name and mailing address. The entry period will be open until 8:00 am CST on May 18. All photographs will be added to a gallery, so stop back often to view the images.

From there, we will announce our top finalists on May 22, and our readers will vote for their favorite images. The two photos that receive the most votes will be announced on May 29.

Ever wonder how it all started, this push to genetic improvement? Who were the pioneers in helping the beef business start down the road that has led us to where we are today?

Contest winners will receive a copy of the book “Courageous Cattlemen.” Written by the late Robert C. de Baca, the book profiles many of the early industry leaders in the genetic improvement movement.

READ: It's not always smooth sailing on the cattle market winds

Himself one of those early pioneers, de Baca was a well-known professor at Iowa State University, as well as owner of Mid-Iowa Cattle Co. and publisher of the Ideal Beef Memo, an early publication that encouraged the use of genetic selection and improvement.

Thanks for your participation in this contest! I look forward to seeing your best images that capture the spirit of this theme! For the love of land and livestock is certainly open to your best interpretation. Let’s make this our best photo gallery yet!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.


Stock investors aren't worried market will tank. The job market is humming. Stock market is looking good. We, it appears, aren't worried.

A bill is moving through Illinois state legislature to require teaching of cursive in schools. School district administrators worry about impact on their school system. Opponents point to texting, tweeting and contend no need for cursive for tomorrow's adults. Direct message me @MaxArmstrong on Twitter with your opinion.

Salute farmer in east central Nebraska who has reminded us that planting is not all that matters in spring. Sam tweeted that she thought she was bringing food out to planter when he surprised her with a ring. 


I wonder if House Speaker Paul Ryan was wishing he was back in Janesville, Wis., when he encountered New York City protest.

Target will start testing next day home delivery in Minneapolis area. Package at nearby store and deliver next day.

AARP says top destination spots are Honolulu and Grant Teton National Park and city of Detroit, America's Comeback town.

Don't you wonder what goes through minds of folks who damage gravestones? 

Tweet yesterday evening - farmer surprised girlfriend with ring when she brought him supper to the field.

Farm Progress America, May 10, 2017

Max Armstrong heard some interesting marketing insights from Dale Durchholz, senior market analyst, AgriVisor, notes that a continued growing economy is bringing strong demand to agricultural commodities. Max notes that supplies are at all-time highs, but demand for soybeans and soybean oil alone are growing rapidly - especially in China.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Increase stocking rates by feeding pairs grazing bromegrass

Photo courtesy of Troy Walz, UNL cattle in a group
STRATEGY FOR HIGHER STOCKING RATE: A summer supplementation program designed to reduce grazed forage intake is a viable strategy for increasing stocking rate if forage is limited, such in areas where pastures are dominated by smooth bromegrass.

By Aaron Berger

Short on pasture? Consider feeding a mixture of ethanol coproducts with low-quality forage to replace grazed forage and increase stocking rates for cow-calf pairs grazing smooth brome pastures.

Areas in Nebraska where pastures dominated by smooth brome are the primary resource for summer grazing are also where harvested cornstalk residue and ethanol coproducts are readily available. These locations tend to be limited in pasture.

Recent research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examined feeding ethanol coproducts mixed with low-quality forage to cow-calf pairs on smooth brome pasture to replace grazed forage.

This study occurred over a three-year period at the Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead from 2011 to 2013. Pastures were grazed from early May until mid-September annually. The study consisted of two treatments. The first treatment stocked cow-calf pairs that grazed an estimated 3.82 animal unit month (AUM) equivalents of forage per acre during the grazing season without any substitution feed provided. (This is the recommended stocking rate for this location.) An AUM is equivalent to about 780 pounds of air-dried forage.

The second treatment was double the recommended stocking rate at 7.63 AUM equivalents of forage demand per acre. A mixture of modified distillers grain with solubles and ground cornstalks was provided daily and fed at a rate designed to replace about 50% of the grazed forage, thus allowing for the doubling of the recommended stocking rate. The mixture consisted of 30% modified distillers grain with solubles and 70% ground cornstalks on a dry matter basis.

The cow-calf pairs fed the mix were provided 0.6% of their body weight on a dry matter basis daily at the start of the grazing season. Increasing levels of this feed mix were fed throughout the grazing season to account for declining forage quality and quantity, as well as the increasing consumption by the calf. Pairs were group-fed once a day in metal bunks that provided 3 feet of bunk space per pair.

Benefits of coproducts with forage:
• No statistical difference in cow and calf body weight between the two treatments at the end of the grazing season occurred, although cows and calves receiving the feed mix tended to weigh more than ones only grazing smooth brome pastures.

• The pastures in this study received the same treatments for four consecutive years, and little difference was observed visually in condition or residual forage at the end of the grazing season each year between treatments.

• Supplemented pairs were provided on average 15.7 pounds on a dry matter basis of the feed mix per day. This was estimated to reduce their intake of grazed forage by 37%. One pound of the feed mix replaced 0.94 pound of grazed forage.

• Feeding a significant level of fibrous, low-quality forage with the ethanol coproducts is necessary to reduce dry matter intake of grazed forage. As shown in other studies, feeding only highly digestible ethanol coproducts would likely not have resulted in the same "grass saving" effect.

Results from this study would indicate that feeding a combination of ethanol coproducts mixed with low-quality forage to cow-calf pairs grazing smooth brome pasture at levels estimated to replace 50% of the diet can effectively replace grazed forage. This management practice provides the opportunity to increase the number of cow-calf pairs that can be placed in a smooth brome pasture for the summer grazing season by replacing a portion of grazed forage with fed feed.

For more information on this study, see the 2015 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report Supplementing Cow-calf Pairs Grazing Smooth Bromegrass.

Berger is a Nebraska Extension educator. This research was conducted by Jason Warner, Annie Doerr, both former graduate students in the Animal Science Department at UNL; Galen Erickson, UNL animal science professor; Rick Rasby, Extension beef specialist; and Terry Klopfenstein, animal science professor. This report comes from UNL BeefWatch.


Thanks, Domino’s, for supporting modern ag!

Courtesy Domino's Pizza Dominos Pizza with beef pepperoni

Grab a box of Domino’s pizza this week and enjoy it with your family, knowing with full confidence that the food chain supports America’s farmers and ranchers without hesitation.

In a recent report from Brownfield Ag News, which recapped highlights of the Animal Ag Alliance summit in Kansas City, “Animal rights groups have been successful in pressuring many of the top food companies and restaurant chains to adopt stricter animal welfare policies, such as cage-free eggs and gestation stall-free pork. One notable exception is Domino’s Pizza, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., which has stood its ground in the face of extreme pressure from animal activists.”

Tim McIntyre told Brownfield that “farmers know best.” It’s as simple as that.

“We will never tell a farmer how to farm. We will never tell a rancher how to raise his or her animals,” said McIntyre. “What we believe is they’re the experts. They have the most vested interest in raising their livestock. It’s not just a job, we recognize that. It’s a life and we appreciate that—and we’re not afraid to stand up and say it.”

Isn’t that a breath of fresh air compared to the Chipotles, Paneras, McDonald’s, Subways and other restaurant chains that have cowered to the animal rights agenda and pushed a very anti-modern agriculture product onto their consumers? Despite activist pressures, however, McIntyre said, “Domino’s will not cave.”

“Over the years, because we have taken the tack of what I’ll call ‘leaning into the punch’—and we’ve taken the punch and sometimes we punch back—we’ve been lucky enough to see that the extremists will go away when they realize that we are not going to cave,” he says. “The best answer is to be deaf. To not hear them, to not respond, to not give them a platform. The biggest mistake we make is believing that they are reasonable people. We’ve learned they’re not. That’s why they’re called extremists.”

Yet, it seems like we constantly have to listen to the barrage of comments from the affluent 2% of extreme activist vegans in this country. The other 98% of folks want to eat their meat in peace, without feeling guilty, concerned or worried about the safety, ethics or nutrition of the foods they are offering their families.

So I’m proud to support a restaurant like Domino’s, which has partnered with the dairy checkoff in years past, and clearly has a strong handle on the folks who produce the meat and cheese toppings that make these pizzas so delicious.

Thanks, Domino’s, for letting us do our jobs! It really means a lot!  

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.


Did you know they are tracking our tweets to gauge how we as a nation feel about things? The index passed on tweets had it's biggest plunge on day of election. Spikes on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Morton buildings is now totally employee owned. 1700 employees now own the company.

16 more Marsh stores in central Indiana could close over next two months. Founded more than 85 years ago. 

Later this month in Atlanta services for Agco founder Robert Ratliff. During his tenure at Agco guided company through 21 acquisitions. Also during his tenure moved headquarters from West Allis, Wis., to Duluth, Georgia. 

Fed Cattle Recap | Market continues a remarkable bull run

Fed cattle recap

My, oh my. What a week for the fed cattle market, which notched what is probably the biggest weekly jump to the upside ever recorded.

Click on the red arrow below for a full audio report.


The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa, hit $144.60 per cwt for the week ending May 6. That compares with $136.22 the previous week, for a jump of $8.38. 

The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $229.80, a remarkable $13.35 increase from the $216.45 the previous week.

And, once again, the price jump to the upside came in the face of higher slaughter numbers. Estimated total federally-inspected harvest was 612,000 head, compared with 586,000 the same week last year. That’s an increase of 26,000 head over last year. What’s more, the year-to-date estimated total is 596,000 head over last year,  so we’re definitely not short of numbers yet.

The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 140,937 head, compared with about 133,819 the previous week. 

The Five Area average formula price was $213.87, compared with $207.48 the previous week, for a $6.39 increase in price. Five Area formula sales totaled 176,308 head, compared with about 167,359 the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was only about 34,000 head, compared with 89,000 head the previous week. Packers have more than 241,000 head of forward contracts available for May and 256,000 for June.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Apr 22 was 1 pound higher at 849 pounds, compared with 870 pounds last year. The five year average is 849 pounds, so carcass weights are currently right on track.

And even though cash feed cattle prices recorded what may be a record jump last week, here’s news to match that feat: the Choice-Select spread was $19.30 on Friday, May 5, which was over $5.00 higher compared with the previous week. What’s more, that compares with a $9.42 spread last year. Since the Choice-Select spread last year went from $9 to $20 in the four weeks of May, what’s in store this year?