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  • Writer's pictureJodi

Emotional Decisions vs. Business Decisions, and Knowing When to Sell

Marketing our product can be the hardest part of our job. I know that sounds comical, when you consider all the hard work that goes into getting our crops and cattle to the point of selling. That it is the hardest part of our job. Knowing we put all that work into barely make a profit some years.

Let us just start at the beginning, for most ranchers you could say the work starts at calving, even though there were many decisions that started before then. Even though calving requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice, it is without a doubt that you make decision throughout your day. I know that if I see a momma cow that is taking too long to calve, that means she is most likely going to need my help. We pay close attention to our cows, knowing how long it should take them before they bring a beautiful calf into this big world. Each calf is like a present on Christmas morning, you never know what kind of surprises you will get from the cows.

We know that when we get up in the morning that we have hungry cow waiting on us. Even on the longest day we must feed, care for the livestock, make sure babies have gotten their first milk, that they have a warm dry place to get out of the wind and weather, and that each baby is healthy and happy. These are easy common-sense everyday decisions for us and one that we can take control of ourselves.

For farmers it is much the same, we have made many of the decisions when it comes to what, where, and how many acres long before planting day arrives. Our equipment has been serviced and is ready to go for the day we get to put those seeds in the ground. Weeds have been controlled and soil has been fertilized trying to make it optimal for growth. The days are long and hard, many hours spent in the tractor, waiting for someone to relieve you or maybe your loved one to bring you some lunch. These sacrifices are easy decisions for us because it is something we have grown up with.

Farmer/Ranchers have similar duties throughout the summer of caring for our crop, whether it is plants or a baby calf. They both need special attention as they grow and mature. You keep up weed control, pest control, for your crops. For cattle it is pasture rotation, fresh water, salt and mineral. It is your job to help those things grow and flourish, just like it is a parent’s job to help their children be the best they can be. Working long hours until harvest is over then you step back and see your hard work pay off with bushels of grain or pounds for calves. This is what we have been working toward all year long.

Then we come to the hardest job of all, marketing. This is a decision that is yours, but the markets move up and down, with little reasoning. To this point every decision was to keep the product alive. Then you watch the board and try to figure out the best place to market your product. We all know that we are at the mercy of the market. The board is a strange beast, that shifts and slides, but never gives you that sign, as to what it will do. We are at this point with our cattle and all I know how to do is pray and put it in God’s Hands hoping for the best. I hold onto the little things when it gets hard. Like seeing my kids smile when the first calf hits the ground, watching them learn to do all the things they were taught, and holding onto every memory I make with them.


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