The Means to Achieve!

How many times a year do we hear ourselves say: "Ah, if only I could, I would…?" We are very well aware that, for so many things, the change we seek is beyond our means. But for others, the means are there, and at our disposal. If, for example, to improve my health I need to find time for exercise, it then becomes a question of individual priorities. But for most cases; "If I could…" often translates into a lack of financial means. Cattle farmers know exactly what I mean.
For about one year now, cow-calf operators have seen their cash flow greatly improve. Allow me to nuance this statement that "improve" does not mean 'rolling' in cash! What it does mean is that, this year, several farmers will most probably be able to check off a few items on their wish list.

And that's where everything gets complicated! There are so many options to choose from. Which one represents the best leverage and produces the greatest outcome? There is no obvious fix-all answer that applies to everyone. As for me, I like to refer to the four basic principles of decision-making in this kind of situation.

The first is that success is not synonymous with the quantity of material resources, but rather with the level of motivation of its human resources. What was once financially impossible is now achievable and would have the best positive effect in terms of personal aspirations?

Second, is the notion of opportunism: An opportunity is a situation that does not frequently occur. In this category we include setting the foundation for the next farming generation, the recent availability of neighbouring land or the currently low net cost of acquiring quality bulls!

The notion of opportunism is also the ability to properly identify investments that can wait and will be more appealing at a later date. A good example? Although no additional evidence is needed to prove that a herd of cows, especially selected for their maternal characteristics, would produce several benefits, the opportunity cost of such an investment is particularly high at this time despite the very good prices obtained for cull cows.

As for my third principle, I once heard a farmer say it out loud: "We don't get poor when times are bad; we get poor when times are good!" What does this mean? Simple. What is spent when business is good should not result in recurrent expenditures when business is not as profitable.

And finally, my fourth and last principle: "Do I really need it?" Four obvious principles that, when combined, may be difficult to adhere to.

Allow me to propose a few suggestions that are applicable to cow-calf operations and respect the abovementioned four principles of decision-making:
• Take a little time off: It's immediate and may turn out to be highly profitable!
• Invest in bull genetics: They will have the greatest genetic impact on the calves you will sell and on the bovine industry as a whole.
• Think about what you're feeding your cows and calves: Some fodder analyses, a diet plan and the right products at the right time based on sound recommendations are synonymous with more pounds per calf to sell for each cow you keep. Isn't this the purpose of the game?
• Liming and fertilizing: Too obvious for words!
This year, give yourself the means to achieve. Make the right decisions and reap the benefits.

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