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Lessons From the Gridiron

This time of year in Nebraska, and probably every where else, conversations always seem to turn to football.  I like the game just as much as the next guy.  I will sometimes listen to the sports nightly shows.  If I’m busy on a Saturday, I have a friend text me updates from the Husker game.   I am now at an age where I have friends whose sons play high school football so I kinda try to keep up with that too.

Now as much as I like the game, I often times think we put to much emphasis on sports in our society.  If  you don’t read this post all the way to the end, at the conclusion I still think we place to much emphasis on sports.  Thing is, I had a conversation with a buddy of mine recently that made me take pause and reexamine that stance.

My friend and I are on opposite ends of the athletic spectrum.  He had talent and ability, I had none.  So our stories differ.

I’ll start with my experience.  My sophomore and junior years in high school I didn’t get to play much at all.  I was in a cast both years before school started so I missed out on most all the season, due to healing and rehab.  I went to all the practices, and games.  Watched it all from the sidelines, while wanting to play, regretting what happened to me to keep me on the sidelines.

My senior year I was healthy, and in good shape.  I loved it.  Everything from the conditioning and especially the hitting.  One big problem though.  I was kind of a small kid, so the underclassmen were about the same size as me, had just as much experience, and were a bit more athletic.  When the season started I got to start on offense and the underclassmen got to start on defense, and we alternated series on either side of the ball.  Our team sucked, I’m not sure if we even won a game that year, so the underclassman got more playing time.  I didn’t like it, it sucked.  But hey, it’s a fact of life

A few games into the season, at a home game no less, they introduced the starting D.  I got to stand there as all my classmates ran on the field when their name was announced.  I got to stand there when the sophomore that I was sharing time with got to run on the field when his name was announced  as well.  Things changed in that game.  Some time during the first half I was playing both ways.  During the second half I never got pulled off the field.

Being from a small town I know how things are.  After the game I took my time leaving the locker room that night, to let the other kids bug out.  I went into coach’s office and asked him if the only reason I was playing was because I was a senior.  He told me I was the only player who gave him 100 during practice and 100 during the games, no matter how bad we were getting our ass whooped.  He pointed out that during the games I miss a few of my assignments, but I never stopped.  If your jersey wasn’t the same color as mine, I was gonna hit you

What I heard was I would never spend another second on the sideline the rest of the year.  All I had to do was give 100 every day.  No matter how much I hurt, how tired I was, or how many times I was gonna puke, 100% every time meant 0% on the sidelines.

My buddy went on to play college ball at a small college.  He had some success there.  One summer he was home.  He’d been working out at the high school gym like a Beast.  Never in his life had he been bigger or stronger.  He was also working physical labor jobs, in the summer heat.  He, like any other kid from Nebraska had a dream of playing for the Huskers.  His plan was to try to be a Walk On.  I never knew that was the goal until just recently.  Here is the disgusting part.  He told some of the local fucktards his goal.  They made fun of him constantly.  They told him all the reasons he couldn’t accomplish it.  Like any of them had a clue.  Problem is, he listened to them.  All those hours of sweat and pain in the gym, eating the right foods, out the window.

He told me just about every time he sees the Husker tunnel walk he puts his head in his hands and tears up.  He will never ever never, know if he could have made it.  You shoulda heard the pain, the regret,  in his voice

Him and I learned quite a bit from the grid iron.

Giving 100 has its rewards.  Nobody regrets doing their best

Quitting lasts forever

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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Action

I’m not really sure how it happened, but I get quite a few people contact me for advice.  Not just about cattle either.  I have a few that are chronic callers.  They call me A LOT, and never do anything.  They never buy any cattle to get started.  They never pull the trigger to start that great business idea they have.  They just call me and run idea of the week by me.  Some numbers are programed into my phone so I know not to answer.

I asked one of them this question this last weekend.  “Do you ever just get tired of talking about it?”  I got a bit of awkward  silence.

Seriously people, at what time to you just get sick and tired of talking about it.  When I was a kid all I wanted to do was ride bulls and raise cattle.  I didn’t just talk about it, I went and did it.   The world we live in is about action.  Thing is, if you know where you are going, and prove you can get things done, the world has a way of making a path to your door.  If all you do is talk about it the world has a way of beating you down.

I have many ideas why people probably never get started.  I’ll discuss three here

First is the fear of success.  That’s right.  Some people have been broke for so long they just can’t imagine anything else.  Success would push them out of their comfort zone.  Having success first means you will have to finish things you start.  You will have to become a person of action.  This will bring new responsibilities.  When you begin to make money and build equity your current group of broke thinking friends will push you out of their group.  New opportunities will come your way, and at first that is weird.

Second is the fear of failure.  I don’t need to spend much time here.  We all know this fear.  These are the guys in the coffee shops I have blogged about before.  The ones that sit there and brag about how their life could have turned out different if they took that one shot.  I guess there must be some value in having the opportunity to tell that story.  Maybe we all heard them tell is so many times, or we hear it from loved ones like grandparents or our parents that we have concluded that is where the bar is set?  Just yesterday I was driving down the road and I was thinking of how I used to make fun of mediocre, and found myself wishing people would at least strive to be mediocre today.  Yes I think we’ve sunk that far.  After reading everybody’s thankful lists on Facebook, and seeing/hearing about the black Friday chaos, yes we have become a society of degenerates.

Third.  We do not love small.  I wish I had a nickel for every time I told someone to keep working that job in town, and go buy twenty head of cattle to get started.  Live off your job and reinvest profits from the cattle to expand your herd, only to have that person scoff at me.  “I can’t make a living off 20 head.”   I sat at a town hall meeting this summer with our Congressman and heard a kid in his early 20’s tell our rep what a joke the beginning farmer programs are.  He can’t get enough money to buy land and machinery, and make a decent living.  I gave that kid an earful.  (talking like that makes you a kid.  His classmates that came from nothing had to join the armed forces.  We call them men/women)  If we gave this kid $1,000,000 to start a farming operation, my guess is he’d be out of business in 10 years, and probably declare bankruptcy on 1.5 million.   If he can’t make it work as a small part time gig, what the hell makes him think he can make it full time?  I started with 20 head.  Built up from there.  It took 10 years to become a full time occupation for me.  Big operations don’t just happen over night for most of us.  They start small, and grow.  Think about it.  It took your parents/grandparents a lifetime to get to where they are.

If and when you decide to try you will have failures, and successes.  That is ok.  We all need to get our nose bloodied once in a while.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Its Already a Trend

Give this article a quick read.

 

http://www.salina.com/news/story/haysfeedersclosefull

 

Now I don’t usually write a blog post and put it up right away.  I usually wait a day or two and reread it, before posting and I try to put some thought into them.  This article is almost a perfect reflection of what I talked about in my last blog

I wanna quickly go over some of the points that were brought up.  First they said this is not a trend.  This summer the big feedlot in the county where I live told the local paper,  that they would close if it stayed dry and input prices stayed high.  I drove by that yard two days ago.  They had pens that never had cattle in them this summer, and you could see they had shipped some cattle out of other pens sometime in the last week or two.   Time will tell if they repopulate.  Will this be a trend?  I talk to a lot of order buyers and feedlot owners weekly.  Their greatest concern is if they will be able to find replacement feeders in the near future.  We saw so many calves come to town already this summer  that normally come in the fall, and winter months.  For now it sounds like the bunk space is filled.  And there was the mention of supply lag in heifer retention.  That is a good point.  Right now I know of a lot of people who sold their steers and are hanging on to their heifers to see what happens.   There was the mention of  “do we need all that bunk space?”  I read a cattlefax article a couple years ago that said back then that we had 25% more bunk space than we had cattle!  After the blizzards of 09/10 and the drought of 11/12 taking a huge toll on cow numbers I can’t imagine how over build the feeding sector is today.

If you are new to what I write you are about to find out I continually harp about skill.  The number one factor in profitability is marketing skill.  In the article he blames the drought for high input prices.   Go back several years with me here.  When fuel hit $3 for the first time I heard people in the salebarns whining that it would put them out of business.  I made the retort that if $3 fuel was going to force them out they were already out the door they just didn’t know it yet.  Funny how a guy in his late 20’s was right.  Those producers still have cattle on the yard today, thing is they went broke and now are a grower yard for some big feedlot.  So here is why I bring that up.  There is a quote in there that says “We ship cattle from dry areas to wet”.  Yes we do.  With fuel at well over $4 where I live transportation is still cheap, compared to geographical spreads.  I buy cattle in different areas.  Sometimes a couple states away from here.  I can get them home for $20/head.  Thing is I bought them for $10 to $40 a hundred cheaper than I can buy them locally.  I can pay the driver  $500 to $2000 depending on how far he has to ship them and on a 50,000# to 56,000# load just look at how much money I saved!  They said they were going to wait until the economics improved.  It looks pretty good to me

I can just hear you now “Not so fast my friend.  What about the drought raising the price of corn?”  Corn is not the biggest input.  You can not do anything about the price of corn.  If you buy an 8 weight steer you will need to feed on 550# to get him to finish, roughly.  Here’s a quick rule of thumb I use and it’s usually pretty accurate.  Take the price of corn per bushel and divide it by 5.6 and you will be close to the cost of gain in a custom yard.  So today that would be around $725 per steer.  But an 8 weight steer will cost you around $1100 to buy.  Funny thing a 1000# steer also costs $1100/head.  Just to be sure my point is clear.  We can’t do anything about the price of corn or fuel.  We can control how much we spend on replacement animals and the type of animals we buy.

Look how much money we just saved by buying the right animals!  That’s marketing.  We don’t need to wait for economics to improve.  The markets are blessing us with opportunities to profit right now!

Because this yard lacks the proper marketing skills their employees are forced to move or find other jobs.  Not to mention the impact this will have on the local community.  There will be millions of dollars that will leave the area.  I’m talking everything from the fuel they buy, supplies, parts, payroll, meals, feed, taxes, and the list goes on and on.

They said they are going to remain competitive even in a drought.  When you close the gates and step off the playing field that is a forfeit.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Its Up to You

It has been quite a while since my last post.  This is a busy time of year for everyone involved in agriculture and I am county co-chair for a U.S. Senate campaign.  If I didn’t have cattle to look at and feed every day I would most certainly lose my sanity.

The popularity of this blog skyrocketed after I posted “Let It Burn”.  That blog was even printed off and posted in one of the barns where I buy cattle.   I had people come up to me while I was on a buy cycle in different sale barns, and tell me that they like my blog and they refer their friends to this page.   I want to take just a moment to reemphasize my main goal for this blog.  I want to get you to think.  I don’t expect you to agree with everything I write, nor will you disagree with everything either.  I will not, can not,  draw you a road map.  I can only tell you things I have learned and applied.  The rest is up to you.

I did some public speaking this summer.  I had people at every stop ask me if I ever speak to young people?  I try.  That is the audience I want to be in front of.  Thing is I never get asked to come to a college or high school.  Probably because I will tell those youngsters something completely different than what their instructors tell them.  Their teachers must be doing a poor job to.  I have talked to dozens of young people recently that just don’t think they can make it in agriculture.  They think they are destined to fail if they try.

Jim Rogers, a legendary investor, says two things that I bring up all the time to people.  One is this, the average age of a farmer is getting old.  We have a growing population and we will need someone to replace the old farmers and feed this growing world.  He says that farmers will be driving the Maserati’s and investment bankers will be driving broke down gas guzzlers.   He thinks agriculture has an extremely bright future.

This Maserati would cost about 150K

 

I have had people tell me time and time again all the reasons they can’t do something.  They already know all the reasons they will fail.  Here’s the funny part.  The kid from Nebraska thinks he’s gonna fail for the same reason the kid from Tennessee thinks he’s gonna fail, they both give me the same reasons the kid from Texas gave me.  We are teaching all the wrong things the way I see it.  I tell these kids all the time I have more confidence in them than they have in themselves.

They shrug me off when I tell them that.  I get some mumblings about their last name, or education, no money,  to risky, not wanting to work as hard as the old man.  Let me put a little perspective here.  You are reading this blog for a reason.  Here’s the thing.  When I graduated high school one of my teachers came up to my mom and told her that he didn’t think I’d live long enough to graduate.  I dropped out of community college.  And yet I know all the reasons you can succeed.

I can tell you why you will fail.  One is you have not learned to control you emotions.  Mainly fear.  Let me define fear.  It is an acronym F.E.A.R.  False Evidence Appearing Real.  It’s all those reasons you give me for thinking you can’t do it.  All those reasons are total bullshit.  I can debunk every excuse you give me, if you would only listen to me.  Now ask yourself, where are you getting all this False Evidence?  Your teachers, your loser friends, even your girl/boyfriend, the free be publications you read.  You are trying to learn from the wrong people.  I have said this time and time again.  I wanted to be the best so I went and learned from the best.  It cost me time and money.  I had to travel to find the best and learn from them.  And now it has paid off.  It took over a decade.  This is a crock pot, not a microwave.  And I am still learning.

The second reason so many of you fail, is because you never tried.  So many of you have told me you want to do something.  Raise cattle, farm, start your own business of some other kind.  I ask you what have you done to start?  How many cattle do you have?  What is in your garage/living room?  Are you working on starting?  Most of you tell me you have done nothing because of some reason or another which goes back to F.E.A.R.  Guys you can’t succeed unless you start.  You gotta try.  Now think about this for a second.  You read this blog, you tell me you haven’t started yet!?  You are a “Rope Skipper”.  ( https://mrcattlemaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/rope-skippers/) There is one reader that pulled the trigger and bought a handful of Herford heifers this year.  Now many of you will say “Big deal.  You can’t make a living off a few heifers”.   You would be right.  You can’t make a living off a few heifers.  And it is a big deal.  That young couple is way ahead of the rest of you who are to chickenshit to get started.  They overcame the fear.  They invested in their future.  And most important they are not wasting time. ( http://thecattlecall.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/quit-wasting-time/ )

I’m going to wrap up here.  Now you have all heard that you are what you think about.  I have heard so many reasons, like I’ve said, about different short comings.  Put those thoughts aside, and take some time to think about your strengths.  What are you going to do to learn to compensate for your weaknesses?  Do you have specific goals?  You are your own greatest asset.  What are you doing with yourself and your time?

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Presidents Day, NOT

Today is president’s day.  I often wonder why we observe such a pointless day.  I have always thought the point of being president was to lead the nation to a better life.  I fail to see how millions of people taking a day off is going to help in our ability to produce.  I especially do not get observing president’s day right now, when we are living during a period of one of the worst presidents in history.

I see posts of total lies on Facebook from time to time about how Obama has done all these great things for the country.  If those brainwashed college students only had a clue.  I know where they get their information and I know all their arguments before they even make them.  They are like little robots running the program that has been built into them.  I wonder why they never question their programmer.  They tell me they have an open mind and encourage me to have the same open mindedness.  I laugh at them, I am objective.

The number of people living in deep poverty has exploded during obama’s term.  Today 50 million Americans live below the poverty line.  The price of gas has risen 83% since he took office.  If you are the working poor how do you afford the gas to get to work and feed your children?  You don’t.  Every day over 1 million children in America go to bed hungry.  So many of my braindead liberal friends hail obamacare.  Hey guys, the stuff you are so pumped about doesn’t take affect until 2014.  See that is after the 2012 election.  That way you will not know how bad it really is and Obama will have a chance of getting reelected.  If is was in affect now, he would have no chance.  Until 2014 enjoy the frontloading of that bill (the new taxes, fines, and penalties)  Oh but he saved Detroit and the auto industry.  If that is so why is the average home value in Detroit only $6000 (only one third what it was a few years ago), and the city looks like Lebanon?  Obama is president at a time of the demise of manufacturing in America and yet he wanted to pass Cap and Trade.  This only shows he is incompetent.  Back to obamacare.  Do you remember how he refused to meet with his military advisors until he had a health care bill to sign?  In the mean time our troops were coming home in body bags.  The title is commander and chief.  Why does he not get that?  Why do those of you who support him not get this?  And for those of you who support the Wall Street reform, First I bet you don’t even know the name of the bill.  Number two you better  never have the hope or dream of owning your own business.  That bill will make it next to impossible for you to do it without government involvement.   Oh and I love this line, “We can’t leave raising children up to the parents”  And who could forget the world apology tour?  That is not a presidential thing to do.   Also don’t you dare own any guns, pay cash for anything, or have seven days of food in your home.  Under one of the more recent bills Obama signed this makes you a terrorist.  One last thing.  For those of you who think Obama got Bin Laden.  I doubt it.  First Bin Laden was sick and I doubt he survived.  Number two, isn’t it a bit funny that everyone who was involved in killing him is now also dead?

The only person who can take today off and increase his productivity is Obama.  The rest of you should not observe president’s day and go to work.  My wife has the day off and she is heading to the office this morning.  I’m proud of her.

We have had some great Presidents that deserve to be recognized.  You do not honor those men by electing someone like Obama who has dismantled so much of what they accomplished.  Next time around lets elect someone who will honor those great men.

I wish I could tell you where this photo came from, I do not know

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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