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Time For a Change Part 1

I have been reading all kinds of articles online about how the drought is affecting farmers and ranchers.  The last one I read was about a guy that I thought was top shelf.  Thing is I now realize I may have misjudged him.  I thought he was one of my kind.  I realize now he is, well, normal.  He stated that he didn’t know whether to be more upset at the weather or congress.  Weather because of the drought.  Congress because they broke for recess and didn’t give him a drought relief package.  “What the Hell!?”  Was my only thought.  The cattlemen’s association echoed his words.  Funny to me how we want government out of our business, then turn around and demand monetary assistance when in a bit of a tough spot.  You know  you should have a little cash saved up for a rainy day?  Guess what, it will rain.  So be prepared for it.  I have been asked dozens of times what I am doing to relieve the burdens of drought.  So I am finally going to share

When I came home and started farming with dad, we were hit with a drought a short time later.  I learned a lot from that experience.  First thing dad did was take me into the government office and sign me up for all their binding programs.  I went along with it.  I thought it was the thing to do.  He then took me to get crop insurance.  Again I thought it was the thing to do.  I worked the first two years as a glorified hired man.  I only got paid a little bit of money, only when dad sold some grain or some cattle.  I had to supplement my income off the farm still.  After two years I got to buy in to part of the operation, and some was through sweat equity (which I later found out to be worthless).

The great wonderful plan (plan being used loosely) was to expand the cow herd.  It was not my idea, but it was for my benefit.  So we kept every heifer calf, and ran them out on grass as yearlings.  Without a bull.  I had to feed those damn things all winter, fix pasture fence and turn them out without a bull?  Here is a group of cattle, for my benefit, and there will be no way to earn an income off them for a couple more years.  Yet somehow I am supposed to feed, and care for them.  With what?

That’s when the drought hit.  The cow/calf herd ate all their grass.  The yearlings ate all their grass.  We had hay fields that normally would produce 2.5 to 3 bales an acre.  That year they produced 1 bale to every 2.5 acres.

Now I gotta back up even further.  See cattle have never been a priority to my family.  You turn them out in the spring, when rain causes a planting delay.  Bring them home in the fall, after harvest.  Wean calves when the weather and moon sign are right.  Background the calves through the winter and sell them when its time to start doing spring field work.  Calve out the cows in the winter, Jan-April.  Got to have that done before spring field work.  And every day feed them.  Feed them hay, silage, tubs.  You name it we fed it.  We had some really nice top producing fat cows.

Now back to the drought year.  I had to get creative.  Hard to do when you are desperate.  I wanted to sell those damn yearlings.  But I was not allowed to.  So I had to feed them.  I had bale rings in every one of our pastures.  The government gave us disaster assistance in the form of tub vouchers, and emergency releasing CRP.  So that is what I did.  I baled CRP and wheat straw, and fed it to the cows on pasture, along with the tubs.

I can still see the damage that was done to some of those pastures today, 11 years later.  I spent a lot of time and resources taking care of those cows every day.  And we had multiple pastures.  Part of my routine was pulling cattle out of the mud, when they tried to get to the pond to get a drink.  They would get stuck, get tired from fighting and eventually go down.

Shit man!  It was time for a change.

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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Screwed Up Tape

As I write this this morning, I am just amazed at people.  I have been busy haying, (I got my hands on acres and acres of CRP) and preparing for the speech I was asked to give, which was on Tuesday.  I have still been watching Facebook and Twitter.  The thing that amazes me is how people are so wound up over this drought, and this morning I guess there is some meaningless report that is going to make the markets go crazy.  Let me share this quote from Bud Williams “The best way to alleviate the pressures of drought is sound marketing skill.”

EVERYBODY KNOWS how to market cattle (huge emphasis on sarcasm).  Yeah right.  That is why we are hearing the guy next to us brag about how rough he has is and he can’t pay his bills.  Or we see it all over social media that farmers need drought assistance, and livestock producers need even more of it.  What the hell happened to all the record profits that everyone SHOULD have made last year?  They spent it.  I see all kinds of new pickups at the sale barn this year.  These guys sold $1000 calves right off the cow last year and this year they are selling $500 and $600 calves, weaned!  Funny to me how everyone is broke.  I read yesterday that last year farmers invested more money back into their businesses than ever before.  Almost 25% of that investment was in livestock.  I was just stunned how people were paying such high premiums for breeding stock.  $2200 bred heifers is not sound marketing skill unless you are the seller.  But cattlefax and all the cattlemen associations were predicting higher prices and we needed to “Get cowed up”  Today those heifers are worth $900 bucks, and people can’t afford to feed them.  Here’s a tip.  Never listen to any cattlemen’s association, or cattlefax on marketing predictions.  Here is another one.  After such a great year, like 2011, expenses will always rise to meet available income.  So resist the temptation to avoid the tax man by buying this and that, that you’d like to have.

As far as wanting some assistance from the government.  Why do farmers hate the free market system so bad?  People always say they don’t want the government in their business, but when the shit hits the fan, they cry like a little bitch for uncle sam  to help.  PU LEEZE!  I also notice that most of my farmer friends post stuff on Facebook like “If you can afford tattoos, cigarettes and beer, then you do not need foodstamps”  or “welfare recipients should be mandatorily drug tested”.  Get in line.  If you can afford a new pickup, and $2200 heifers then you don’t need drought assistance.  If you get your government bailout then maybe you should be drug tested to.  I mean the way people spent money the last year due to record prices only tells me  they had to be high  on something.

So how screwed up are things right now?  I don’t notice very many people taking advantage of the wonderful buys in the sale barns right now.   We see various operations all over the country get cork screwed into the ground  by people with animal science degrees.  They have the ag-econ 101 mindset of buy low sell high.  Hello!  Why aren’t you buying?  Oh yeah.  That meaningless report.  Here’s another tip.  Like produces like.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Give Me No LIP

I wrote this two years ago after the House passed obamacare.  Several blog sites refused to post it.  Even NCBA’s Cattle Call would not post it.  It did get posted on one ot the most frequently read web blogs on the planet, Ann Barnhardt at barnhardt.biz posted it.  After reading it again this morning, I would probably edit it or use different words in places.  I am just going to post the origional instead.  The ideals are still the same.  Enjoy the “Forbidin Blog”

Give Me no LIP

April 2010

 

Great nations rise and fall.  The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, liberty leads to abundance then to selfishness, selfishness leads to complacency right into apathy, apathy leads to dependence, and dependence leads us right back into bondage.  Recently the house passed the Health Care bill.  I never thought I’d ever see anything like this.  I am absolutely appalled by this action.  Some people think this took us into the dependence stage.  I feel we were already there,  farm subsidies, bank bail outs, automaker bail outs, all forms of socialism, the house vote on health care just solidified it.

A lot of my friends are wondering how this happened.  Freedom caused it.  That’s right.  Freedom gives us the ability to be as successful as we want to be.  On the other side of the coin, it gives us the right to be stupid.  Freedom takes work and intellect to maintain.  The case with a lot of people, instead of working to over come a problem they want the government to help.  The government is more than willing to help.  That help usually has two costs.  1) is the cost to the tax payer  2) is the laws, stipulations, or mandates that follow.  The reason we get from the government for doing this is, as they say, “so this won’t  happen again”.

Social justice is a concept some people use to describe the movement towards a socially just world.  In this context social justice is based on the concept of equality and involves a greater degree of of economic egalitarianism (the founding principle for socialism and cooperative economic organization) through progressive taxation, income redistribution, and even property distribution.  This can only be achieved by making changes to existing wealth and power structures.  These policies are spun as a creator of equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.    One of the democratic reps used this in her debate, “because we are equally free born then it means we are absolutely equal”. Now this concept is impossible to reach.  People will never have equal output for their inputs, even if their inputs are equal.  This is fundamentally impossible because we all have different talents and gifts.  Some can learn quicker, some are more creative.  They find success easier.  So people that have a more difficult time get resentful and jealous.  Under social justice, they can get a piece of what the other guy earned through his efforts.  This will make them happy for two reasons 1) they get something without earning it 2) it brings the other guy down and keeps him from gaining to much momentum.

In my opinion when Americans say they prefer social justice. They are saying they would rather be led and fed by the state than be free.  They are comfortable with the state having control over their personal decisions because a cap on success is worth having a cap on failure.  And lets face it, people are more apt to fail than succeed.  If someone is going to fail they sure don’t want the other guy to have to much success.  So capping his success sounds like a good idea to them. Success takes work and commitment.  But what is failure?  Henry Ford said “failure is an opportunity to start over, only next time your wiser.”

I have sat in a bunch of meetings with cattlemen from all over the country.  I always get a bang out of how we pound our chests and claim to be capitalists.  A quick search of EWG’s data base, would suggest otherwise.  Livestock Indemnification Programs, and Equip are socialists programs.  These programs, in my opinion, are set up to reward you for doing the wrong things.  LIP, will reimburse you for livestock losses.  We are not supposed to let our cattle die.  I went through the same heat last summer that everyone else here did.  I didn’t lose any cattle.  I went through the same blizzards that everyone else here did.  Again, I didn’t lose any cattle.  Yet the buzz at the auction barns is a lot of guys are hoping they get approved for LIP.  I met a guy once that said programs like these only keep the bad producers in business.

I was really shocked when my accountant was so surprised to see I had insurance on my livestock.  Insuring your belongings is the responsible thing to do.  I scratch my head when people don’t insure their  cattle, but think the government should help when things go wrong.  And we all know things will go wrong once in a while.  If you won’t protect yourself why should someone else be expected to do it?

Protecting yourself and risk management should be part of everyone’s business model.  If people keep relying on the government to bail them out, they should expect the government to tell them what to do.  Proverbs teaches us that “the borrower is servant to the lender”.

The other option that is out there is my buddy Travis’ idea.  Let those producers fail so guys like us can buy them out, instead of using our tax dollars to bail them out.  This would save on government spending and it should lighten the tax burden.  This would support a sustainable business model that when allowed to grow freely will begin to create jobs.

Just chew on this.  Health care represents over 1/6of the economy and affects everyone of us.  Just imagine how easily the government could take over agriculture since we represent less than 2% of the population.  Could you imagine the government telling us how many acres to plant to beans  or corn?  When to sell our cattle, or telling us how much money we are going to make?  That might sound a little radical, but it’s not to far fetched.  Be sovereign

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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