Oct 12, 2012
by WLJ

Do your homework!

It is more evident today that both our knowledge and our application of it is what separates the resulting success or failure. “Whoever acquires knowledge but does not practice it, is like one who ploughs a field but does not sow it,” anonymous.


Since the first of September, I’ve been to more than 30 auctions and the driving point at each of these has been clear: the homework must have been done! What I mean is that whoever is holding the sale must have marketed the event through advertising as well as personal contact to customers. The bull market has become drastically more competitive and will continue to be this way until the national cowherd reaches a more stable level. The shrunken cowherd has mandated fewer bulls needed; however, the shrunken supply of bulls, coupled with high beef prices, has driven sale averages upwards of 40 percent.

The higher beef prices have resulted in bull buyers having more capital to purchase the bulls they have wanted on traits, pedigrees or phenotype, rather than price. In other words, many of these buyers are coming to these auctions and choosing the bulls they prefer, rather than selecting on purchase price. A more selective commercial cattleman has driven seed stock suppliers to become more aware of customer service practices to ensure customer loyalty.

The seed stock producers are being held responsible for the product they are selling throughout the year in order to have a successful sale.

The driving trend for this fall’s sale season is that homework is extremely important. Even though the national cowherd is dealing with a record drought, if no customer service has been implemented into a program, success is not guaranteed. In no other year that I’ve witnessed has this been more evident.

The way that technology is used becomes an extension of your own knowledge in today’s world, and that can change the direction of your bottom line. Whether a person is using their ‘smart phone’ to connect with people or using social media and websites to promote their program, technology has supported an unquantifiable value. Both seed stock and commercial producers alike are now using these technologies to further advance their programs and stay connected with major issues facing our industry.

The availability to see how people are able to spread a message is amazing. Using the social media site Twitter, for example, a small Angus breeder in northern California named Jeff Fowle has over 52,000 people “following” his account and what he has to say about issues on a daily basis. I’m not saying that everyone needs to run out and join a social media site. I’m saying the capabilities in the technology create an opportunity to educate and promote ideas and programs.

This ability to get information as it is happening makes us all so much more aware of issues. As a news story breaks, people now have instant access to the most current news through the use of the internet and their phones. For example, I carry Apple’s iPhone 4. At any moment in time and location, I can check the current levels at the CME, then check in on my 7-month-old daughter through our baby monitor, follow sport scores, and check the news.

Last week in California, gas prices took a 60-cent surge because of a “shortage” at the wholesale level. My phone allowed me to check a map and find the cheapest gasoline! At the conclusion of every sale, I post the sale averages to my twitter account and share up to date information. It seems to me that the most basic thing I use my phone for is to actually call someone!

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do,” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

My point in all this is that we have the ability to connect with other people and share information. This ability is a valuable tool when it is used for the better. Whether a person is trying to market a bull sale or just spread a message, this technology affects the way our customers respond to our messages. How we use the information at hand is what defines the value of this technology.

Obviously, with the presidential election less than one month away, these issues are more relevant now than any time over the last four years. Every day, the messages between the major news stations aim at promoting their candidate of choice. Regardless of your political affiliation or preference, knowing the issues and voting on them as they are intended is one of the most valuable rights given to each citizen and I encourage everyone to vote! — LOGAN IPSEN