Riding Shotgun – Continuing Education

Riding Shotgun Caption
As we travel the highways and by-ways of the Limousin family and breed we often cuss and discuss the cattle business, sports, politics, great cheeseburgers and most of the time, the promotion and marketing of Limousin cattle.

Through “Riding Shotgun” we invite you to join us in the right-hand seat, so that we can let you in on what we find to be our marketing pet peeves, shortcuts and some of the favorite habits of top-flight professional producers. Grab a cup of coffee and take the ‘shotgun seat’—we are pleased to have you riding along.

As I sit and write this month’s trip down the highway, I’m in the middle of a “once every three years” saga in my insurance life, “Continuing Education”. This phenomenon is not limited to the insurance business; doctors, lawyers and a multitude of others are required to show they are ‘continuing their education’ to maintain their licenses and practice their professions. Some of the courses are great and well worth your time, some of the others are just time fillers (or killers) that fulfill your requirement list. It was in one of those classes that my mind wandered (do not tell my instructor) and I thought about continuing education as it relates to the farming and ranching business.

It seems to me, as stewards of the land, we are constantly in continuing education—new ideas about the business, new technologies and new efficiencies are introduced to us every day. The difference is that we are not required to adopt, adapt or even be informed about these new ways of doing business to continue, but to be successful, we must make an effort to learn.

One of the best things about agricultural people is they are willing to share and are open to helping others. If you see someone is doing something you wish to learn, you might find out they are more than open to sharing their ideas and knowledge. The problem is that most of us just want to have things done for us—we get intellectually lazy. “That’s the way we have always done it” is one of my biggest pet peeves, (next to NO farm sign). The way we have always done it is a good fall back, but that does not mean adopting a new way is wrong. Progress comes in many forms, don’t be afraid to move forward.

I too enjoy some of the traditions and nostalgia of the seedstock business. I grew up in the days where we turned out the new herd bulls and eagerly awaited the new calves from a set of half sisters that would raise the bulls for sale and the females to re-populate the herd. It worked fine and we made genetic progress, but it was and is slower. Then we started to AI, then transplant, now sexed semen, in-vitro and DNA rule the day.

To participate in the seedstock business today, I think you must be open to change and open to at least having a little “continuing education”. You do not have to accept (or adopt) every idea, but you should at least ponder the subject. You are not required to do it, but it has the opportunity to make your business not only more profitable but also more enjoyable. As one of my favorite NCIS characters says, “Go out and learn things.”

See ya down the road.


Mark A Smith
email: grgenetics@aol.com
phone: 515-229-5227