glance, the term “herd quitter” seems to have a negative
connotation. No one wants to be a quitter — but wait a minute… it
depends on what you are quitting. For example, after chewing Copenhagen
for twenty-three years, I quit in 1993. That was a good thing!
There are things that we should quit. Therefore, being a quitter
is not always bad.
the term “herd quitter” to refer to people who have
enough courage to break away from the status-quo, herd-mentality
way of thinking. Following the crowd and doing what everyone else
is doing is seldom the best way to manage your business. In fact,
it may be the absolute worst way to manage your business. If you’re
doing what everyone else is doing, you will never have a competitive
advantage. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, it
will be very difficult for you to compete — especially when
the economy takes a downturn.
if you will, a herd of cows. Cows, for the most part, are social
animals. They like to be a part of a herd. It gives them a sense
of comfort and security that they don’t have when they are
alone. When cows move, they almost always move as a herd — whether
they are being pushed or moving on their own. Once a herd has movement,
it is very difficult to stop or turn. It develops a mind of its
own. I refer to this as “herd mentality”. The only
individual thinking that takes place is done by a few of the more
wary animals who are always on the outside edges of the herd.
If the cowherd
is headed toward hidden danger of some sort, there is very little
chance that it can be averted. The entire herd will be in trouble
before anyone knows it. The only ones that will be able to avoid
the danger will be the individual thinkers on the outside edges
of the herd. These are the herd quitters. Rather than follow the
herd into danger, they will break away from the herd. The herd
quitters, no doubt, will be chided by other herd members for leaving
the herd and for taking a different path — but in the end,
the rest of the herd will wish they had followed the herd quitters.
and more ranchers are becoming herd quitters — and none too
soon. They have quit following the conventional, status-quo herd
of high-input, unsustainable agriculture. They have quit following
outdated traditions. They have quit focusing their entire program
on increasing weaning weights (and cow size). They believe that
agriculture must be both profitable and enjoyable to be sustainable.
They believe ranchers are in the business of converting free solar
energy into a great-tasting, high-protein food product — and
if properly done, the cow will do nearly all of the work for them.
They believe ranching is a great way of life — and they are
excited about the future!
to be Different! Dare to be a herd-quitter! You can
no longer afford to be a part of the outdated, status-quo beef
industry. Even though the writing is on the wall and it isn’t
that difficult to read and understand, most producers will not
change until they are forced to change. Allan Nation, editor
of the Stockman GrassFarmer, once told me, “Most people
would rather fail conventionally than succeed unconventionally.” Sad… but
true. Most people hate change. They are afraid to break away
from the herd.
someone needs to start a support group for Herd Quitters (Hi, I’m
Kit — and I am a herd quitter). That way we will know that
we are not alone. We will be able to encourage and support one
another as we endeavor to replace old, outdated paradigms. Folks,
as long as we know we are on the right path, it doesn’t matter
what everyone else is saying and doing. So what if they criticize
and poke fun at us? We need to maintain our focus on building a
fun, profitable and sustainable model for beef production.
will be giving away Herd Quitter
window / bumper stickers at our Spring Bull Sale.