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Animal Health Notebook

These questions and goals lead toward more profit

Some of the toughest questions you can ask yourself involve whether you really need to spend money on stuff.

In operations I have witnessed, the achievement of high annual ranch profitability come most often after the removal of the great majority of depreciating assets.

The most important part of success and profits lies between our ears. Making money requires a constant state of mind which is focused on all the facets of successfully staying in business and thoroughly enjoying what we are doing. High-quality meat production for ourselves and others is another positive, but to repeat one of my favorite quotes from a Canadian friend of Gordon Hazard, “High profits are sanity while high production and spending is vanity.”

Spending money often yields a short-term hormonal release and a psychological high that is quick-lived and followed by a period or season of depression. If the highs are high they are usually followed by lows that are really low. It reminds me of some Merle Haggard song lyrics: “I’m always on a mountain when I fall.”

Spending money is stressful. Uncontrolled stress is deadly. After the money is gone, it’s gone and we come to that realization shortly after it leaves. The result is not healthy and certainly not fun. There is much more longevity in the depression than there was in the joy of the spending event.

With few exceptions, award-winning, high-production beef producers exit agriculture within a few years after winning the contests. A few, very few, make near 100% goal changes and adapt a totally different outlook and execution of their operation. The focus must be on business success, family success, and our divine requirement to heal and better our land resource and our community. Broke people have little opportunity to help anything.

I am not here to set or dictate goals for others. I have enough challenges of my own. But remember that it often takes but a little poison to kill. Death might be fast or slow and painful; the end result is the same.

I like these 12 questions to help move toward smart money management.

1. Will the expenditure make real money for my family and business?
2. Will the acquisition increase my tax burden, insurance burden and maintenance requirements?
3. Am I allowing pride to affect my decision?
4. What will be the short- and long-term effect on my family and future generations?
5. Will there be positive or negative effects on my ranch lands and soils?
6. Have I questioned an independent consultant with a proven track record? Did I listen?
7. Will real profits actually increase in a sustainable manner or am I just creating another job?
8. Will the spending result in the cattle sharing an increased amount of the ranch work?
9. Will I enjoy life more?
10. Will I help other folks more?
11. Do my expectations of the end justify the means?
12. What did I forget to figure and questions?

There are many questions to answer if we are to earn the smart money and grow our business. We must make forward steps in soil health improvement, plant health and quantity. At the same time we should be improving animal health, animal numbers and profits per acre.

Very often, the answers to money spending must be "no." We have enough problems and stress in our lives without buying some more.

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