September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Three things great farms have in common

By Kelli [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Imagine you would like to create and sell the world's best cookies, and you would like to make money doing it.
You would go out and buy premium flour and sugar, the best quality you could get without breaking the bank. You would find the world's best chocolate chips to go into your cookies. You would use real vanilla, not the kind that you can buy for a buck at the local dollar store. You would make sure you had quality baking soda, and of course, you would use real, Grade A, butter, not icky margarine. You would use eggs from free-range chickens and you would make sure the oven was actually calibrated for the temperature it needed to be.
Once your production got to the point that you could not do it all yourself, you would hire someone who was an expert at baking cookies, someone who knew the difference between butter that was allowed to slowly become room temperature instead of being melted in the microwave (not that I personally know the difference; all I know is that real bakers say there is one).
You and your expert would not only take the time to analyze each batch of cookies to judge the taste, but he or she would be aware of the total cost, the cost per cookie and how the quality and costs of the different ingredients affected each batch.
You would trust the person you hired, but you would also keep an eye on quality and cost as well.
When it came time to market the cookies, you once again would hire someone who understood how to market your product. When it came to something this important, you would not trust your cousin who sold some magazines for a high school fundraiser once. You want an expert.
If everyone did their job well, from the person or company making your raw ingredients to the person selling your product, and you were making a cookie that the public loved, you could do very well at this and make a lot of money doing it.
In other words, you would look at the big picture and make sure everything was right. Using one crappy product or having one person who wasn't good at their job could bring down the entire operation.
I have visited literally hundreds of farms over the past nine years, and in almost every case, the most successful farms with the happy farmers had three things in common: 
The farmers loved what they were doing;
They surrounded themselves with experts who were good at their jobs; and 
They always, always looked at the big picture.
Good dairy nutrition means nothing without cow comfort, cow comfort means nothing without quality milking techniques, good milking techniques mean nothing without good herd health and round and round the circle goes.
There is no doubt everything is connected to everything else, and it is important to remember that everything affects everything around it. And, all of these elements and their connectedness impact your bottom line.
Different people have different talents, and the really, really smart people know what their limits are and bring in people who are good at the things they are not. I am quite sure someone as smart as Bill Gates still has to hire a plumber, and I, a person with a word-oriented mind, hire someone to do my taxes.
Just as it would be completely foolish to try to make the world's best cookies while using low-grade chocolate chips, or make your cookies in a lousy old mixer that didn't blend well, it is foolish to think a person can run a successful small business or dairy farm without looking at everything. And, for the areas that you are not a proficient in, find someone you can trust to make those decisions for you.
And maybe, even most importantly, do what you love and love what you do. Nothing else really matters without that. People with a passion for their lives will bring in the experts when needed, realize how everything is connected, and most importantly, they will spend most days with a smile on their face.[[In-content Ad]]


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