What am I not going to learn today?

What am I not going to learn today?

Recently, I attended a seminar for young dairy producers in Fort Worth, Texas. Before my presentation, I was eating breakfast with several young dairy producers and one asked me, “So, doc, what am I not going to learn from you today?”  A graduate of Oklahoma State University, this young dairyman was bright and posed an interesting question.  

I have never encountered a question worded quite this way before and it certainly provoked some thought. 

The first element of my response was that he will not learn from me any magic silver bullet for success in business. Too often, young attendees believe there is some magical solution that solves all problems and makes lots of money. 

While magic is not the answer, there are various logical and reasonable solutions that can correct issues and return profitable margins. Success in business takes considerable planning, execution and monitoring. In fact, making necessary adjustments throughout the year is the only way to position the business for long-term success and sustainability. 

Another item he will not learn from me is a “one size fits all” business model. No single business model can deliver success in any condition. In fact, one of the most attractive elements of agriculture is diversity. First, one must conduct a self-analysis to determine positive attributes and available resources. 

Coming from the academic community, I often see others attempt to develop the perfect model for success. While many business models share common production, management and marketing, and financial practices, the successful entrepreneur must be innovative, adjusting to individual situations and conditions.

Finally, he will not learn how to handle all the adversity which impacts the industry today. From regulations to faction groups, to government and environmental policies, it is impossible to control for all these variables. One must manage around these challenges and focus on the elements you actually can control.

I must say that it is fun working with the Millennial Generation. Their energy, ideas and creative thinking are contagious.  However, the most impressive element concerning this year’s participants in the Texas dairy seminar was their attention and engagement with the speakers and information presented. 

Producers, spouses and partners were in attendance and listening intently. There is much hope for the future of agriculture, particularly with inquisitive individuals like my friend, the Oklahoma State Cowboy.

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