I have been with UGA Extension for 15 years and in that time, I have had the opportunity to travel and visit with cattlemen from around the state and country. Large or small, the successful producers all have a few things in common, but probably not the things you are thinking of. Certainly, inherited land, an abundance of financial resources, and good cattle makes farming easier, but there are more important traits and habits that really lead to the success of a cattle operation. These are things that my family and I try to instill on our own operation and I hope that you will to.
1. Hustle – Successful cattle operations get things done efficiently. Are you making the most of the hours in a day and the resources that are available? Exploring new and innovative ways to doing tasks open up possibilities that might not have existed before. Thinking outside the box and not being afraid to take risks just because that’s not way its always been done.
2. Passion – There’s no doubt — the cattle business isn’t for the faint of heart. The risk, time commitment, market swings, weather—all are factors to make this a challenging industry to be a part of. When the going gets tough, remind yourself why you’re so passionate about this business/lifestyle in the first place. What do you love about cattle production? Is it the work outside? Setting your own schedule? Watching your herd grow and genetics improve? Focus on the positives and the tough parts of the job won’t seem so bad.
3. Goals – Have you set short and long-term goals for the farm? Make it a habit to regularly review your one-year, five-year and 10-year plans to ensure that you’re constantly striving for something. Make goals attainable and realistic, but don’t forget to dream big, as well. Be sure to celebrate the little milestones along the way, too, as you make progress on your long-term goals.
4. Continued education – Lastly, but certainly not least, learning shouldn’t stop once your school days are over. Take advantage of educational opportunities as they arise. Whether it’s reading cattle industry magazines, taking an Extension course, attending a cattlemen’s meeting, or simply visiting with a respected mentor, there are many ways to continue learning, growing and expanding your knowledge in the cattle business.
There is one such opportunity coming up, right here in Madison and Oglethorpe Counties. The Georgia Master Cattleman’s program is a beef cattle producer education program developed jointly through the University of Georgia and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. Topics covered during the classes will include nutrition, forages, herd health, reproduction, economics/marketing, meat science, beef quality assurance, parasites, facilities, sire selection and record keeping. Speakers will include UGA Extension specialists and beef industry representatives from every area of beef cattle production. The program lasts 8 weeks and meets on Monday evenings September 13-November 1 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. The sessions will meet in both Madison and Oglethorpe Counties. Registration is $100 and includes all program materials, a GA Beef hat, snacks at sessions, dinner at the graduation session, program certificate and BQA Certification. Registration is due by September 3. For registration forms and information, you can visit our website at https://extension.uga.edu/county-offices/madison.html or contact out office at 706-795-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.