Monday, March 28, 2011

Substituting Management for Money

"I was putting more money at risk every year than the potential for profit justified. Any time that you have to come out of pocket with cash in an agricultural situation--almost any situation I can think of but in agriculture it's particularly true because we have control of such a small portion of the factors that affect us--we can't control the market, we can't control the weather, we can't control the political situation--the one thing that we can control is what we spend."

"Modern agriculture is maybe 60 years old--I saw the first nitrogen fertilizer I remember in 1950, maybe 1951... modern agriculture all goes back to nitrogen fertilizer. During that time of modern agriculture we have degraded our soils, we have degraded our food chain, or our people, and we have degraded the financial and mental health of our producers."

"The better job I did of conforming to what the prevaling wisdom said was good management the worse shape I got in financially. I didn't get back into good shape financially until I realized that it's all out there. All you have to do is tailor your management to your environment, and substite management for money."

"It comes back to observation; if you put your finger on it, it comes back to being able to actually see what you're looking at. I think that takes a certain amount of experience, but also it's very easily learned. In my consulting work, the people that pick up fastest on it are women--gals that have no agricultural background whatsoever, but you go on a pasture walk with them and right quick they get it, they understand what we're looking for. They're used to dealing in detail? I don't know, I don't know what the reason is, but I think a part of it is they're not afraid to say I don't know, show me, and a lot of those old boys, well, they'd be burnt with hot irons before they'd admit they didn't understand it."
From this interview with Rancher and Holistic Management Practitioner Walt Davis from

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