Cave images just can’t compete with cell phone text
Insight into the cattle industry is keen, but, as a producer, the
ability to make use of that insight and convert that understanding to
real impact is critical. The American Angus Association sponsored an
effort to help categorize the many varied forms of producer managerial
thoughts to produce a document that would be an excellent starting point
for further discussion and understanding of the business we often simply
refer to as “beef.”
The initial outcome of that effort was the publication “Priorities
First: Identifying Management Priorities in the Commercial Cow-Calf
Business.” The document was summarized and authored by Tom Field, Ph.D.,
Fort Collins, CO. Field notes from the beginning that “for many cow-calf
producers, the information age has spawned a massive flow of data and
technical communications that borders on the unmanageable.”
The use of the term “borders” by Field may be a bit of an
understatement. Information overload is critical, often reaching total
The symptoms are not so evident. A common outcome of information
overload is disengagement, resulting in the lack of understanding,
utilization and incorporation of technology or managerial processes that
would improve the operation.
When this sort of overload happens, it is easy to return to the coffee
table and talk in terms of the past instead of the future. Life simply
goes on without change.
Not adjusting to change could, in fact, be perceived as a Neanderthal
attitude, which leads one to be misinformed, resistant to change and
perhaps somewhat stuck in the mud, much like the early cave dwellers.
But rest assured, even then information was passed on, even though it
may have been only a chiseled drawing on a remote cave wall.
Information overload has many functions, but never should be set aside
on the premise that enough is enough. For me, a real case in point
occurred when I went to add another line to our family’s cell phone
As the children grow, the norm is quickly becoming total cell phone
availability on a 24/7 basis, with no excuses. As the plan was reviewed,
a newer plan was available that included unlimited text messaging.
For those who don’t want to understand, have another cup of coffee, but
I should warn you, the newer generation can communicate from a 1-inch by
1-inch keypad faster than I can talk on the phone. If we are to stay
competitive, there better be someone on our side that is good at text
messaging, enjoys very hot, flavored coffees, but still can feed a cow.
So much for rambling. Field is right. We need to understand industry
priorities and develop a framework from which to build.
Not long ago, we had a good discussion involving the future of the
animal industry published in the “Choices” journal (Volume 21, No. 3,
2006). In that discussion, BeefTalk focused on cattle and the future.
Likewise, the publication “Priorities First” can serve as a similar
template to allow for the sharing and deciphering of the findings of the
group and use it as a means to keep moving.
The cave dwellings were good, the drawings not bad, either, but the
coffee was awful.
Today, the coffee certainly has improved,
but the drawings are not so simple. On top of that, if those hard,
callused hands can even hold a phone, getting one’s fingers to actually
hit only one cell phone key at a time is a miracle.
Yet, it makes no difference, it’s time. Enjoy the ride and look at some
of the priorities. See what the future really has to say. More later.