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Things I've Learned Along the Way

Self-Care & Wellness for Farmers

There are so many things going on in the cattle industry right now, and every single one of them is a concern whether it be markets, weather, regulations, politics, and the list goes on and on.

I’ve been a member of associations as long as I can remember. I’ve also worked my way up the volunteer chain on the state and national level. I have learned a lot over the years and every lesson has made me better in how not only I share with others, but in how I can help others in the industry.

Our state cattle association held their Mid-Year meetings the second week of June. There was a great speech from the 2020 Hall of Fame Inductee that gave some great advice ‘Do not ever come with a problem, unless you are prepared to offer a solution.’ I think that with so much going on in agricultural nowadays and the bickering that we find ourselves constantly in on social media, sometimes we need to look back and maybe start at the beginning with some of the lessons that I have learned along the way. 

  1. ‘Do not ever come with a problem, unless you are prepared to offer a solution.’ I should side note on this one that it needs to be a reasonable solution that is attainable. It is no shock to anyone if I mention markets right now. I’ve seen some really interesting comments on how to solve the challenging market situation-everything from closing down all of the processors to taking away the Beef Checkoff. Let me ask you to think about something-if you close down the processors how will that help the markets when you have no place to harvest cattle-maybe I’m being blonde and all of you know how to cut a flatiron in your backyard-but I sure the heck don’t. The second part of the question is why would you take away the marketing arm of our product- when beef consumption is on the rise-which is what the Checkoff is supposed to do? It does not matter the industry or the concern. If you have an ‘issue’ with a topic, try to find a solution instead of wasting yours and everyone else’s time complaining about it. 
  2. ‘Think outside the box.’ I love the U.S. Beef Industry don’t get me wrong-but, something really stuck out for me this last week. We made history on June 7th as surgically implanted a group of feedlot steers with Bluetooth sensors and tokenized them. The sensors are from Australia. I had a zoom call this last week with a data collection cattle program. It was founded in Australia. I sat through a presentation in the animal health committee at Midyear listening to a presentation about methane reduction-that was done in Australia. With the traceability stuff that is going on at the ranch right now, my email box has been full of zoom requests or in person meetings this last week, most of which are companies that were founded in a country that was not the United States. Don’t get so preoccupied with trying to tear down any industry or associations in our own country that before you know it we are having to play years of catch up to our foreign competitors. 
  3. ‘We don’t have to agree.’ One of the biggest lessons I learned was when I was serving on a state board fresh out of college. Every vote that was taken was unanimous. One meeting, there was a gentleman, that did not vote with the rest. I went up to him in the hallway after the meeting and asked why he didn’t vote in favor? His response was ‘you are the only person that has asked me that-thank you.’ It changed my outlook on every meeting I sat in from there on out. We don’t have to agree, but you can disagree respectfully, and maybe learn something in the process.
  4. ‘Ride for the Brand.’ Yes, there are people or groups that do stupid things. I have been among them a time or two, or in all honesty probably more than that. The saddest thing that I see is when people, especially younger generations tear apart groups that have years of wisdom and knowledge. It’s petty, it’s sad, and it’s not being a role model for others. Instead focus on finding solutions to problems, teach others how to get into their respective industry, share ideas and thoughts, and maybe agriculture will survive the challenging times. We don’t constantly need to tear each other apart, because by doing so we will be able to destroy ourselves and agriculture faster than any regulation or market will.

Hopefully, this will get your thought processes rolling, because at the end of the day we have a pretty important job-and that’s to feed the world. 


Jaclyn Wilson

Wilson Ranch/Flying Diamond Beef

Lakeside, NE

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