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JHL - COW Talk For the COW Person

One Perspective of the Cattle Industry

We live in a corporate America. Corporations own the news media we watch, listen to and read. They are the advertisers, the brand names that we live with day-to-day. The American public has been raised in this environment.

This corporate culture is in stark contrast the majority of the people involved in the cattle business - the producers.

Another distinction is between the type of management decisions required in cattle production compared to most of the other protein providers who can operate within controlled environments (like industrial America) and those in other industries as well. An article from The Stockman Grass Farmer (5/01) states these differences well:

"…it must be recognized that agriculture is, first and foremost, based on ecological science and not on industrial science. As a result, agriculture operates from a much different set of rules than does the rest of corporate America or the industrial sector. Agricultural production operates through a series of ecological processes, which are governed more by the whims of Nature than the hand of man. We cannot control the amount of sunlight shining on earth. We cannot control the weather. We do not have complete control over insects, diseases and the like. And with few exceptions, producers have little to no control over the prices they are paid for their products. As a result, we cannot predict, with any certainty, how much of any agricultural product we can produce at any given time or how much profit will be earned. In contrast, industrial output is controlled by manmade schedules and quotas, which operate through a series of mechanical processes and technologies that can be manipulated with fairly consistent or predictable results. Through the opening or closing of a valve, the pushing of a button or the flipping of a switch, industrial output can grind to a halt or leap to meet an increase in demand. Industrial output is entirely under the control of the hand of man. Agriculture is not."

The method of operation at the JHL has attempted to take the middle ground.  While we cannot control many of our variables (i.e.weather, markets) there are decisions we can make.  We must first have a plan and then go about implementing it around all the variables that are thrown in the way.  We must measure everything that could be relevant.

You will be able to better understand what comprises the JHL's approach to herd management with these thoughts tucked in the back of your mind.

Soli Deo Gloria


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