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David Annis: Goat producers join in for July meeting

If you are a goat producer, or if you are interested in becoming a goat producer, please join us for our Goat Production Meeting, scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday, July 8 at the Ridin’ for the Brand Cowboy Church located at 5926 FM455W in Sanger.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. We will conclude by noon.

Reid Redden, associate professor and Extension sheep and goat specialist, and Ty Crooks, sheep and goat assistant from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, will be presenting information covering nutrition, parasites and diseases and reducing predation of goats.

We’ll take fecal egg counts and show you how to correctly use the FAMACHA scale.

The FAMACHA system was developed by Dr. Faffa Malan. He is currently the manager of Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa. The FAMACHA system is a method whereby only certain sheep or goats in a flock are selected for treatment against wireworm (also known as barbers pole worm, Haemonchus contortus). Sheep are selected for treatment based on the degree of anemia they are displaying in their mucous membranes. In turn, the degree of anaemia is assessed through a color guided chart.

Please contact the office at 940-349-2894 to register for this meeting. The cost will be $20 per person.

Strategic planning, transfers and economics

The following is an excerpt from the comic strip “Dilbert” by Scott Adams on Dec. 17, 2014:

Wally: I’m thinking of getting into the strategic planning game. If I understand the job description, you basically hallucinate about the future and then something different happens.

Dilbert: You also have to pretend it’s useful.

Wally: Really? That sounds hard.

Years ago, I dreaded hearing the words “strategic planning.” I equated it with wasted time — someone was always changing my goals and moving my targets. Enter a breath of fresh air.

I attended a King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management seminar on Strategic Planning last weekend in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where we had ranchers attending from many different states, some with their whole management team.

I can’t cram two days of meetings into as three paragraphs. There were three outstanding thoughts I brought back from this meeting I want to share with you:

Within the meeting I learned that one should not have a strategic plan unless they’ve got a balanced scorecard to keep track of the targets and goals of the business. Use the internet and search for the term “balanced scorecard.”

It was truly eye-opening to all of us attending. The balanced scorecard keeps your goals in front of you and if something changes, you only need to modify the part of your strategic plan it affects. I can now see that having a strategic plan and a balanced scorecard for your agricultural enterprise is a recipe for success.

We had several conversations outside of the meeting that were equally educational. Secondly, and most uncomfortably, there appears to be a lack of planning to transfer the ranch (or farm) to the next generation.

The “kids” are hesitant to bring it up out of respect (and some joked that they didn’t want to be cut out of the will). The “parents” just assume that after they are gone, the kids will have no problems with the transfer. It is a challenging process as it includes a complex web of economic, legal, and family “social decisions.”

The family’s social decisions usually take a back seat to the overriding tax and legal decisions.

What I’ve seen is that the parents assume that any problems and disagreements among the kids regarding succession will be worked out when tax and legal processes are complete. (Pro Tip: Get your proverbial house in order now. It will save a load of grief on the back end.) The worst occurs when the parents and kids never begin the process of succession.

The last thought I garnered from the meeting was that most agriculture producers don’t have a clue to how much money they need from the sale of their livestock, hay or grain to break-even.

How do you successfully market your product if you don’t know how much it takes to produce it? (No, this happens with many former, small businesses as well!) Take the time to track your expenses and income.

As a County Extension agent, I’m to provide you with the answers.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that sometimes agents need to take time to point out the problems as well. If you have questions about what I’ve covered, please don’t hesitate to contact me and we’ll discuss your options.

 

DAVID ANNIS is the agriculture extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He can be reached at 940-349-2894 or via email at david.annis@agnet.tamu.edu.