From the inception of Pharo Cattle Company, we have always been very different from the status quo beef industry. In the late 1980s, we realized the beef industry was headed in the wrong direction at a high rate of speed. While nearly everyone else was focused on increasing the size and individual performance of their cattle, we said, “It doesn’t matter how big your cattle are or how fast they can grow if they are NOT profitable.” We decided to provide an alternative to the “bigger is better” way of thinking.
You can’t get something for nothing. It was not difficult to increase size and performance – but most producers failed to realize that as individual animal performance and size increase, production and profit per acre decrease. At the time, the land grant universities and seedstock producers were leading the way. Unfortunately, they still are. Within a few years, most cow-calf producers had substantially bigger cows. This forced them to reduce their stocking rates and/or increase supplemental feeding to keep their so-called “new and improved” cows in production.
Being different is seldom easy – but we knew in our heart that we were different for all the right reasons. Therefore, we persevered. Slowly but surely, more and more commercial cow-calf producers understood our philosophies – and broke away from the status quo way of thinking. We went from selling six bulls at our very first bull sale in 1991 to selling over 900 bulls per year 20 years later. We have cowherds in 12 different states. We are developing bulls, mostly on grass, in four different states. We have proven that our philosophies and our genetics can increase profit per acre in every environment they have been placed in.
When I came up with the Herd Quitter concept in 2008, it was not well received within the PCC organization. Although everyone understood the message I was trying to convey, very few wanted to be called a Herd Quitter. I wondered why. I soon found out that most ranchers have experienced the frustrations of dealing with a herd-quitter cow. You know the type. Whenever you are gathering the herd, the herd-quitter cow is always looking for an opportunity to escape – usually at a high rate of speed. She will wear out a good saddle horse.
I have dealt with several herd-quitter cows in my lifetime – and I know how frustrating they can be. Moving or gathering a herd of cows would be an easy job if it was not for the herd-quitter cows. If a herd-quitter cow suspects something is up, she will do everything she can to get away. She can make you so mad that you want to rope her and drag her back to the herd. Consider this, though… out of the entire herd of cows, the herd-quitter cow is the ONLY cow thinking for herself! I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for those herd-quitter cows.
We use the term Herd Quitter to refer to people who have enough courage to break away from the status-quo, herd-mentality way of thinking. It is more about thinking for yourself than anything else. If you follow the crowd (herd) and do what everyone else is doing, you will never be above average and you will never have a competitive advantage. Dare to be a Herd Quitter.