The most gratifying part of my job is hearing from people who made the transition from high-input, break-even ranching to low-input, high-profit ranching. I receive emails on a weekly basis from those who are so glad they made the transition when they did. Most wonder why it took so long to see the light. I can remember having the same thoughts over 30 years ago. Making a paradigm shift of this magnitude is not easy.
I visited with many PCC customers at the Texas and Missouri bull sales. Most long-term customers have operations that are much more profitable, enjoyable and sustainable than they ever thought possible prior to making the transition. I also visited with people who were very enthusiastic about taking the first steps in making the transition. They saw the light, and they are extremely excited about the future of their family and their business.
One new customer admitted he was a little nervous about making the transition. It required going against what his neighbors and family believed to be right. He had finally seen the light – but he was reluctant to enter what we call the New Frontier in beef production. I reminded him that the New Frontier is not totally uncharted territory. Well over 2000 PCC customers and others are already there. Those who are part of the New Frontier are two to five times more profitable than their status quo neighbors. Their lifestyle is also substantially better than their neighbors.
Status quo ranching may have made sense 40 to 50 years ago – but it is making less and less sense every year. As cattle prices continue to go up and down, up and down, the cost of land and inputs continues to increase – sometimes at unprecedented rates. Most status quo producers are slowly but surely going broke. Some status quo producers see the futility in what they are doing – but it seems as though they would rather fail conventionally than succeed unconventionally. That’s just the way human nature is.
The fact that most status quo producers will not change until they are forced to change gives the rest of us HUGE opportunities. Throughout history, the first to enter new territories and new frontiers have always had HUGE advantages over the late-comers. I continue to believe the next ten years will be remembered as the best of times for some – and the worst of times for others.