What Is Sweat Worth?

What Is Sweat Worth?  By Dave Pratt, owner of Ranch Management Consultants

 

What is Sweat Worth?

by Dave Pratt

Most family ranches are subsidized with free, or underpaid, family labor. Sometimes the difference between what family members get and what it would cost to hire someone else to do the work they do is made up with the promise or expectation of sweat equity. But sweat is not a recognized form of currency and people counting on sweat equity usually have a grossly exaggerated idea of what their sweat is worth. This often leads to serious disagreement and disappointment.

If you are going to count on sweat equity and want to avoid the inevitable misunderstandings that happen when it comes time to cash in on your sweat, then you’d better start actually counting it. How many hours? For how many years? At what rate of pay? With what interest on the unpaid balance?

I mentioned the perils of relying on sweat equity in a workshop recently. I suggested we stop using the term sweat equity and call it what it really is, “deferred wages.” My comments apparently struck a nerve with one 30-something rancher. He approached me after the program and asked if I could help him calculate what his sweat was actually worth. He said that he’d come back to the family ranch after college 10 years earlier. He’d been drawing a low wage and banking on sweat equity. As is usually the case in family ranches, there was no formal agreement documenting exactly what his sweat was worth.

He was being paid $25,000 a year, but his compensation package included a nice home, a vehicle and insurance for his family. All-in-all a compensation package worth well over $50,000. “Maybe I’m not as underpaid a I thought I was,” he said.

I suspect that he was probably being underpaid somewhere between $10,000 to $20,000 a year. I showed him that for every $10,000 he’d been underpaid, he earned 0.1% equity in his family’s $10,000,000 ranch.

($10,000 ÷ $10,000,000) x 100 = 0.1%

I showed him that over the previous 10 years, compounding interest at a rate of 3.5%, he’d earned a whopping 1.2% equity stake in the ranch. Like a lot of young ranchers returning home, he hadn’t ever thought about how much his sweat was worth but had assumed that it would add up to a lot more than that.

Sometimes sweat equity isn’t just about compensating someone for the work they do. It’s about acknowledging the sacrifices someone may have made, foregoing other opportunities to come back to the ranch to support the family. If there are several kids in your family, but only one has invested time and energy working on the place and has shown a desire to continue the business, it may be fair to give them an equity position.  After-all, as succession planning advisor Don Jonovic points out, fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal.

But whether sweat equity is a substitute for a paycheck or acknowledging a sacrifice, we need to be clear about what we are compensating and its value. We need to convert assumptions and expectations into agreements. We need to figure out what our labor is worth (the topic of the last ProfitTips column). We need to document the value of our sweat while we are still sweating.

For more on documenting the value of sweat equity watch the video below:

What is Sweat Worth? youtube video

Ivan Tomato Seed Saving

As you may remember, my husband was beat up by a mature bull last summer and ended up in hospital and eventually ICU for several days.  Fortunately, and against all odds, he was back on a four wheeler and checking cattle in 15 days from the incident!!  So the tomato story comes from his nurse in ICU who gave us some heirloom seeds he had saved – a tomato called “Ivan”.  The seeds he share were prolific with high germination rate, so i had far more plants that i could possible use.  i just had to end up throwing them away.  However, a 25 foot row of about 20 plants produced ample enough fresh eating and canning for our family until next year’s crop is ready.

“Ivan” i learnt is a native tomato of Missouri which was apparently in need of rescuing!  My plants were not properly pruned or staked, so i had a lot of vines which no doubt took away from crop production. But, i simply didn’t have time.  If Yah allows, I’ll be ready next year with panels and time to care for the plants properly.  These tomatoes are delicious.

For the first time, I’ve tried my hand at seed saving with both this Ivan and Pink Oxhearts (Hungarian Heart Tomato), which i like for slicing and using on sandwiches.

Happy Gardening!

tauna

 

 

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Lumpia (Filipino Eggroll)

This is my go to version of my own making.  However, be encouraged to try new and different flavors and ingredients.  Having an abundance of squash and cauliflower leaves/stalks, i decided to substitute.  To my pleasant surprise, substituting squash for carrots and cauliflower stalks and leaves for celery and onion is a hit and will be come a regular recipe for us.

Recipe Lumpia -Filipino Egg Roll

Lumpia (Filipino Eggroll)

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb beef sausage
2 eggs
1 cup onions chopped
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos or
Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
DIRECTIONS:
Thoroughly mix all ingredients, then place about ¼ to ½ cup of mix in a log shape on a prepared egg roll shell. Roll up properly and tightly, then fry in ½ inch of olive oil heated to a tick less than medium. For best browning do not overcrowd them. I cook 6 at a time in 12 inch skillet. Once lightly browned, turn over. Keep an eye on these, they need to be cooked through, but careful not to burn the shells. Drain on paper towels.

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An example of a departure from my standard recipe is using this gorgeous Squash Zucchino Rampicante.  I’ve grown a barrel of these and they are huge, so gotta start getting creative.

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Chopped up with an old cheapo food processor – look at the beautiful color of this winter squash.
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Had the leaves and stalk left over from eating cauliflower florets on salads.  I just save all this in a zippered plastic bag then use as soon as possible.
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I didn’t have any onions, but given that the leaves and stalk of a cauliflower has a slightly peppery taste i just added more of this to replace the onions.
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I use my Artisan Kitchenaid Mixer (5 quart) practically everyday.  Here mixing the 1 lb ground beef, 1 lbs home mad beef sausage, eggs, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, veggies, and pepper well.  These mixers have come down in price substantially these past couple years.  
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Wei-Chuan is the brand of spring roll shells i use.  There may be others, but these have never disappointed.  I buy mine in bulk at a Chinese specialty store 1 1/2 hours away.  They freeze fine and last well over a year in deep freeze.
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1/4 to 1/3 cup of mixture on the shell.  

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Dab i bit of water on the tip and continue rolling up.  The water will help that loose end stick to the roll and stay together.
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Completed eggroll ready to cook.
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Here’s a pan of cooked on one side with half the rolls flipped to show difference.
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Ready to remove, drain, and let cool before biting in.
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Best served immediately and warm,  but these can be eaten cold too and are delicious for any meal.  We like LaChoy sweet and sour sauce as a condiment.
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Invariably there will be a bit of the lumpia meat/veggie mixture left over after i run out of the package of 25 eggroll shells.  Fry up as delicious healthy burgers.

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Asian Long Pole Beans

These beans are so amazing that they just need a bit of bragging upon!  A small handful of seeds given to me by a friend from Philippines at least a decade ago resulted in being planted every year.  Not only are they easy to grow, they produce like crazy, taste great, and plenty left for seed saving. (normally i harvest those allowed to mature early in the season, but this year there were people wanting seeds, so i’m gathering now.  Does it make a difference?  don’t know, have to leave that to the plant scientists and agronomists)  In addition to preparing and eating a lot of these and giving a lot away, I still froze up about 12 gallons so far, even though i planted them late.  Production is really slowing down now due to continued drought, but mostly shorter days as we transition to fall.

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Dried mature beans, fresh beans to eat, and a plateful of harvested seeds from those dried shells.  Those beans clear to the left are too mature for eating, so i’ll pop those inside beans out and use them to cook and add to my salads.

 

 

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My row is 24 feet lot and 8 feet high!
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A long bean i missed harvesting at the right time. Now it’s past prime so i’ll leave it to mature, then harvest the inside bean seeds to plant for next year’s crop.

 

Happy Gardening!

tauna

Mom’s Goulash

September’s meal for Refuge Ministries, Mexico, Missouri was an old favorite of ours which was published in the Centennial Baptist Church cookbook shared by Frankie Levingston, the mom of my dear high school chum, Sharie Levingston.

Mom’s Goulash 

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb ground beef (i use our home raised fully grass-finished beef)
2 cups pasta
3 cups chopped tomatoes or 1-15 oz can sauce
1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped peppers (we prefer green beans, okra, or such)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup cubed cheese (use your favorite)

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare pasta as per package instructions, drain, set aside.  While pasta is boiling, brown ground beef in a large skillet with chopped onions, add tomatoes or sauce, with optional vegetables.  Stir to just mixed, then add pasta.  Mix carefully then sprinkle about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over top along with the cubed cheese.  Replace lid and put on low heat until cheese starts to melt.  Serve over bed of lettuce if desired.

Prep time:  25 minutes

Servings: 6

Author:  Frankie Levingston, Centennial Baptist Church (Mexico, MO) cookbook.

My photos show this recipe multiplied by 10 to prepare enough for the Refuge plus have some meals to deliver to friends and neighbors who are recovering from surgeries.

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Brown the ground beef along with the chopped onions.  Oh, if you forget to put the onions until after the beef is browned, it’s okay, just go ahead and add them.
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My garden produced bunches and gobs of Asian Long Pole Beans, so i chose them for my recipe.  Fresh beans need to be precooked before adding to Mom’s Goulash.  Mine are cut into 1/2 inch length pieces and I added 1 gallon of them.
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Pasta, pasta – Here i’ve placed 14 cups dried pasta to boil, still had to add water and as you can see just BARELY had enough room in this huge pot.  Be careful, pasta really expands.
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Thankfully, a friend had given me a 33 quart canning pot a few years ago.  Always enough room to stir together all the ingredients.  I did soften and melt the cheese before adding it.
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Filled my roaster with Mom’s Goulash to take to Refuge Ministries and prepared the rest for delivery to neighbors.

Hope you enjoy preparing and serving this easy, inexpensive, and tasty dish.

Cheers!

tauna

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