Tag Archives: work

Land Considerations

As i get older, i’m more aware of how much time and hard work a piece of property can be.  Many years ago, my grandpa gave me a 160 acre piece of his land and i now realize that he was about my age now when he gave it.  I was much younger and was thrilled, but now i can see that he was probably tired of managing and fixing all its problems.  In fact, it is only about the east 80 acres of the farm i now have that incurs 80% of the work i do on the 520 acres i now own/manage.  (it is a sad reflection of our time that in north Missouri that is no where near enough property to make a living on).  At the same time, it’s the corner of that piece that is the best for working and loading out livestock.  (interestingly, my daughter, at about age 11 made the comment, ‘i don’t like this farm, it is too much work!”)

Truth be told, if it was possible for me to control the land to the north of me and to the south, i could all but eliminate the massive erosion and washing problems which cause my little piece to be so much work.  But i don’t, so difficult repairs are recurring.  Controlling the ‘heads’ of the water by building ponds or dams would practically stop all but the worst rain events which cause such destruction.  The biggest help would be to seed down the hills that are being farmed every year.  There are no roots to hold any soil in place and increase water infiltration on acres and acres of slope.

So, a point i’m trying to make is – look to your future self when purchasing a property – is this property you are considering fixable?  or will it be constant work?  We actually looked at a property last year that was adjoining and for sale, but with all it’s deep ditches and no control of the head, it would be more work than what we wanted to take on now at retirement age.  It is FAR too much asking price anyway.  (It’s still for sale)

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The water rushes through this gap so high and fast that there is brush and sometimes huge logs on top of the sealed road you see in this photo.  This time, there are only a few small pieces on the road, my fence caught most of the trash.  The fence is laid over so much, that i’ll actually take the wires off the two posts you see, pull the posts and reset them on the inside of the trash and it will still be in line with the existing fence.
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using my post puller  (from Hometown Hardware, Brookfield, MO) at a funny angle, but it worked!  i put a small log underneath the ‘foot’ of the contraption so it wouldn’t sink into the mud when i put pressure on the handle.
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All set to cut this piece of tin off because it’s so buried in the sand and mud, i couldn’t pull it out.  Took the photo, picked up the DeWalt reciprocating saw, clicked it off safety, and pulled the trigger.  Nothing, no power, what?!  Well, clearly you can see what i couldn’t – i forgot to bring a battery with me.  So, i will do this part of the repair on Friday when i come back to my farm.  UGGGHH!
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This one was a bit of a pickle, but after scratching my head a bit, i figured out a plan.  thank goodness i got a ‘B’ in geometry.  Farming and ranching is a LOT of problem solving with the tools you have on hand and putting them in the right order and angle.
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For fun, i found this map which shows the watershed area through which this one watergap i’m repairing all the runoff water passes through.  I measured the area and it encompasses 560 acres of surface land area.  When we get gully washers, which do come at least 3 times a year, that’s a lot of water rushing down Lick Branch – no wonder my fence gets washed out every time.

Waiting

Whilst waiting for my next flight out of Santiago and no internet the next couple of days, i’ll post a quick blog that is a reminder that farming and ranching is not the glamorous career choice some think.  Now, my photos are tiny inconveniences.

 

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Scooping out a water tank that filled with mud

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170 cows with calves can make a quick mess even on top of the hill after only a 2 inch rain when there is frost in the ground.
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The cows rolled a small bit of hay over the fence and smashed it – Unfortunately, one of these posts broke at ground level, so i had to replace it.
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But with a viewshed like this…..
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And evening sunsets like this….. i have no reason to complain.

Cheers!

tauna

No One Owes You A Living!

 

The world, including the US, does not owe you a living. Or as Dave Ramsey would say, “You Are NOT Entitled To Anything“. If you dream to make a widget and insist that everyone must support you in your dream and insure that you make a full time living making that widget, then i fear you may be sorely disappointed.  Especially, if your widget making imposes on others’ freedom and property rights.

There are very few, if any, financially successful people with no debt and have, or are building wealth, working only one job.  Often the most successful have at least 2 or 3 other gigs on the side going.  (Even Warren Buffet has several unrelated income streams going!)  When you are in your teens, twenties, and even into thirties, you have energy, vision,  and motivation that enable you to put in 10-16 hours a day, 6 days a week.  This allows you to save, build equity, and work towards your dream job if you aren’t already doing that.  When you are older and that energy level drops, hopefully those side gigs are the money invested which are then working for you rather than you working for it.

I recently wrote a blog which told of the near impossibility of a person to get into farming or ranching these days.  This is largely due to the out of balance cost of land vs its productive value.  However, it is not yet impossible to farm and build wealth – even without incurring massive debt!  It may take longer, however.  And, i know of absolutely no one – young or old, in the present or in the past- who can farm or ranch (or any other business for that matter) full time without some sort of side gig.  Read stories of old timers – they were blacksmiths, carpenters, mechanics, traders, transportation specialists, suppliers; any skill they could put to use for pay was engaged.  Wives farmed alongside their husbands, raised the children, and often had a couple side gigs as well.  (Yes, i know that many women are farmers and ranchers, i am one, but also raised my own children, managed the household, and help with the farm.)  It is the same today – if you want to farm (or start any business for that matter) you’d better put a sharp pencil to how you’ll put food on the table and a roof over your head.  Don’t incur debt and make sure you have some savings.  (a borrower is always slave to the lender).  Operational farm debt is as bad as school loans.  Debt for building  a depreciating asset may be the worst of all!  What if something happens to you?  make sure you have plenty of life insurance!  Liability, maintenance, disease, accident associated with buildings and machinery are expensive and ongoing.  Once debt is incurred for a single purpose gadget, you have to keep it going or you may default or leave your family with a ball and chain which seldom adds value (it may actually devalue) to your property. Better yet, don’t go into debt.

Keep your paying job and save your money before you buy a single acre or cow or gadget. Many ranchers today are leasing both land and cattle which can be a great way to get started with very little investment or risk.  Best book i’ve read on this is Greg Judy’s book, No Risk Ranching.  Maybe you won’t have the exact same opportunities that Greg has, but use your imagination – maybe you’ll have to move – as Allan Nation, founder and former editor of Stockman Grass Farmer, used to say, “Everyone has an unfair advantage.”  Figure out yours and put your best foot forward.

Many farmers today still abide by the ways of Earl Butz to ‘get big or get out’ and we now have such an abundance and overproduction of all products that prices continue to slide.  Yet, the mantra continues to be ‘produce more’  and use the economy of scale to maximise profits.  That may good to a point, but the cost to the environment has been substantial by farming ‘fence row to fence row’  and with government subsidies now firmly entrenched there is less risk of a ‘failed crop’ resulting in going broke regardless of debt load or lack of wise financial planning.

I’m not espousing a return to farmers falling out due to the vagaries of weather, political machinations, or burdensome regulations.  Without subsidies, food, fiber, energy prices could soar to the level of parity and the consumer would certainly cry ‘foul’.  But, we all must remember that the economic  rule of supply and demand may cause us to consider better management practices.

There is the concept of focusing on profit rather than production.  If it is possible to make more money producing 120 bushel corn to the acre rather than 200 bushels to the acre, would that be something to consider?  what is the cost to the land and quality of life to produce 200 and even 300 bushels to the acre?  Can i do a better job of regenerating and improving the soil i have to increase pounds, bushels per acre and lower cost as well?  There are a lot of opportunities and new/old practices to learn – the hard part is keeping it simple and CHANGE!  This is a head issue – don’t be a stiff necked people.

Speaking of quality of life – how have you organised your dream?  does it enhance and edify others?  or detract from the lives of others?  is it sustainable?  is it regenerative?  can you keep doing this for the next 60 years?   If not, it’s not sustainable and you had better have a plan in place for the future, less strong, less energetic you.  Will your model rely on unpaid labor of yourself or your family?

Happy Planning!

 

Proverbs 6:

1My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, 2if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, 3then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:  go, hasten,a and plead urgently with your neighbor.

4Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; 5save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,blike a bird from the hand of the fowler.

6Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.

9How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

12A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, 13winks with his eyes, signalsc with his feet, points with his finger, 14with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord; 15therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

16There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

 

Debt Free Education

Dave Ramsey is on a rant, but worth considering!  This video is an ad for a new product designed to give you ideas on how to get an education without incurring student debt.  I have not ordered or read the book yet.

Can a debt free education be had?  Yes, I personally know a young man who is my son’s best friend who has done just that.  He started working as a young teenager on the farm and by the time he could legally work for other people (14-16 in Missouri, depending on the job), he knocked on doors and worked.  Additionally, he started his own lawn care business and by the time he graduated high school, he had enough money to pay for a 2 year associates degree at a local college while simultaneously attending and graduating from Grand River Technical School as a welder!  Now, the next smart move, though his dream is to farm full time, he got a full time position as a welder at a shop which is allowing him to replace the savings he spent on his education.  Now, a year and a half into that, he was able to purchase a portable welder/generator so he can start his own business.  Yeah, he’s still working full time until he builds a good customer base and he is farming alongside his dad at Sycamore Valley Farm.  WOW!

North Missouri is an economically depressed area of the US, but financial success can be had with good decision-making and hard, but smart, working ethic.

Dave Ramsey “America is Being Harmed By Its Own Government

 

 

Getting A Job – Networking Reigns!

Try this old school idea!

 

At least 70% of jobs are not even listed — here’s how to up your chances of getting a great new gig

As a member of modern society, you’re well aware that networking is one potential route to finding work.

But, did you know it might actually be the best way to get the job done? (The job of finding a new job, that is.)

Some estimate that upwards of 85% of open positions are filled through networking.

If you’re looking for work, it might be better to put your time into building your professional network rather than pouring through all those listings online.

Could networking actually the best way to find a new job?

The most common way to find work

The benefits and the overall impact of networking have received a lot of study in recent years. The results of these reports vary to some extent, but all agree that it’s definitely a popular way to get a job. Some experts say that 70% of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it’s more like 80% or even 85%.

Even when figures are broken down into different categories of job seekers and people are asked how they landed their current job, networking tops every list. In one survey, conducted by LinkedIn and the Adler Group, “active candidates” were separated out from “tiptoers” and “passive candidates,” those who looked for work in more casual ways.

Regardless of the individual attitudes and approaches job seekers brought to the table, networking was the most popular way to get a job. For “tiptoers” it won out 3 to 1, and for even more casual job seekers, dubbed “passive candidates,” networking dominated other job-search methods on a scale of 7 to 1.

There are a lot of hidden jobs out there

One of the major reasons that networking is such an effective way to get a job is that there is something of a hidden job market out there. Some estimate that as much as 80% of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking.

In fact, getting a referral for a job opening from someone who’s already working with the company could give you pretty impressive odds. Only 7% of job applicants get this kind of referral, yet referrals make us 40% of new hires. Clearly, networking isn’t just one potential route to finding a new job — it’s actually the most effective path.

“At least 70%, if not 80%, of jobs are not published, ” Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons told NPR. “And yet most people – they are spending 70% or 80% of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances [and] realizing that the vast majoring of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.”

There are many ways to network 

We really ought to come up with another word for networking — the one we have is just icky. But, networking doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable process. So, don’t let the thought of it intimidate you or turn you off.

Networking is really about connecting with people — and, like everything else, it helps to be sincere. So, backburner the job search process a little in your mind and focus on making new connections and strengthening existing ones. Then, be sure to let those contacts know what you’re up to professionally and where you’re looking to go next in your career. That’s networking! Here are a few other tips to consider:

  • Try to get out there and network the old-fashioned way sometimes, meaning face-to-face interactions. Online professional networking sites are great. But, personal interactions are often still the most powerful.
  • Have conversations that aren’t all about you with those in your network. Offer your help without looking for something in return. Helping others could end up coming back to help you in the end.
  • If you consider yourself on the shy side, don’t fear. Introverts can be great at networking. One important key is to come up with some questions and topics to discuss in advance. That should help you feel prepared and more relaxed.
  • Keep in mind that establishing a strong network takes time. Be ready to invest some effort on a regular basis. Then, your network will be there at the ready when you need it.

Find out how your salary stacks up on PayScale.

Read the original article on PayScale. Copyright 2017. Follow PayScale on Twitter.

The One Who Helps

I took this from Facebook this morning – there have been several write ups of this ilk and i’ve even made comments on Facebook sharing my experiences that in the agriculture world women ’empowerment’ (whatever that looks like as opposed to lifting up anyone and everyone)  is not necessary – men, women, and children respect and help each other.  (well, except me – i’m kind of mean and scary).  If you think you need to be in a march of some sort to promote women, then you hang out with the wrong crowd.  There is a world out there where people are pulling together and not ripping each other apart.

Shalom!

tauna

Sue Tebow

While women march the streets of America, protesting for rights that they already have, allow me to applaud a way of life that has honored women in ways the rest of the world never has (for a very long time).
I’m proud to be a part of the silent, steadfast women of rural America, where:

Little girls are taught to work alongside little boys, not hate them.

We let the men lead us on the dance floor, in prayer, and in life. There is strength in partnership.

The woman’s housekeeping and the man’s ranch work are both vital aspects of the operation’s success, even though gender roles don’t have much of a place on the ranch.

Women ride Bronc’s, wrestle calves, and rope just as often as men cook, sew and tend to children.

We actually participate in meetings, sit on boards, and vote to create REAL change.

We see the miracle of life in every foal, calf, and child and believe all life should be protected.

The men never question a woman’s strength, and women know that a door held open is a simple sign of respect.

The ranchers/farmers/blue collar people of America create empowered women, respectful men, and a brighter future than any “protest” could bring about.

Sue Tebow founder of agri.CULTURE
AUTHOR: Kaycee Monnes
PC – Robin L Green

Progressive? Marginally.

Why the mass exodus of young people from farming?  Here is another example of  one of several problems – well identified – yet apparently laughed off by the current generation of farmers and ranchers left scratching their heads wondering why junior is leaving for good.  Sad, very sad.

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Copied from The Progressive Farmer – April 2018

Faith, Family, Farm

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