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Manage dairy employees, establish farm protocols, take on milk marketing, and become more confident in your farm financials.


Each and every one of us wants and needs feedback, often dreads receiving feedback and is frequently uncomfortable giving feedback. Few of us really understand feedback or manage the process of providing feedback. This column will assist you in selecting the appropriate performance consequence.

We begin with a definition of feedback from “The return of information about the result of a process or activity; an evaluative response.” We constantly give and receive feedback, if not explicitly, then implicitly.

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One of our agricultural adages is that the best land makes the most money. In dairy, we feel the same way about our animals. Finding the best land and finding and maintaining the best animals requires hard work.

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When I lived in Chihuahua nearly 15 years ago, a friend of mine told me there’s a saying in Mexico that goes, “The only people who tell the truth are drunks and little kids.”

Actually, I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s the exact saying or if it’s even a Mexican saying at all. Ironically, this conversation occurred over a couple of tortas after hanging out at a cantina all night.

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Why manage a seasonal herd on pasture?
For starters, here are seven good reasons:

• Single milking herd management. I like seasonal dairying because it allows the management of even a large herd as one group.

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The old adage of farming being a “way of life” no longer rings completely true. Farming is very much a business these days, much like any manufacturing or service industry in town.

Even the smallest dairy operations can show assets in excess of $1 million, as milk quota, in many cases with this size of unit, is the main contributor to the farm balance sheet.

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We’ve all heard of the Peter Principle, which states that “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” One special flavor of the Peter Principle is something I call the Derek Principle (my apologies to those of you who share the name), after a brilliant software designer I once worked with, a young man who could apply his creativity and ability to work tirelessly toward the solving of some of the greatest technical challenges our company ever encountered.

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