Our ag producers must operate in a dynamic environment that constantly presents a variety of challenges, many of which lay outside of their direct control. Fluctuating commodity markets, unpredictable weather, livestock health and behavior, equipment/ mechanical breakdowns, increasing property taxes and land values, and the list goes on. Not to mention the fact that we must make time to provide support for family as we also attempt to contribute to our respective communities that make up our Sandhills. It’s no wonder that this can sometimes feel overwhelming to even the strongest producers.
It is with the understanding that the sustainability of the network of small communities spread across the Sandhills region, and therefore the unique grassland ecosystem that makes up the land the producers rely upon to make a living, is dependent upon the success of the producers that are spread across the region.
So how do we hope to help?
I have been a producer that has worked in a variety of roles within our industry. I’ve been the new guy on the crew as well as having the opportunity to run my own operation, and most roles in-between. I believe in the value of ideas that can often come from a position of detachment and hope that my variety of experiences can allow me to help give producers new perspectives or insights into there operation.
I know how it can sometimes be difficult to find the time for a producer to go out and gather the resources necessary to stay innovative when the daily demands of the business seem so high. I hope earn the trust of our area producers so as to become a resource to point produces towards identifying and making the changes the want to see in their business.
The Sandhills Task Force may currently be best known for it’s lead in the fight against the invasion of Eastern Red Cedars into our Sandhills. We have hosted a number of workshops through the years to help educate our volunteer fire departments and land owners of the value of prescribed burning in order to preserve our beautiful grasslands.
We now look forward to applying that same level of enthusiasm towards bringing our area producers a variety of additional resources and information that they can apply to a broad range of topics for there operations. Innovative producers understand the value of being exposed to new ideas, even when those particular ideas don’t fit into their current program. Sandhill Stewards will host a series of workshops that build off of a core idea.
Strong, successful Sandhills Stewards must strive to;
~ Understand their Environment
~ Understand their Livestock
~ Understand their Business
(Click on each for an expanded explanation)
In addition to the information provided at workshops, participation in the Sandhills Stewards program will allow producers a chance to utilize what I hope will prove to be a vastly more valuable resource. The network of motivated, proactive, and innovative producers throughout the Sandhills.
You may have heard it as, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” (a quote often attributed often to Jim Rohn). There’s also the “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” version, the idea being if we are deliberate when choosing the people around us, hopefully, we are spending time with people “better” than us pushing us to raise our own average while inspiring and motivating as we all advance. I foresee the fostering of community (Sandhills wide community that is) connectedness to likely be the most valuable contribution we can make for our area producers.
Collaborative Problem Solving
The Sandhill Stewards program also intends to meet with participating producers on and individual basis in order to learn about and target the specific issues that they would most like to see changes made in. I intend to leave this up to the each producer as much as possible as we work through problems and I attempt to provide resources tailored to each producer’s specific needs. And while this is not meant as an exhaustive list, it may provide an idea of some of the common problems producers might wish to work through.
- Understanding and applying the power of written plans/ goals. (Business, grazing, drought, marketing, etc.)
- Understanding and applying principals associated with “correctly” separating our enterprises. (Identifying what is making us money as well as our true cost of production.)
- Understanding the value of and applying principals related to Bud Williams livestock handling.