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Editor's Letter - March 2011


Ellen H. Brisendine Conversations

by Ellen H. Brisendine

Consumers, Ranch Hands, Tourists:
All a Part of the Business of Ranching

A radio talk show host once said if a man spent an hour inside a woman's mind, he'd go crazy with all the details going on in there. The same host said if a woman spent an hour inside a man's mind, she'd think she was on vacation.

Would you like to listen in on the thoughts that go through women's minds when they stand at grocery meat cases, trying to reconcile their preferences, time and budget with beef, pork or poultry choices?

Would you like to know how much they value you as ranchers and how much confidence your products give them?

Turn to page 22 (to subscribe to The Cattleman) to read about this new and interesting consumer research, and come to the 2011 TSCRA Convention Weekend, San Antonio, April 1 to 3, to hear from the companies that conducted this research for the beef production industry, illuminating women's thinking on meal choices.

In this March Pre-Convention issue, we're taking a look at some of the business aspects of ranching. Consumer preferences are certainly part of our business. Running the actual ranch often requires help from hired hands. Would you like to know how to ask about documented worker status; how to ask an older applicant about retirement plans; or a younger applicant about his or her knowledge? The folks at AgCareers provide us with tips in the "Rancher's Management Guide."

The ubiquitous cell phone has become much more than a verbal communication device. Cell phones can be handy cameras or video recorders. But they are not always in the hands of friends. How do you avoid hiring a new worker who might have an anti-agriculture agenda and might be planning to misrepresent your ranch on YouTube? Lt. Houston Johnson, Harker Heights Police, provides useful information and tips to protect your business.

Consumers and the labor force are important, but what about managing the business on the land? Two articles this month will challenge your thinking, and may cause you to change a strategy or two. A group of ranchers in the Texas Hill Country have given up a little bit of lone independence to rely on one another in producing load lots of uniform cattle. For more than a decade, they've fared better together than apart.

Out near San Angelo, a traditional cattle ranch is employing the talents and creativity of an untraditionally-minded son and reaping the benefits of his hard work in developing an active nature tourism segment of the family business.

You'll get more mental exercise, and maybe a nice bit of physical exercise, at the 2011 TSCRA Convention Weekend at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, along with a healthy dose of fun and camaraderie. I hope to see you there.

"Conversations: Consumers, Ranch Hands, Tourists: All a Part of the Business of Ranching" is from the March 2011 issue of The Cattleman magazine.