Monday, September 26, 2011

RFID Tagging: Government Mandate Or Breeders’ New Best Friend?

by Sam Hodges

Radio Frequency Identification, more commonly know as RFID, is a foreign concept to most of us in the cattle industry. Sure we have heard the term in the news and possible implementation by the US Department of Agriculture, but what can we as breeders gain from a business standpoint if this becomes a policy requirement to use RFID technology?
      First, let’s take a look at the government’s current usage of RFID. Since 2004, the Department of Defense has required all of its contracts to be RFID capable. Military bases worldwide have been implemented with RFID scanners and networks, tracking all deliveries to bases from something as simple as a pallet of uniforms, to heavy weaponry such as tanks and missiles. Using these networks has cut back on costs in supply management, maintained a much more accurate inventory, and virtually eliminated equipment loss. RFID has made it much simpler for everyone to know where what is, how long it has been there, and what has been done to it.
      That’s great, but how can we benefit? Imagine this. A client pulls up to your ranch and backs their trailer up to unload. You walk to the trailer, slide a paddle-like attachment RFID scanner into the trailer and over the cattle, push a button on your hand-held device, and a list is automatically generated including the cattles’ tattoos, registration numbers, and owner, all in about a minute. All of this information is stored in a RFID chip inside a scanable ear-tag (scanable ear tags are generally preferred because of the ability to physically write an ID number on the tag for visible identification).Unload the trailer, count the number of head to ensure you inventory is correct and everything was scanned, and turn the cattle out. If the client loads up other cattle they are picking up into the trailer, repeat the process. Scan them with the attachment, verify your inventory, and push a button. Your computer automatically has an inventory of what cattle came in on what date, what cattle left on what date, and where the cattle went for your records. This is also beneficial to sale-barn inventory and accounting, as well as feedlots.
     Still not satisfied? Put a cow in your chute, scan the RFID tag with your hand held device and her information pops up. She is in heat so you AI her and push a button. You select the bull you AI’ed her to on your device by pushing a button and turn the cow out. This is applicable with any services you perform on cattle, from AI, to embryo work, to simple vaccinations. At the end of the month, pull up the client’s file and all transactions you have performed on their cattle are listed chronologically with pricing. The computer automatically calculates the total and it is ready to print and be mailed. You could also print a list of all services you performed for the month in chronological order for your own breeding records.
      Of course, the government isn’t primarily focused on the personal benefits of RFID tagging. USDA is more interested in the ability to identify animals quickly in the event of a disease outbreak. If there was a disease outbreak, within seconds authorities could trace the animal, the property it came from, and every movement the animal has made.  This enables them to isolate the specific region while the rest of the country continues trading. No policy is currently in effect, primarily due to concerns about privacy and protection of information; however, new RFID tags provide encryption capabilities to only allow general information to be read from the tag, such as name, tattoo, and ownership, with all other information requiring a pass code. This would protect sale price, health records, and any other information stored on the tag.
     With the current economic climate, government projects in relation to animal RFID tagging are not top priorities so don’t expect to see anything passing through Congress anytime soon. What you can do is research the topic further and perform a cost/benefit analysis. The cost would be considered expensive by most, but the benefit would be less headaches at the end of the month when billing, wondering who 245U is and what she’s doing on your place, or figuring out which 555T cow this is since duplicate tattoos are a recurrent issue. The industry is gearing up for a major change and advancement. Will you be ready?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Heart Felt

August 29, 2011
By: Victor G. Guerra

I had the opportunity this past weekend to give a motivational speech on leadership at the 5W Cattle Company Field Day and judge showmanship.  From the moment I stepped foot on the grounds I was impressed with the group of kids that had made the decision to spend this hot summer day learning and improving themselves through their beef cattle projects.  I know that for some the decision was not theirs, so to all those parents that made the decision to get them there, I commend you. 

I spoke to the kids about how each of them is a leader, if nothing else they are the leader of their lives.  I urged them to build a solid foundation, as someone would when building a house.  This foundation was made up of their morals and ethics, what they believed to be right and wrong.  I also told them that in formulating their morals they must ask as many questions as possible, because along the way there would be several individuals challenging them to stray from these standards and crack the foundation their lives were built upon.  I used the most famous ten two letter words (“If it is to be, it is up to me”) to encourage them to set clearly defined goals and take initiative in accomplishing them.  I shared a story with them about how I acted out of line one time after being placed 4th with my steer my junior year at our local show.  When I thought no one was looking back at the trailer, I threw my show stick in anger and shook my head looking back at the show ring.  In no time, Mrs. Susan Brown came over to the trailer and had me by my neck collar telling me how I better shape up because rather I knew it or not, some of the kids there looked up to me.  I told these kids that exact thing, that somewhere someone looks up to them and that they needed to take this responsibility of being a role model seriously.  Finally, I told them to volunteer for the leadership opportunities that are all around them and that their actions often speak louder than their words.

The very first Heart of Simbrah Show was held at the conclusion of the field day and it was a great one.  The quality of kids and cattle were impressive and the show was well attended.  Both Javier Moreno, a fellow Simbrah breeder and Mando Correa, a well respected local Ag teacher both did a fine job of judging the kids and cattle.  I believe that it is a great testament to this breed to see new events like this show being created; it is a clear sign that the breed is growing and growing in the right direction, by developing our youth through our cattle.  One of the many highlights for me was seeing Klarissa Cantu still smiling at 11 pm as they were loading out after a full day of participating in the field day, showing in two showmanship contests and a heifer and steer show.  Attitude is everything.  With our hearts in the right place by focusing on these kids, I am determined that the breed and the future of it, is headed in the right direction.

I highly recommend attending the 5W Cattle Company Field Day and Heart of Simbrah Show next year, as it was a fun and educational day had by all.  A BIG HEARTY THANKS to the Ron & Rhonda Wells Family for all that they did to make yet another great Simbrah event possible.        

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Simbrah And The Summer Of 2011

by Beth Mercer

I’ve lost count of the number of days, or maybe months at this point, with temperatures over 100 degrees.  The days start off at about 80 degrees and move up quickly.   No rain has fallen for months and we can’t even get a heavy dew.   You sweat through your clothes by 9:00 a.m. and learn to live with it until supper.   Dust covers everything.  It’s a good day when the wind blows.  It’s a bad one when it doesn’t because you can barely breath.  You get the picture.   Historically high temperatures and dry conditions have become the norm and there is no change in sight for Texas and other parts of the country. 

Our Simbrah cattle, on the other hand, seem to be taking the high temperatures and drought in stride.  They graze on and off all day and I’ve yet to catch any of them breathing hard due to the heat.   Their calves aren’t suffering from lack of milk and the bulls kept up their work pace during the breeding season without falling apart.   In other words, Simbrah cattle with as little as 1/8 Brahman blood are bred to adapt to these adverse conditions. 

One characteristic of heat tolerant cattle is their ability to shed their winter coat in spring and summer.  As a general rule, Simbrah are slick haired with many staying slick all winter.    They have a little more hide surface area or extra leather that also keeps them cooler.

With lush grass a distant memory on most ranches, Brahman influenced Simbrah cattle browse and make a meal out of whatever is available.   Biting flies and ticks don’t seem to slow them down and even in this heat, the females breed back while nursing a calf.    The heat tolerance of Simbrah contributes to the success of feeding steers in the summer months as they continue to gain and tolerate the high temperatures in the feedlot.

The ability of cattle to adapt to the environment in which they live is of the utmost importance for any cattle operation to have a chance to be successful.    Simbrah cattle thrive in many environments but their true worth comes when the temperatures are high and the grass becomes scarce.  

Printed courtesy of the Register

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Youth Prepare For Summer Shows/Contests At Smith Genetics

by Sam Hodges

Memorial Day Weekend, Tim Smith of Smith Genetics hosted juniors and parents at Cow Camp at the Smith Genetics Ranch in Giddings, Texas. I had the privilege of attending this outstanding educational program and experiencing the fun-filled weekend. Friday afternoon through Saturday morning was designated as move-in time with camp starting at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

The first class began at the show barn with a presentation by Michael Grahmann, sponsored by Purina. Mr. Grahmann went over heifer selection, halter breaking, and general tips for maintaining show cattle. This presentation was followed by wash rack etiquette with Rodney Finch, as well as hints about which soaps and shampoos to use, the fundamentals of washing, and how to properly dry cattle with a power blower. Mr. Finch then continued to conduct a demonstration for all campers, covering the basics to clipping, fitting, and maintaining hair.

Traditionally, all campers and participating adults attend class in one large group, meeting in the lab, the show barn, or the catch pens behind the lab. Due to an increase in campers, three classes were formed based on age breaks. Ages 15 and under were classified as Junior Campers, 16 to 21 were Senior Campers, and 22+ were Adult/Parent Campers.  After the morning demonstrations by Mr. Grahmann and Mr. Finch, camp moved down the hill to the lab for breakout sessions. One group went into the lab for class with Ms. Lesli Garrett, winner of many TJSSA, AJSA National and Regional, and AJSR speech contests. Lesli taught campers how to improve their Sales Talk, Public Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking presentations. Another group met with Ms. Martha Garrett where she shared a wealth of information on building a scholarship resume, filling out applications and general ag scholarships. The Adult/Parent campers thoroughly enjoyed learning all of the tricks to this trade. Up at the show barn, the third group honed in on their showmanship skills with MR. Finch and Richard Foster III. Mr. Finch began by giving his infamous speech pertaining to show ring attire, jewelry, and "bling." The kids then grabbed a heifer, entered the ring, and received one-on-one training to further develop their style. After this rotation ended, everyone met at the show barn for a closing showmanship session. Taylor Rutledge and Caleb Rodenbeck were the showmanship champions in the evening showdown. 

Classes began Sunday morning with Livestock Judging and Oral Reasons by Richard Foster III in the pens behind the lab. The Adult/Parent group opted to move this session to a pen with a lot of shade to try and beat the heat. Inside the lab, Mrs. Annette Hill educated campers on Meats Judging, including retail and wholesale cuts, yield grade, and quality, while Mr. Jayson Hill taught nutrition and feedstuffs. Jayson and Annette teach Ag at Brazos High School in Wallis, Texas and they are always a great addition to camp. After lunch, Jayson went over the Sire Summary and EPDs. In the other room, Tim Smith taught Cattlemen's Quiz definitions, genetics and inheritance, and Skill-A-Thon items. 

Camp adjourned around 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon after a mock Skill-A-Thon contest for all campers.

This year's camp was truly amazing. The parents were highly involved in classes and were eager to learn as much information as possible for the sole purpose of helping their children succeed. When asked what they wanted to learn from camp, the junior group said, “As much as we possibly can”, and they lived up to this goal, actively participating in all events. The depth and level of questions posed by the Senior group was stimulating, and they continue to raise the bar for the contests they will be participating in this summer. Good luck to all participants at State, Nationals, and Roundup and thank you to everyone who helped make Cow Camp the great success that it was!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Junior Programs Develop Young Exhibitors

¡Ven a la fiesta con TJSSA este verano en Tyler!
(Come and party with the TJSSA in Tyler this summer!)
By Charley Martinez, TJSSA President
Can  you believe the Texas Junior Simmental/Simbrah Association (TJSSA) had eleven members place in the Beef Skillaton in San Antonio in 2011?  Along with TJSSA director Morgan Tindle placing in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Superintendents Heifer Challenge and TJSSA director Mallory Mobly winning the challenge in 2011.  I can answer that for you, or you can find out for yourself by attending the Texas Junior Simmental/ Simbrah Association State Futurity this year and participate in not only the cattle show, but all the leadership contests. Not only do the contests help a young mind develop into a young cattleman or cattlewoman, but gain knowledge that will help win scholarship contests, succeed in college, as well as being competitive at American Junior Simmental Association (AJSA) Nationals!
There are many opportunities for a participant to take home awards and buckles from this show.  Features of the State Futurity include winning cash prizes; winning one (or more) of the 37 belt buckles; the Simmental and Simbrah shows, cow/calf show, bred and owned show, percentage heifer show; showmanship; judging and oral reasons; public speaking; sales talk; cattlemen’s quiz;, beef skill-a-thon; family barbeque and fun games; annual membership awards breakfast; scholarship opportunities; queen/sweetheart contest; state director elections; and bronze merit leadership award.
New changes to the show this year are a stall decorating contest for this year’s theme ¡Fiesta! The cattle shows will all be progress through performance (PTP) shows, meaning EPDs will be used along with live cattle evaluation. The percentage heifer show is open to half blood Simbrahs. The State Futurity’s cattle judge will be Mr. Doug Pierce of Blinn Junior College. Another highlight is the State Futurity is open to all out of state participants who want practice for the AJSA Nationals!
So if you want to have fun and be a part of this show please print off entry forms from and join us for the great kids, great cattle, and great fun!
 Editors Note: In addition, to TJSSA Futurity, there's also the American Junior Simbrah Roundup June 17-19 and the AJSA Classic in Sedalia, Missouri in July. ALL GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH TO DEVELOP LEADERSHIP, CHARACTER TRAITS, LEARN ABOUT THE BEEF INDUSTRY AND MAKE FRIENDS.

Monday, March 7, 2011

We're Growing

It may not all be about numbers, but wow haven't the numbers been awesome at the major shows?

Fort Worth 66 junior entries!

National Open Simbrah Show at San Antonio 141 entries!

Superbowl-200 total, of which 149 were Simbrahs!

San Antonio Junior Show-192 entries, the largest  of any breed!

International Show at Houston 99 entries!

Lots of interest, growing demand and enthusiasm for Simbrah. . . and the numbers prove it!

You could say Simbrahs have been coming and going!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life of an Ag Teacher- San Antonio Edition
by Jayson Hill
Thursday, February 3rd
I arrived at the San Antonio show at 10:30am on Thursday because we had a student showing a turkey hen.  We had to check the hen in today. This was going to be the last time that this student would be showing turkeys at San Antonio because he graduates this year. Many turkey raisers are excited because he has done extremely well over the last 5 years. He has “scholarshiped out” at San Antonio by winning Reserve Grand Champion Turkey Tom and Turkey Hen on more than one occasion and finally last year he won Grand Champion Turkey Tom, giving him the maximum amount of scholarship money available to an exhibitor. It was very cold and windy today.
Friday, February 4th
I stayed with my grandparents on the west side of San Antonio Thursday night. The roads iced over and shut down the city’s highways. San Antonio delayed the shows by 2 hours so I was able to wait until the ice thawed a little before heading to the fairgrounds. A drive that normally takes 30 minutes took me an hour.  We ended up 7th place turkey hen out of 208 birds. Not exactly where we wanted to be, but we will take it. We had two students showing cattle at the open show, so my wife hauled all 8 their Simbrah to San Antonio braving the iced roads. She left Wallis around 12:30pm and arrived in San Antonio safely around 3pm. After the turkey show I helped unload and set up the stalls for the open show.
Saturday, February 5th
Today was a day to finish getting setup and allow the cattle to rest.  I got to visit with many Simbrah people and meet some new ones.
Sunday, February 6th
Once again we got to rest. We noticed that a heifer and a bull of ours developed a cough. We put them in the tie outs for some fresh air, hoping that would help.
Monday, February 7th
Today is show day! Today is always fun but also stressful.  I arrived at the barn around 5:30am to find out that some of our students and their families had been at the barn since 3:15am. We got everything washed, dried, and began feeding. We were showing everything from a 6 month old heifer to a 16 month old bull. We had 3 calves in class 1 with one of them placing 3rd in the class. Our next calf was in class 9 and placed 3rd in her class. We then had a heifer place 6th and another place 2nd in her class. The bull placed 4th in his class. All in all, I count it as a successful day. We did not bring home any banners, but we had fun, the kids got experience in the show ring, and hopefully they learned something along the way. We tore down the stalls and I got to leave for the house around 3:30pm. I had to take 4 head back to Wallis and pick up two more. I arrived in Wallis around 7 pm. I picked up two Shorthorn calves around 9pm and headed back for San Antonio to wait in line at Gembler Road. I arrived in line around 1:30am. Today was a very long day!
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Due to the lack of sleep the day before, the sleep I got in the truck overnight at Gembler Road was actually really good. It is amazing where you can sleep and in what various positions you can sleep in if you are tired enough. We left Gembler Road at 1pm or so and got everything unloaded. We got the stalls set up and settled in for the 3 day junior show. We checked in for the Superbowl show and Junior Show. I had 3 students showing heifers and they each brought 2 head. 4 of those 6 heifers are Simbrah. All four were entered into the Superbowl. Thank you to all of the 30 plus sponsors of the Superbowl for putting on another great event for our students. Cody Witzkoski, one of my students, was sick today. I’m hoping he gets better for the shows on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the Beef Skill-a-thon on Wednesday. One of my students left the barn early without cleaning up stalls or putting out hay for their calves. I guess we will have to have a meeting with the parent and the student tomorrow about taking care of your cattle as well as the importance of working together as a team on cleaning stalls and tie outs. I have a feeling that the parent is enabling the behavior of the student. I guess tomorrow I will get to find out what the deal is. Not really looking forward to the conversation but it needs to happen.
Wednesday, February 9th
Today was interesting. I caught the parent of the student that I needed to talk to. The conversation was not pleasant but there were some things that needed to be said. As a teacher I take my job seriously. I am very competitive and like any normal person, I like to win. I love livestock shows, Leadership Contests, and judging contests, but I do not get paid any more money to put up with DRAMA. That is the Drama Teachers area of expertise. I conveyed to that parent that if the drama was going to continue then I would not be hauling heifers to the Houston or Austin shows and that everyone would be doing it on their own. I also told the parent that we would not be hauling cattle to shows next year if the drama did not stop. Time will tell. I stayed away from our stall as much as possible today and watched the whole Simbrah- Simmental Superbowl marathon from the bleachers. I did not help much with the cattle today. With all of the drama at my stalls I stayed away to avoid confrontation. Cody Witzkoski made me proud today. He was very sick on Tuesday and then came into the show ring on Wednesday morning and placed 3rd for the second year in a row in a very tough 17-18 year old showmanship division. He then came back with his Smith Bella Bella x Sargeant daughter and placed 2nd in class and then placed 5th in his class with a Nu Approach daughter. He also participated in the brand new Beef Skill-a-thon today. Even though this event is in its infancy, I believe that it will only get tougher as time goes on. I have heard rumor that there might be a scholarship given to the winner next year. This contest should be won by a Simbrah or Simmental kid as it seems to be a combination of Cattleman’s Quiz and Skill-a-thon at the TJSSA Futurity Show and Simbrah Roundup. Lauren Grigar placed 10th in her class with her Nueman Farms heifer, and 10th in her class with her Reavis Farms heifer. She also won one of the 35 $250 scholarships. I was proud of both of my students that competed in the Superbowl today. I would like to thank all of the 30 plus sponsors for putting in the time and money to make the Superbowl possible. I have seen what Simbrah cattle can do positively for a student. You are changing lives without even being aware of it. THANK YOU!!!! I encourage all the Superbowl participants to write a thank you letter to their sponsor to let them know how you did and to thank them for the opportunity.
Thursday, February 10th
Today started early. I arrived at the barns at 7am, to find my students were already there and proceeding with our normal show day routine. I was glad to see that.  We had one of the 43 calves in Class 1 of the Simbrah Show. Unfortunately we did not make the cut and were excused from the ring. I figured that was going to happen so I was not shocked. Our next Simbrah calf was in Class 9 and we placed 4th. Our next two Simbrah’s were both in class 13 and one was 11th and the other was 19th in a class of 23. Neither one of these were big shockers to me either. I was glad to hear that Simbrah was the largest breed at the San Antonio Jr. Heifer Show. Finally, everyone else is figuring out what a select few of us already knew… Simbrah cattle are great and the Junior Programs are even better!!! With the larger numbers and the stakes getting higher, I hope that the breeders as well as the exhibitors remain honest and ethical in the breeding and raising of Simbrah Cattle. Do our breed a favor is you are unwilling to remain honest and ethical, GET OUT! Now that I am home, it is time to finish our Ag Mechanics projects and get our Commercial Steer Exhibitor ready for contests next week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Life of an Ag Teacher

By: Jayson Hill, Brazos High School Ag Science Teacher
Most of the people in the cattle industry know an Ag Teacher. They more than likely met one when their children were in FFA.  I have often pondered the thought, how many people actually know what an Ag Teacher does on a daily basis. Here is my story.
My wife and I have been married for four years, this past December. We have no kids of our own, but we have approximately 150 kids that we see each day in the classroom. I have been teaching for 7 years, while my wife has been teaching for 3 years. We have taught together for the last three years.
Winter time in Texas means somewhat colder weather, unless you are at a livestock show, then the weather is usually wet and or cold. Major Livestock Show Season, for us at least, starts with the Fort Worth Stock Show in late January and ends with the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo in March. In between those two shows, we stop at the San Antonio Livestock Show and the Houston Livestock Show. This time of year, for me and my wife, is very busy and we are often like to ships passing in the night, spending more time away from each other than we do together. Yes, that is right; we spend more time with our students this time of year than we do with each other.
Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
Thursday, January 20, 2011

We had planned to leave town by 9:30am, but as always, we were running late. We left town at 9:45am. I was hauling two heifers to Fort Worth for my students. One family was coming up later that afternoon, as soon as they got their vehicle out of the repair shop, the other family, Gary, Deanna, and Cody Witzkoski, were going to be following me to Fort Worth.  We drove to Waco and had lunch at a Whataburger. The temperature was steadily dropping and by the time we reached Waco the temperature was already at 36 degrees. It was 60 degrees when we left the house that morning. We arrived at the staging line around 2:45 and waited for 1 ½ hours in the now 34 degree weather. Needless to say, we left the truck running to stay warm. Cody thought it would be a good idea to climb in the back of the truck and “take a nap”. Not sure how much napping he got done, I figured if he was crazy enough to try and sleep in the back of the truck that he was crazy enough to take care of himself. While waiting in line, I took the time to visit with Gary. I enjoy the down times that allow me to visit with the parents. It took us nearly an hour to get everything unloaded and set up. As soon as we got to the cattle barn, I had Cody wash both heifers so we could get the stalls set up. I sent Deanna to get bedding straw and shavings from the feed store.  We finally got the heifers fed and in the tie outs around 7:45pm. As we walked out the truck, I was thankful that we were no longer waiting in the staging line.  It was not too long of a day, but the traveling wore me out.

Friday, January 21, 2011
Today started off very cold, 20 degrees to be exact.  Like normal, I was the first one to arrive at our stalls. I went to check on our heifers at the tie-outs. Why Fort Worth Stock Show officials feel the need to stall you in Cattle Barn 4 and then put you in tie outs at Barn 1, I will never know.  Heifers were still laid up in the three foot of straw my kids laid down for the night before.  We finished hanging up our stall decorations, not my number one priority but our kids like it and so do their moms, so we do it. I will continue to do stall decorations as long as someone else decides how to decorate.  At 12 noon they began the Heifer Sift. We got both of ours through no problem. It never fails though, that I have that last minute thought of “are the tattoos correct?” even after I have checked them a hundred times. One of my students failed to get their heifer clipped before heading to Fort Worth, even though I asked them if I needed to clip the heifer at the beginning of January. They told me someone else was going to do it, and of course they did not. Had I known earlier, I would have planned on having it done before we left. The kid let me know he needed me to clip his heifer on Tuesday before we were to leave on Thursday. I guess they forgot that I had to get work together for my classes while I was gone, gather tools for the Area Tractor Tech Contest that was happening on Friday, get clothes from the cleaners, practice with my tractor tech team, and then go home and pack for the trip. So needless to say, we clipped her today.  The student wants to learn how to clip a heifer so badly, that he wants to try and clip his heifer the day before the show. Being the “teacher” that I am, I handed the student the clippers. Let’s just say that I am not very hopeful of his ability to clip heifers.  He butchered the face of his heifer; luckily it was the left side. While clipping his heifer, I heard numerous announcements from the show officials about not having trim chutes on the concrete or asphalt, about not building pens in the cattle barns, about not using the sheep and goat barn wash racks, and numerous other things. It seems that they must have recorded those announcements one time, and then played them back over the PA over and over again. Throughout the day, my students, their parents, and I spent the day catching up with old friends and making new ones. I truly believe that the people I have met and gotten to know in the cattle barns are some of the best people on earth. 
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Today is show day number one.  I am fortunate to have students that know the show day routine. They arrive early, wash, blow, and then feed. This allows me to arrive early, but does not require me to arrive at the crack of dawn. I really cannot do anything while they are doing all of that anyways. We had a Shorthorn that showed today. Unfortunately, the heifer has not been taken care of like she should. As an Ag Teacher, I check on the projects at home, I give suggestions, but at the end of the day it is not my project, it is not my time that the heifer requires, and it is not my money that needs to be spent for feed, hay, and medications. This has to be the most frustrating part of teaching. I try my best to put the kids on the best animals that they can afford, but I can do very little when the animal reaches the house. Our Shorthorn today was obviously 300 lbs or more underweight when comparing it to the others in the class. The student was upset when he was placed last in the class. This gave me the opportunity to drive home the point of consistency of feeding. I feel like this is the biggest mistake when feeding show animals. People are either switching feeds, do not feed the same amount daily, or do not feed at the same times each day. Consistency is very important, no matter the livestock project. After the Shorthorn show, I began working with a student of mine that was participating in the Superintendents Heifer Challenge. I quizzed him on the study material that was provided him, and then we worked on a sales talk for him.  Unfortunately, my student did not score high enough to make it to the finals. I would highly suggest all seniors who qualify for the Superintendents Heifer Challenge to do so and I would like to thank the Fort Worth Heifer Show Superintendents, Devon Energy and the other sponsors for giving the students this wonderful opportunity.

Sunday, January 23, 2011
Today was an easy day. We did not have any cattle to show, so I did what I love to do and that is catch up with old friends and to make new ones. The cattle barn is the best place in the world to meet new friends because you already have something in common… cattle. I walked around the cattle barns, looked at cattle, and talked with some great Simbrah folks. I finally got the chance to wait in line for a Cowboy Burrito for lunch. It was worth it and I did not share. For dinner I ate at the Macaroni Grill with the Onstot and Witzkoski families. I am sure that my wife was jealous of me because I was in great company while she was at home by herself.  Tomorrow will be a busy day of getting our Simbrah cattle ready for show and then loading up and driving home.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Today is Simbrah show day. I love it. Cody was in class 9. When we got to the exercise arena, one of the superintendents informed us that he was a single entry. Cody did not believe us, until he went into the ring. He thought we were pulling his leg, and most of the time he would be correct. We gladly took our blue ribbon and headed back in for the division drive. Unfortunately the division was packed with several good cattle. Cody was not selected for champion or reserve division champion. While my students were tearing down the stalls and getting ready to load, I stayed and watched the rest of the show. As soon as the show was over, I headed to the truck to go get our trailer. I arrived at the trailer lot at 3:45pm and sat in line until 6:45 pm. I think that this part of the Fort Worth Stock Show definitely needs improvement. Hog, Lamb, and Cattle trailers were all in the same line and were heading to different barns, why they could not separate them like San Antonio I will never know.  My kids were back at the barn and told me that our barn had all kinds of open spots to park and load. When I arrived at the barn around 6:45pm, my two head were the last ones in Barn 4. We pulled out of the Stock Show grounds at 7pm, and settled in the for the 5 hour ride home. I dropped the calves off at the kid’s houses and told them to pick up their show boxes and tack at school on Tuesday. I got home at 12:45am. I had livestock judging practice at 7:30am the next morning. When I laid down my mind transferred out of livestock show mode and into Ag Mechanics mode. I began thinking of everything that we have to do to have them ready for the Ag Mechanics show in San Antonio on Feb 18-20. Hopefully we finish, as the students building the projects are both seniors and will not have a chance to show these projects again. The stress level is rising- Livestock Shows, Ag Mechanics projects, judging teams, and I cannot forget about the wife! Thank goodness she understands me and my crazy life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Advertising Is Important For Your Business

by Martha Hollida Garrett

Businesses exist to sell products and services to the public for a profit. If the public does not know that your program exists, finding customers to make enough purchases for your ranch to survive will be a failure without some additional help. Advertising is an important factor in business because it gets the word out about your Simbrah program and establishes a presence and a brand about what you are offering.

One of the best ways to advertise is by word of mouth, also known as referral marketing or referral advertising. When other people hear good things about your business or they have a positive experience shopping with your business, they become walking billboards for your business without you having to spend additional money on advertising to create it.

Advertising in your breed publication is also important
-- so that you can be recognized as an effective source of genetics. You can extend your advertising approach out to websites, local papers, other publications, as well, in order to reach wider audiences, but the revenue from your business should be able to pay for advertising costs for these methods to bring you the value you are looking for.

Making sure that enough people know that you exist, who are naturally interested in your cattle is a great way to bring in customers and increase the profit of your business.

Simbrah World is only published twice a year, so you only have two opportunities in 12 months to get your message out to that mailing list, which represents all Simbrah breeders, junior exhibitors and of course commercial cattlemen. You also have an advertising avenue available on, plus the once a year Simbrah special section in Southern Livestock Standard.

A mere $1,500 spent on promotion, can get you in all four of the only true Simbrah advertising outlets you have.  This represents enough dollars to have a web box ad, two half pages in the magazine and a half page in Southern Livestock--WHAT A BARGAIN. Compare the value of your cattle against that--isn't it worth spending $1,500 or even more to let people know you have Simbrahs?

The spring Simbrah World deadline is January 30th. Call Martha today 903/316-8465 or email her at Simbrah World website ads can be added at any time and the feature section in Southern Livestock is in August.