Creativity VS Old Paradigms 

I like to think of myself as a creative person, after all I do have an Art degree! I’m also young (27) and prior to my internships I had no agricultural experience. This means that I’m open to new ideas and I don’t have any old habits to kick. I should be the most creative person in the pasture, right? Whoa, not so fast!

Today I was once again blown away by Ian’s wisdom. To tell you this story I need to give you some background.

Even after two internships and reading countless books on the subject of ranching/grazing I was still unsure about being able to ranch in Colorado the way I wanted to. For me this means; high density grazing, custom grazing, mob grazing and practicing Holistic Management. I knew I could do the Holistic Management part, anyone can use it to plan their lives, but that is another subject entirely.

Let’s get back to the story. I was already, with my limited experience, of the belief that I had to be a cow-calf producer in order to make money from ranching. Please, don’t get me wrong, many people make good money from running a cow-calf operation!

As I got more comfortable with asking Ian questions (which didn’t take longer than 2 hours, ask him!) I started talking to him about my concerns with ranching in Colorado. “How was I going to feed and water cattle through the winter when we can get 4 feet of snow from one storm?” “How am I going to get startup capital?” “How can I grow more stockpiled grass for winter grazing?” “Where am I going to get hay?” “What if I don’t want to feed hay?” The questions went on and on in my head and I only asked Ian a few of them, because his responses answered most of the questions I had.

You may be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with creativity?” Well, Ian’s response to my questions were, for me, like a slap in the face (in a good way). He told me that there is no limit to what I can do in Colorado. The only limitation is my creativity. Maybe I don’t run cattle all year long. Maybe I just graze someone else’s cattle for 6 months of the year and then bugger off to South America. Or, maybe I can sell/buy cattle similar to Bud William’s marketing techniques. Maybe I get 200 sheep and mow people’s yard and charge them for it, then sell the sheep at the end of the growing season and take a vacation to Vail and ski for 2 months. Maybe I graze replacement heifers for a diary 1 month and the next it’s someone’s steers. Maybe I charge people to come out to participate in a cattle drive with their horses. Maybe some years I don’t have any cattle. Maybe I graze corn stalks with cattle and sell them nice and fat during the winter and get a good price.

The lesson I learned is that we are only limited by our creativity. It’s inspiring to have someone like Ian tell you that you can do anything. I have so much confidence now that when I get back to Colorado I know that Jessica and I can find something that will work for us. Maybe it will be a cow-calf operation, maybe it won’t even be cattle. But we will find something that works for us.

I’m the type of person that when I get an idea, I like to go for it. Ian has taught me to just think for a while before I take the plunge.

Got creativity?

Chris Stelzer

Chris Stelzer is a published Author, founder of Agricultural Insights and creator of many resources that help family farmers and ranchers grow their businesses. His flagship courses are the Grazing Mastery Program and The Farm Marketing Mastery Program. 

Chris Stelzer

related posts:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get in touch