I’m Crazy and You Are Too 

Yep, the title is 100% accurate for both of us. You already know that I’m crazy. Now I’m telling you that you are out of your mind too! What am I talking about?

I now live in Greeley, Colorado. A big agricultural community and home to 100,000 people. There are a lot of crop farmers, feedlots and confinement dairies in this area. So when I went to the Colorado Farm Show in Greeley this week I don’t know what I was expecting to see or find out. I just wanted to go!

My goal is to start networking and meeting people here in Colorado. I don’t really know that many people here in Colorado in the ranching/cattle/grazing/agriculture business.

Well the farm show was pretty cool if you enjoy giving your money to other people. Tractors, trucks, trailers, cars, and high tech gadgets were abundant. You could say there was a “Mob” of tractors! There were probably 200 vendors trying to sell their stuff, which I have no problem with. No one is forced to buy anything. However, when I hear these farmers/ranchers complaining about not making any money I stop and laugh. STOP BUYING THINGS YOU DON’T NEED. It’s that simple.

After I walked though the Mob of tractors I found a few classrooms. In one of them there was a panel of speakers. Four out of the five were feedlot operators/buyers and one guy was from CattleFax. The guy from CattleFax was really sharp and I enjoyed listening to him. The other four guys were very nice but they were in the business of feedlots. Not necessary my interest, but I stayed and listened to their talk.

They talked about all sorts of numbers, EPDs (what ever the hell that is) and all sorts of jargon. When it was all said and done I was happy that I attended. I learned how these people think, what they are looking for and how they operate their businesses. These guys were all very nice and hard working people. They are just conventional thinkers. That’s fine.

At one point the conversation turned to how all of the ranchers in the country are old and tired and their kids don’t want to come back to the ranch. They were asking “how are we going to keep our ranches alive?”  Then a few older ranchers made the suggestion of partnering or hiring young people to come work on their ranches. So, I stood up and introduced myself to the room full of people and said I was looking to form a beneficial partnership with a rancher and I would be in the hall if anyone wanted to talk. So I went out to the hall and waited, every single “old rancher” walked right by me, not interested. Oh well, I will keep trying!

The thing that stuck me was that I realized how isolated I am. I’m so thankful to have the Ag Insights community or I would probably go crazier than I already am. But realize this, if you are reading this blog then you are already pretty much guaranteed to not be a conventional thinker. Realize that when you go out and talk to your neighbors(conventional thinkers) or other farmers/ranchers they will think you are absolutely crazy if you start talking to them about this grazing management or sustainable agriculture stuff. Crazy! I want to make the point that I’m not trying to criticize them. I’m not saying we are better than they are. The fact of the matter is that they are conventional thinkers and that is fine. However, realize that we need to support each other here at Ag Insights because most other farmers and ranchers will think we are out of our minds.

I enjoy being an outsider. I enjoy learning and and trying new things. However, being a unconventional thinker will isolate you. It might get lonely. But, realize that we are here to support each other! I’m reminded about my time in South Africa with Ian. All of Ian’s neighbors think he’s crazy. Yet, he comes to America for 3 months every year to talk about ranching and people flock to go hear him speak. Go figure.

Don’t be discouraged by conventional thinkers. Just smile, nod and don’t talk about your crazy ideas unless they ask you. Maintain good working relationships with your neighbors, you’ll need their help and some point, and they will need yours.

Keep being crazy.

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

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