Some registered Texas Longhorn producers are highly successful. Some are not. In viewing the different groups over a period of 56 years, I am of the opinion that three plans are important to be successful. The three business plans involve a financing plan, a genetic plan, and a marketing plan. Every successful Longhorn producer has thought out these three plans and identified a system that works. No exceptions! None! Lets look at each one of these individually and study the success traits that have been profitable to many.
Group of people with Darol Dickinson loaded onto Ranger to view Texas Longhorn Inventory
1. The financing plan - This is the easy one. Where ever you live there are probably a thousand people within a hundred miles that have the funds necessary to buy a herd of Longhorn cattle, buy a ranch, and maintain those cattle properly for many, many, years. That ability is something many people have.
We must always keep in mind that a profitable cow herd is not like the stock market, you can't buy it today and sell it tomorrow. The key to livestock production profit is the gestation period, which is over nine months. One critter becomes two in a nine month period. They do not normally gain and lose value rapidly like the stock market. Anyone starting to raise registered Texas Longhorn cattle should allow a certain period of time in order to adequately utilize numerous gestation periods. That plan makes a safe and comfortable operation for a consistent return on the investment.
2. The genetic plan - Anywhere Texas Longhorn producers gather, there will be discussions about good genetics and also bad ones. Certain families of cattle are known to bring good prices based on their continued market demand. There are always people wanting to buy certain families of cattle. Other cattle may be seldom, if ever mentioned. You could have a whole herd of them and no one would ever want to buy. There were originally seven families of unrelated Longhorn cattle. Four of these families are held in very high esteem and may be purchased and/or produced at a reasonable profit. If per chance you become locked in with genetics, that are of low esteem, the ability to show a profit raising the cattle could be very minimal or even a loss. The genetic plan is very important to identify the most superior and sought after genetics and multiply only those animals.
Trends come and go on special colors, horn shapes, and bloodlines. The safe genetic plan is to produce the total animal that is the highest consistent quality in all value traits such as long horn, flashy color, correct conformation, rapid growth, pleasant disposition, and respected pedigrees. Play it safe.
3. The marketing plan - The financing plan is easy, the genetic plan is not that difficult to identify, but, the marketing plan is where more people fail than any other. The marketing plan requires work. It requires hours on the telephone, advertising, and dealing with the public. If you are a "people person" and you enjoy visiting with people and dealing with people, the marketing part will be fun. If you do not like to work with people and do not like to market or sell things, you will find the marketing plan very difficult with your personality.
The good thing about marketing is that, it's basically the same whether you are selling commodities, cattle, or Amway. It involves the same basic approach. Most people who do not market well fail to allocate adequate time and thought for their marketing program. Fortunately, thousands of books have been written on marketing by people who are the very best in their field. Marketing skills can be researched at any public library to the highest degree. The same skills required to sell cars, can be used to sell diamonds or Texas Longhorns. In fact, Texas Longhorns are much easier than either one of those.
Check the www.texaslonghorn.com site for numerous articles on cattle marketing. Videos are also available and the "Marketing Manual" at $19.50 is a short cut in developing a good marketing plan.
The three plans are the three steps to guaranteed success in raising registered Texas Longhorns. Every producer I have ever known that seriously worked at these three plans, has become a profitable and successful producer. When the plans are properly engineered and the business is approached like a business it becomes very enjoyable. The people who skip any of these three steps are almost guarantee to fail. Take my advice. Make your plans, and work the plan. The rewards are numerous. I guarantee it.