I'm Still Energized About Potential From Good Stockmanship

Fodder for Thought

New knowledge like low-stress stockmanship helps us perceive the world anew and also reshape our relationship to it.

Published on: October 31, 2013

I’ve said before and I’ll continue to say it: The beef industry still needs more stockmanship.

Stockmanship, also known as low-stress livestock handling, can lead to significant cost savings for beef producers and ultimately leads to healthier, more productive cattle.

In the past I’ve attended several stockmanship clinics with experts like Curt Pate of Montana and veterinarian Tom Noffsinger of Nebraska. On October 30, I attended another one of these types of clinics in Livingston, MT. This latest clinic is sponsored by Montana-based Western Sustainability Exchange, a group focused on the power of markets and education to improve the economic and financial viability of sustainable land managers.

The October 30 clinic will be the second leg of a three-day series (click here for more info) featuring fourth-generation Montana rancher and editor of the Stockmanship Journal, Whit Hibbard. It will focus on the principles, techniques and practical application of stockmanship.

I got to spend some time with Hibbard a little over a month ago during a trip to his family’s operation, Sieben Live Stock’s Dog Creek Ranch, and I can tell you that a visit with him is time well spent. As my Australian friend who came along for the visit said, it was a real-world version of a Great Minds Symposium.

By the time readers receive this week’s Beef Producer newsletter in their email and read this blog, this clinic series will be close to or entirely past. Despite the late notice, however, I plan on recording the key nuggets of information that I am sure Hibbard will impart on the clinic audience and sharing that in a follow-up blog next week.

If you have not already, I would encourage you to consider attending a stockmanship event near you. We are fortunate in our industry today to have so many skilled individuals sharing and teaching their knowledge on low stress livestock handling with others - individuals such as Hibbard, Curt Pate, Temple Grandin, Bob Kinford, Tina Williams and Richard McConnell, Tom Noffsinger, Guy Glosson, Grahame Rees, and the list goes on.

The point is, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience stored away in the minds of these individuals. I hope more people realize that. We need to start taking more advantage of it. As a young person, I know I plan on taking that advantage of this fact as often as I possibly can. You should too.

Because as author Peter M. Senge said, “Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we were never able to do. Through learning we re-perceive the world and our relationship to it. Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life.”

Through learning more about stockmanship, we become better individuals, better stockman, and we raise the general quality of life for ourselves and our livestock. Who wouldn’t want that?