Walk the Farm

    A presentation at a recent Dairy Conference was entitled, “Walk The Farm If You Want to Know the Truth.”  The speaker cited his experiences as manager of a large, up-scale, 14 floor hotel.  Starting early each  morning he would walk all of the halls, checking rooms, lounge areas, kitchen, restaurant, and even bookkeeping entries. He would then confer with the responsible staff and remedy any problems  He did this three times every day.  He said as he did this there were less and less problems. 

    His point was, whether managing a hotel or a dairy, if you want to know what’s really going on, you need to have an eyes-on presence  in every key area — several times a day. The information he gets from personal observation is more valuable than verbal or written reports from subordinates. 

    For a dairyman, I think eye-balling the cows is a must.  My friend and former colleague, Dr. Bob Scott, often said, “The most valuable time a dairyman spends on his farm is when he is leaning on a fence looking at his cows.”   I agree.  

    It”s not only about being on-site and looking around — the very presence and subliminal mental input of the manager adds another element to the equation of success that makes the whole operation more cohesive, more productive, and more profitable.   As Dr. Marvin Cain, DVM, so succinctly put it, “Thoughts Are Things”.

    In 160 BC an old Roman, Cato the Elder, wrote a treatise on agriculure titled 'De Re Agri Cola.”  He wrote: “The master’s eye doth fat the ox, his foot doth fat the ground”.   I interpret this to mean that in order to have healthy and productive soils, crops, and animals, the Master must be personally involved in caring for both.   Walk the Farm!

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