Chair of the Beef Marketing Group Lee Borck Talks About the Risk and Rewards of Feeding CattleTue, 22 Aug 2017 16:03:55 CDT
Lee Borck became a cattle feeder in 1978, after an initial career with the Farm Credit System. Feeding was attractive, but he learned to manage risk from the loan officer side.
“They were the folks that weren't afraid to try new things,” Bork said. “They were taking more risk. They got more bumps, but they got more rewards at the same time. And one thing that I learned in being at Production Credit and on the financing side… I didn't learn so much what to do, but you could certainly see the mistakes people made in the way that they looked at their business plan and not thinking far enough out in front as to what might happen to them.”
To watch a video featuring Lee Borck, Manhattan, Kansas-based chairman of Integrated Livestock Systems and the Beef Marketing Group Cooperative, talk about risk and reward in cattle feeding for consumers, click or tap the PLAYBOX below.
Not even the most cautious planners figured on 18% interest in the early 1980s, but Borck weathered that storm and later reflected, it’s possible to be TOO careful.
“You've got to have a few failures to learn what not to do again… To be really successful you have to be able to make a decision when you have 65% of the information that is available of the 100% total information that's out there,” he said. “If you wait till you get to 90% all the good deals are gone because everybody else has made that decision. But that also means that occasionally you're going to fail and you're going to go backwards. But if you can make seven or eight deals out of ten work, you're going to move ahead and you're going to move ahead pretty good.”
One notable exception, where cattle producers cannot afford to fail, is in pleasing beef consumers.
“Somebody buys a steak from one of my animals and they go home and eat it,” remarked Borck. “They're not going to bring that steak back like they do if they get a defect in a refrigerator, or a tire, or something else that they buy. They just don't come back and buy another steak for a while.”
The key to producing fail-proof beef, Borck says, is branding backed by attributes consumers want.
“And the big change isn't so much that we're producing animals that taste better, that eat better, as much that it is that we're recognizing that we've got to produce what the consumer wants,” Borck explained. “Rather than producing what we want and saying what will you give me for it. We know there's a premium market that's out there for cattle with certain attributes, and it has changed the way that we do business.”
Borck, honored with the 2017 Industry Achievement Award at this year’s Feeding Quality Forum, suggests beef producers should worry less about failing in their endless quest to earn more dollars from consumers.
Source - Certified Angus Beef
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