Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

December 1997


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XV December 9, 10 and 11, 1997, Rapid City, South Dakota.


The word networking was one of the buzzwords of the eighties. More recently, it has become one of the hot topics of the swine industry. Networking has been defined as a means of gaining access to a set of advantages which by yourself, or with your own resources, you would not be able to acquire. So networking is about working with other people to gain an advantage. The advantage might be in marketing, information, purchasing, labor, or capital investments. There are examples of successful networks in every human endeavor. History is full of examples. But what does networking have to do with the cow-calf industry in the northern plains? The argument is that cattlemen are an independent group, and that we like it that way. The opposite of independence is dependence, and cattlemen don't like being dependent on anyone or anything. However, networking is about interdependence. Successful networks are synergistic. That is, the activity of individuals in the network will serve to enhance the efforts of all the other members of the group. To meet our common goals, we need every advantage, especially ones that we cannot gain by ourselves. Because it allows us to gain an advantage, networking has become a very important and timely concept for today's cattle industry.