Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 2003


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XVIII December 9, 10, and 11, 2003, Mitchell, Nebraska.


Since hindsight is always 20:20, important decisions made over a long career in the ranching business have gained a clarity that was surely missing while in the midst of making them. Or have they? With the destinations of the chosen paths clear, but the destinations of those paths not taken only a distant memory of what might have been, rationalization becomes a powerful force in evaluation. While ranch managers search for the perfect lenses to gain strategic advantages for the future, the lenses used to view the past are often clouded with blame, self-doubt, and perhaps, jealousy. And many times, the glass we try to view the past with is not a lens at all, but a dirty mirror. “I made the best decision I could have with the information I had at the time,” has long been the rallying call of those who deny themselves the opportunity to learn, or in their heart of hearts, wish for a second chance. The rare opportunity to manage the precious natural resources, grazing livestock, invested capitol, and human resources that make up a beef cattle ranching operation demands better. An honest appraisal of the past is a difficult challenge. And yet, the ability to conduct such an appraisal of the past is clearly a high leverage point for future success.