It takes 40 years to learn how to handle cattle, but you can go to Philadelphia and learn to be a lawyer in eight.

— Bud Williams

Why Proper Marketing and/or Proper Stockmanship?

by Richard McConnell

What is Proper Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship?

I used to worry about the price of cattle all the time. And even after handling cattle for 30 years, the cattle seldom would go where I wanted them to go.

But what if you didn’t have to guess the cattle market? What if moving your cattle were a truly pleasant experience no one dreaded? What if you could make all daily impactful decisions with confidence?

Our two schools go “hand in hand” to teach cattle producers—both small and large—how to enjoy a healthier, calmer, sustainable, and MORE profitable farming operation.

The Bud Williams’ Sell/Buy Marketing school teaches how to never guess the market again.

And, the Proper Stockmanship school teaches how to communicate with your herd to protect their best results in production and handling.

Why we teach Proper Stockmanship and Marketing

Bud Williams was named in the top 10 beef industry innovations by Beef Producer in 2011 before he died in 2012. You see, Bud had worked on ranches all over the west, from Alaska to Texas, for nearly 60 years implementing and perfecting his cattle managing and marketing techniques on all sizes of operations. He eventually became a highly sought after “fixer” for ranch operations.

When I met my wife, Tina Williams (Bud and Eunice’s daughter), I’d been handling cattle for over 30 years.

After getting to know Bud and participating in his early stockmanship and marketing schools, Tina and I were able to implement his training with great success. Seeing a huge difference, we decided to start teaching schools too.

We just can’t let Bud’s insightful wisdom and knowledge be forgotten!

Richard, what’s your marketing plan?

Early on, Tina and I made a trip to visit Bud and Eunice in Bowie, TX, an 8-hour drive from where we live in Southwest Missouri. And after the initial hellos and hugs, the girls went off to the computer room leaving Bud and me alone in the living room.

After visiting a bit, Bud turned to me and asked, “Richard, what’s your marketing plan?”

I said, “Well, Bud, I sell a few calves in the spring and sell a few calves in the fall.”

Without a sound or a word, Bud just got up and walked off. And I KNEW in that gesture I had said the WRONG thing.

You see, Bud was well beyond conventional marketing. He probably figured there was no hope for me.

What is Sell/Buy Marketing?

I used to worry about the price of livestock all the time. Most folks think that when you buy a product and then later you sell that product for more, that gives you a profit. But this leaves you wide open to whatever the market wants to give you for that product the day you sell it. . . thus why I worried.

Fully understanding Sell/Buy gives you knowledge and confidence. With sell/buy, you profit based on what you can replace that product for. You focus on selling a product that is overvalued and buying back a product that is undervalued on the same market.

It’s a totally different way of looking at marketing. Because at different times, there are different animals that are wanted more (overvalued) and animals that are wanted less (undervalued). We teach you how to see and take advantage of the opportunities, so you never have to worry or guess the market.

You see, too, the inventory you are considering in your transaction choices includes more than just the animals; it includes your feed and money too. Whenever you delete a part of your inventory, you have to replace it with something. The best thing to do is replace it at a profit!

Even for cow/calf operators, from the time that calf is about 3 months old or 300 pounds, they become a stocker operator as well as, and during that overlap time, operators need to consider the over or under value of their inventory: stock, feed, and money.

All this Bud used to figure with pencil and calculator. Our school now teaches you how to do this in the spreadsheets we provide so you can quickly see where to take advantage of your best opportunities.

We can teach you how to be a profitable ranch manger, confidently knowing when, what, where, how, and why to sell your product in the current market, NOT what you HOPE the market will be a few months later on. Hope is never a good marketing strategy.

Everybody knows how to drive cattle – so why learn Stockmanship?

Everybody just kinda knows how to get cattle to move. I’d been calling herds for years, and it had worked really well as far as moving them to the next pasture.

But. . . if I wanted to skip 2 or 3 pastures or get them in the corral . . . it was nearly impossible. That quickly becomes a problem. Then I’m not happy with the livestock and the livestock aren’t happy with me. Usually my helpers weren’t happy either (and heaven help me if my helpers were family!).

You see, my only option at those points was to get behind and try to force the herd on. But now the whole situation is backwards, because where before I’d always been out in front, now all of a sudden I’m on the opposite side and they are looking back at me. Now they are not facing the right direction, and I’ve got to get them to turn around.

The next day after our first Stockmanship school from Bud, Tina and I were able to train our herd to drive. You’d be amazed at how quickly animals pick up on the RIGHT signals. After that, we didn’t call them anymore. Bud taught us how to train our herds to handle and take pressure.

Livestock should handle for us. We put them in a training situation always toward the day we are going to gather, sort, wean, load, sell, or whatever we are going to do with them. We want that to be an easy time for the stock as well as for the handlers. It’s always nice when you get finished with the days’ event, and everybody is happy. . . including the livestock that have been handled!

Looking back I thought I knew a lot about driving cattle. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was only a very small way into learning a much larger subject than I could have imagined!

Why is Proper Stockmanship important to profitability?

Let’s say a stocker is gaining only 1 and a half pounds per day, but it could be gaining 2 pounds a day through the use of better stockmanship. The lack of proper stockmanship is losing a half a pound a day. And then if you have 50 calves missing out on a half a pound a day weight-gain, that quickly adds up!

I often relate this to being able to easily see a dead calf. You immediately know you’ve lost the total weight of that calf.

But it’s a lot harder to notice the loss of that equal weight in very small increments every day across the whole herd.

It’s not just theory. A feed-lot using Bud’s techniques reported a $7,200 loss from using a more traditional rodeo event. See the story here.

Another example from a large feed-lot in Southern Alberta. The lot’s accountant was worried the books had under-reported $89,000 in health costs from the year before! Turns out they spent $115,000 the year before and only $26,000 in health costs the next year after Bud had worked with them. See the story here.

You can easily change your methods and techniques with the right signals to get better results when you go to gather, sort, wean, and load stock making it easier on you AND the stock you are handling.

How Proper Marketing and Stockmanship goes “Hand ‘n Hand”

You don’t have to take both schools to see an immediate improvement. Students often report they make their money back on the marketing class in the very next trip to the sale barn. And they report substantial improvements the very next time they work cattle. But you may find the knowledge of both schools go “hand in hand” for a more productive and rewarding operation.

What do people think about our schools?

From Rob:

Thank you so very much; this has been THE BEST online course that I have taken. There are online courses where once you buy the course they see their end as done. You guys have over delivered to the tenth degree. It is very clear to me that you want this to be a course that empowers you for life. There is no doubt in my mind that it will! I had a fellow ask me about this sell/buy; I said you just have to take the course at handnhand to start!

I highly recommend this course to anyone who is in the livestock business and honestly in any business! I just was a little overwhelmed to get yet more content! I couldn’t imagine taking this all in two days!

From Victor:

I am a veterinarian, and as I went around preg checking this fall the information that you shared helped a great deal. We processed record numbers of animals with a lot less struggles and happier crews at the end of the day. Thank you for having shared this information with myself and others.

From Lester and Karen:

We want to share with you how happy we are with your class that was held in Wawota this past June. We sent our son to learn a little bit about marketing but mostly for the livestock management. He came back self confident and relaxed with the skills that you taught him. We have moved, sorted, and tagged cattle twice since the course and thx to the course, he moves the cattle quietly and calmly and also reminds us of what to do. Thank you. The difference between is night and day

From Tim:

The sell/buy concept is fascinating, and Richard and Tina do a great job teaching it. Once they explain how it works, they release the spreadsheets that do all of the calculations. Very interesting and well worth the investment. We have already started implementing.

Read more testimonials here.

If you don’t like it, get your money back

If you think about it, if you saved only 1 calf as a result of coming to even one of our schools, it would more than pay for the school.

Bottom line, if you don’t find value from the school, we’ll gladly give your money back. It’s just that simple.

We’d love to have you join us!




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