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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

equipment for use on the ranch, and most of it needs at least a little work. “I probably spend close to a quarter of my time fi xing up equipment that I bought cheap. Often, I use it for a while and then sell it for a profi t. Then, I do it again,” relates Thode. “But you do have to make the effort to learn what stuff is worth.” ROBERTS RANCH LABEL Thode fears many producers devote too little effort to savvy sourcing of inputs, or to marketing cattle. Producers whose programs are built on carefully chosen genetics and reams of performance data should use it when marketing their cattle, rather than simply hauling calves to the sale barn and hoping for the best. He admits that Roberts Ranch cattle don’t have a reputation for exceptional feed conversion rates or the highest carcass merit, but they do have sought after qualities. “They’re going to live,” grins Thode. “They’re healthy and they qualify for an ‘all natural’ program. We sell them at the auction barn, but I work at recruiting buyers to be there on sale day. If I can get at least two guys interested, it creates more competition. Just an extra bid or two can be enough to cover the costs of transportation and commission.” Thode also hopes to use the ranch’s historical signifi cance to develop and market certifi ed organic lines of grass-fed and grain-fed beef bearing a Roberts Ranch label. He’s also working with the current owners of The Forks about the opportunity to leverage their shared history, and put Roberts Ranch beef on the restaurant’s menu. Always seeking to establish mutually benefi cial relationships, Thode advises young producers to establish a wide network of “neighbors” with which they can trade goods and services. A prime example is Thode’s practice of swapping hunting and fi shing privileges for fence building and repair. “I try to avoid paying full retail for anything,” states Thode. “But you have to know how to negotiate, and that’s becoming a lost art.” Thode laments the fact that old-fashioned horse-trading sometimes has a negative connotation. In his opinion, it shouldn’t be that way. A good bargain, resulting in value received by both parties, should be based on honesty, integrity and trust. “We all need to teach that to our kids,” offers Thode. “And we need to teach them how to work. We don’t do a very good job of that anymore. A good start might be to tell them to shut down their electronic devices, go outside and get dirty doing something.” Come See Us at the NATIONAL FINALS RODEO Roper Cowboy Marketplace This is your Monday through Friday and weekends trailer. Load it and slam the gates. Pull it down gravel roads and across pastures, to the auction or to the county fair. Wilson aluminum gooseneck livestock trailers are built with the same toughness as the Wilson semi-sized livestock trailers and with the durability you can count on day after day. All Wilson gooseneck aluminum livestock trailers are made with riveted construction making them more rugged for on or off road use. See How a Wilson Can Work for You! Call 800-798-2002 for the Dealer Nearest You! 4400 S. Lewis Blvd. • Sioux City, IA 51106 sales@wilsontrailer.com www.wilsontrailer.com GET A * Rebate offer does not include bumper hitch model. $500 REBATE* Just For Talking To Us Manager Zach Thode plans on keeping some of the ranch’s “hard Hereford” genetics in the herd because they don’t eat much and they get pregnant every year. However, he is using Angus and composite bulls to capitalize on the added productivity and longevity of crossbred cows. CAITI HLADKY NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017 I WORKING RANCH I 79


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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