Soapweed's Ranch Ramblings
The writings of a Nebraska Sandhills cattle rancher!

Cowboy Philosophy
June 29, 2002

There were two local ranchers, "Joe" and "Moe" (not their real names) visiting together quite a few years ago. They were both good hands but philosophically on very opposite sides of the spectrum. Joe was a perfectionist, having high quality cattle and ranched in a very orderly fashion. He was the one in the area that everyone else looked up to. Moe was more of an adventurer, kind of operated by the seat of his pants, and could almost be considered "slip-shod." Joe was talking right along, telling Moe many of his "rules of ranching." Moe nodded regularly and seemed to be impressed with Joe's knowledge. When Joe paused to catch his breath, Moe slipped in his part of the conversation. He said, "I have only one rule to my ranching." Joe leaned intently forward, and asked "And what would that be?" Moe stated, "My only rule of ranching is that I don't follow any rules."

Both of these gentlemen spent their lives ranching. Both prospered; Joe because he did everything right, and Moe because he never spent any money. Joe was one of the first in the area to go "mechanized." Moe used work horses right up until he retired, and fed hay with a two-horse team and harness that barely hung together. Joe died quite a few years ago, but died happy and with everyone's respect. Moe was one of my childhood heroes, and I have helped him on many cowboy escapades through the years. His projects always turned into great adventures, usually for the simple reason that he was unorganized and unprepared, but the outcomes were always "interesting." Moe continues to enjoy retirement, and his life is still a grand adventure. He also has many friends.

I guess the only point of this exortation is that there are "different strokes for different folks." No one is any more "right" than anyone else. As long as a person is happy, healthy and getting their "three squares" every day, and hopefully making a little money, what difference does it make on their methods. Honesty should always be the major part of anybody's program, and if someone else has to get tromped on for the first person to get ahead, is it worth it?

In my case, the drought has me far more worried than whether the check-off goes or stays. Lack of rain could break me. Ranchers survived for many decades without the check-off, but they don't survive indefinitely without rain.

There is a lot of bickering going on concerning the check-off. I'm kind of middle-of-the-road concerning the issue, though I would like to see it stay. I think there is going to have to be some compromising for it to work. My impression is that the instigators of the lawsuit are not against the check-off as much as they are against the NCBA. The purists want to keep things just as it has been, but in my humble opinion the antagonists are going to do everything in their power to not let that happen. A compromise will have to be worked out. Good luck.






Copyright © 2005 Steve Moreland
All Rights Reserved