PREFACE: As an introduction to this month’s column, please be advised that there will only be three more editions of the “Knightro Report”, as we conclude the many years of serving the meat and livestock industry in its present form. However, consideration is being given to an expanded, more people-oriented version column, as per the following.
Don’t short yourself — go long! What a contradiction of terms, as this column has always been all about shorting the market as a hedge strategy against lower prices. It’s called PRICE PROTECTION – an integral part of livestock market planning.
So, why such a lead line if the audience I’m trying to reach are livestock producers? Though this has been the focus of the “Knightro Report” since its inception some 30-plus years ago, I’ve come to realize – though not intended – many readers of this column have gleaned more than just buying and selling livestock.
The personal side of livestock marketing often has as much or more to do with the outcome of a livestock marketing transaction than that of the actual value of the livestock. In other words, there is a good chance you’ll never receive full value until you’ve established a good relationship between buyer and seller.
So don’t sell yourself short; you’re as important, or in some cases, even more important than the livestock you’re representing. Building good relationships is as important in buying and selling livestock as it is in any other phase of your life.
Though it was never my intention to involve myself with the psychological differences in people, I’ve found that to be the most signiﬁcant input on people’s lives. More signiﬁcant than pointing out the differences in livestock. As important as it is to be able to distinguish those aspects of an animal that make it more or less valuable, it is of even greater relevance to be able to understandably convey those characteristics of relevance to those in which you’re doing business.
So, what is the reference of short and long? ‘Short’ is the term used to describe the selling of a futures position, in hopes of the market going lower, while ‘long’ is the term used to describe the buying of a futures position, in hopes of the market going higher.
A true hedge is always a short position, while a long position is most often that of a speculator. Participating in a futures market as a speculator has been the downfall of many a producer who didn’t have the resiliency to use the futures market just for price protection.
But this is more about not shorting yourself as a person. Realizing your personal contribution to the success of your life is more meaningful than that of the commodity you’re producing. With the right attitude, work ethic, and moral ﬁber you can overcome anything from a down market to the multiple disasters of Mother Nature.
The short and long aspect, as it applies to our personal life, is more about optimism and pessimism than it is about buying and selling livestock. It can be said that going long is thinking positive, while going short is about being negative about things.
Are you a short or long kind of person? In other words, are you a pessimist or an optimist? It is so easy to become one or the other, depending upon your own personal circumstances. But what separates the men from the boys is that ability to stay long and never short yourself.
To never short yourself is to never give up. One bad market, a herd disease, or a crop failure doesn’t deﬁne a lifetime. It’s just one more hurdle to climb over. At the time it may seem impossible, but over time it will be just a memory, part of the learning curve — or a sign of an all-new direction in your life. Whatever the case may be, don’t give into the moment.
Don’t short yourself by limiting your future to one set of circumstances. A lifetime is a long time; long enough to overcome most any obstacle that might come your way. Over the years you’ve had an opportunity to read much about my own personal defeats and conquests (shorts and longs), and how I’ve taken those experiences to become the man I am today.
I’ve had to practice what I preach, which is never as easy as it sounds, but if it were easy, sissies could do it.
To follow my own advice, I would like to dedicate the rest of my life to communicating the experience of the longs and shorts that have inﬂuenced my life in becoming the person I am today. This means that I will be speaking and writing about those things that I think will help to strengthen you as a person.
The “Knightro Report” will no longer be about the shorts and longs of livestock marketing, but rather about the shorts and longs of living a more rewarding, productive life.
If this is something that would be of interest to you, please let your thoughts be known to either myself, or the Farm And Livestock Directory.
“Judge not – that ye be not judged” are right words to live by and should be the motto of every spectator standing at ring-side second-guessing the livestock judge – worse than a “Monday morning quarterback.”
Most everything I ever accomplished, I owe to 4-H. Not only did I pledge my head, hands, heart, and health to better living, I pledged my life. Though I give my Dad a lot of credit for the successful 4-H years of my life, it was the County Extension Agents that really made it happen.
I learned from the best how to trade horses, so when the opportunity to make a “horse trade” came along, I was ready. It was time to select and buy my first 4-H calf, and my Dad wasn’t about to let me make a mistake. Dad always knew how to point me in the right direction.
Horses were second nature on our farm. If my Dad couldn’t find what you were looking for, it couldn’t be found. Dad was a “horse trader” and proud of it. He knew more about a horse than almost anyone I ever met and could recognize a diamond in the rough.
I interrupt the writing of my book to share with you my thoughts on the COVID-19 virus. This affliction has affected the lives of every American citizen – some more than others. It has made us put everything in our lives in perspective.
Survival can take on many different forms, like those who come into your life in the most unassuming manner. Just when it seems your tank is ‘running almost empty’, do we stop often enough to give Him the praise and the glory? I have learned God will light the way if you invite Him in.