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Entrepreneurship and Ultraism

I was asked to speak to the Young Entrepreneurs at ASI. My first thought was what is the age limitation? Under fifty. When I look around the halls at the convention we are getting old, very old. My immediate thought is we need a new paradigm, the sheep numbers have been going down since I was ten years old and that’s a long time that nothing other than shrinkages have occurred. In our area, Dwight Holloway created significant change in the blue print for expansion that continues today with the Pipestone Program. Unfortunately, it hasn't enjoyed more acceptance in other areas. The whole program is producer and animal-friendly and is based on sound animal husbandry and animal welfare standards.

To be a successful Entrepreneur, I believe it is essential to be Ultraistic in your thinking and judgments. Put your self-importance on the back burner. Our company was successful because when the paradigm was changing we stepped in and found a way for our farm clients to compete with Smithfield. No small task that has never been duplicated. We have 200,000 sows in place primarily in the U.S. with some in other countries that will produce almost six million pigs annually. Farmer owned and being fed on their own farms as part of their farm operation. We didn't own the pigs but we took ownership of the skills to make the project successful, now known as the Pipestone System.

Back to sheep and goats, the opportunity, I believe, exists to move forward in a profitable way for the producer. I met a person in New York that was no longer a nurse and made a living with 60 ewes.  She was receiving $25 a pound for her wool and for her meat lambs, she was getting double what I receive for meat. It is essential to think outside of the box. The increase in hair sheep and the ethnic market demand are two areas that need continued thought and input. It is time, to at least consider, the people that own less than a 100 ewes because they represent 95% of the producers. We haven't done enough to help them with their needs.

I have serviced anyone that asked for help in the sheep and goat arena without any consideration for flock or herd size and found it very self-fulfilling to be able to contribute. I have always taken pride in providing veterinary service to all species without being described as a specialist in any field. In all reality, as age interferes, it is quite likely I will exit as a sheep and goat specialist but none of this would have been possible without an ultraistic attitude.

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