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Longtime Angus Breeder Welcomes Change

Longtime Angus breeder Bill Rishel saw his dad market cattle by loading them on rail cars. He remembers the days of renting a scale from the local Extension office to record weights.

As he built Rishel Angus, near North Platte, Nebraska in the 1970s, the cattleman saw the rapid change in the beef business firsthand. Some early advancements included everything from boxed beef and grid marketing to expected progeny differences to aid in breeding decisions.

“When EPDs came along, I was very, very encouraged by that. I thought it was something I could really get my mind around and get the operation around and do, and the thought process and how it would help improve the cattle and trying to understand how those things really work. And they do work.”

Rishel and fellow Angus Breeder Larry Patterson of BoPat Farms in Tennessee were recent guests on the The Angus Conversation podcast. They discussed how they deal with the constant stream of new ideas and technologies.

“My dad always had a saying when a neighboring farmer would ask him, ‘Well, Ed, are you gonna do that?’ And he said, ‘Well, I don’t know for sure.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to be the first, but he said, I doggone sure don’t want to be the last.’ And I think, I, I think I got a little bit of that in me over the years.”

Both said it would take adaptation for the beef industry to stay relevant to consumers in the future.

“This change thing…the worst thing anybody can ever do is be afraid of it. And the greatest thing you can do, and no matter what area or what business or what industry, is learn to appreciate it and adapt when you can or when you think you should.”

They advised continual education, getting involved in the industry and keeping an open mind. To listen to the full episode, visit The Angus

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