Friday, February 24, 2012

Customer Service

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Alberta Gift Show.  This is an invitation only trade show for business people to buy the stock for their retail businesses.  My very creative cousins Kim Mathews and Heather Saucier own a company called Baby Cakes.  They make baby gifts out of baby wash clothes, diapers and baby sock to look like a cupcake and packaged in a pastry box. 

When we were packing up from the show we noticed that there was a low tire on the Hummer (Kim's wheels).  Heather thought maybe it wasn't that low and could make it to Olds.  I convinced her to at least put some air in it.

Now I don't usually promote one company over another, because I think people should make their own choices.  Just like Beef,
I don't care if you eat local, organic, natural just as long as Beef is one of your protein choices.  Anyways I convinced Heather to stop at Kal Tire to put air in the tire.

 Upon looking at the tire we were told that it was actually flat.  Apparently the tires on Hummers don't do completely flat like regular tires, but there was no pressure in the tire.  This meant that we had to unhook the trailer, fix the tire and re hook before heading south.

The staff at the tire shop offered to do all of this for us while we went next door and had supper. 40 minutes later we came back to pay the bill.  The total amount was.......FREE, No Charge.  Apparently it is their company policy to not charge for repair of tires on personal vehicles.  Wow, I didn't think anyone did anything for free anymore.  We both commented on this policy and said that we would buy our next set of tires from Kaltire.  The manager said that was the whole idea behind the policy.

It just goes to show you that if you offer good customer service, you will become the choice of preference for the consumer and probably tell others.  Poor customer service and you won't go back and you certainly won't recommend that business to anyone else.

Thanks Kal Tire guys and we were glad that the young man helping us got to drive his first Hummer while helping us re hook the trailer!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can we get that in writing

I can across this article regarding the outlook for Canadian Farmers.
OTTAWA — Government projections suggest almost all Canadian farmers can look forward to good times for up to the next 10 years.
Agriculture Canada says by almost any measure, average farm income set new records in 2011.
This year, total family income is forecast to be 27 per cent above the last five-year average. And the department projects that the same factors that led to last year's prosperous harvest will remain stable for the next decade.   
Receipts from cereal and oilseed crops did the best, but livestock prices are also rebounding and producers are rebuilding herds.
Agriculture Canada says reasons for the favourable outlook are increasing worldwide demand for feed grains, high oil prices, moderate Canadian population growth and a Canadian dollar close to par with the U.S. greenback.

I recently spoke with a friend in Saskatchewan that sold their May born steer calves.  Their take home pay was close to $1250 / steer.  The bull sales that have already finished have been fantastic.  Congratulations to Kopp Farms, Manitoba on their sale yesterday that averaged over $6200 on close to 100 Simmental bulls. 
Let's enjoy these prosperous times.  It's been a long time coming.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Most Stressful Day of the Year.

We all have some stress in our lives.  Those that raise crops and livestock have many factors that are out of their control.  Market fluctuation, and weather are two of the big ones.  But as a cattle producer there seems to be one day that adds even a bit more stress - Semen testing of the bull pen.

We spend over a year raising these bulls to develop them for breeding stock.  If they make the bull pen there are the extra costs of feed, registrations, time, promotion, and semen testing.

Bull pen in the fall
So you can see why the stress level goes way up on the day of testing.  In a moment you can be told the bull that you thought might be one of your higher sellers has just had his value decreased considerably and you still have all of the extra management costs into him.

We have sold a few bulls off of the farm and we have 6 that are consigned to the Red Deer Bull Sale on Monday March 19.  They were checked in for their semen tests last week.  The verdict was.......They All Passed! 

All of the bulls had excellent mobility scores and they measured up very well, ranging from 36 - 39 cm.

Now we can breath a little easier and spend our energy on getting them ready for sale day.  Watch for pictures of our consignments.  5 sons of IPU Revolution and 1 Black Joker son.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Do You Love?

February 14th, a day that you either love or dread.  I am the gift giver in our family.  Yes I have spoiled our girls over the years and now that they are adults, they still get little gifts here and there.  Last year Crystal was surprised with "Cow Cookies". 

Yes our holidays usually still involve cows, because that is what we really do love.  Our cows are a real part of our family.

I heard of a really great gift this morning on our local radio station.
Tender-Loins, from ACME Meats.

They are a local butcher supplying customers with quality, fresh, custom cut meats for over 90 years! They carry locally raised beef, pork, poultry, lamb and more. With an assortment of sausages that are made fresh in-store and are available fresh on Fridays and Saturdays, an assortment of deli meats, cheeses, jerky and pepperoni, there is something for everyone.  They can custom cut any size order to your specifications. If we don't have it in stock, just ask. If it's meat, we can do it. Eat Fresh, Eat Local, Eat ACME.
I think these steaks would be better than over priced flowers. It is hard to beat chocolate though. I think the best part of Valentine's Day is that it makes people  think about the things they really LOVE.  These are a few things that would make our list:
  • Our daughters and the men in their lives that make them happy.
  • Our family
  • Being in Agriculture
  • Living in Canada
  • Ours cows
  • That the work we do each day makes a difference to the World.
  • Wine ( Dee not Rob)
  • Each other.
I hope that everyone can find someone or something in their life to LOVE today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What's In A Name

There are lots of weird "holiday" around the world and apparently today is "Change Your Name Day".  This is the day that if you really don't like the name that you were given, you have the opportunity to change it a no cost.  Although I think the opportunity to change your name is there everyday, someone thought we needed to have a specific day for it.

When we didn't have a son
We named our dog Kurt
When our daughters were born we like most parents to be had a list of potential names.  There were 3 girls names each time and only one boy's name.  If we had had a son - his name would have been Kurtis Robert.  I insisted on it being spelt with a "K" as I did not want our son to have the initials CRY. 
Crystal just seemed to fit her more than Ashley or Amber.  Stacy was chosen from Jodi and Carli. 

We often joke that we have spent more time over the years thinking of names for our purebred Simmental cattle than we did naming our children.  When that special bull calf or potential donor female is born, the hunt is on to pick the right name.
I think our girls are just glad that we didn't get to creative with their names like some of these parents did.
  • Popcorn
  • Salt & Pepper - twins
  • Colt 44
  • Ryan Coke

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We're Getting A Son

It's been a long time coming.  27 years to be more exact, but we are finally adding a son to the family.  Just under 60 days from now he will officially join the Young family.
Crystal & Stacy
With our first two children being girls we would often be asked when we were going to have a son.  My reply was usually "anything a boy can do, my girls can do as well."  Through their years growing up, they did get to do both pink and blue jobs.  Household chores along with outside chores.  They learned how to throw a ball, fix a fence, drive the truck and trailer, along with taking ballet, piano lessons, and kitchen duties.

Rob probably would have liked to watch less "chick flicks" but his girls did learn to love hockey, horse back riding and cattle.  Now that the teams are balancing out more, he is glad to have another male on the team. 
Our new son Jon
Jon will join our family on April 7 when he marries Crystal.  Rob will get to teach him  about hockey and Jon will do the teaching where basketball is concerned.  He like race cars and Hereford cattle and even knows how to fish.

We are very much looking forward to having a son.  Welcome to the family Jon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Medals for Cattleman

Our family or at least me and the girls are followers of the Monarch.  We have watched the Royal weddings and funerals.  Crystal during her internship with the Calgary Stampede helped plan the visit of Prince Edward.  I like that we belong to the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II began her reign on Feb. 6, 1952. She is celebrating her 60th Anniversary and Diamond Jubilee. 

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal — one of a series of national celebratory gestures to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s ascent to the throne — was awarded to 60 Canadians Monday at Rideau Hall, 60 years to the day after the Queen began her reign. The medals were awarded to Canadians who have devoted themselves to the well-being of family, community and country.  The Agriculture community was well represented yesterday.

The medal presentation and other events will kick-start a year of celebrations in Canada and around the world to honour the Queen’s six decades on the throne, with a planned Thames River pageant in London in June — involving up to 1,000 elaborately decorated ships in a regal flotilla — expected to be the main jubilee show-stopper.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston presented the medals to the 60 recipients.

“Today, we once again affirm our bond with the Crown, which helps us to define our country and what it means to be Canadian,” Johnston said at the beginning of the ceremony.
Harper, in a speech following Johnston’s, thanked the Queen for a lifetime of devotion. The Diamond Jubilee Medal is meant to recognize thousands of Canadians for selfless devotion to their citizens and country, Harper said. A total of 60,000 medals will be given to Canadians throughout the year. 

David A. Chalack – Balzac, Alberta
For his contributions to the field of animal care and to the success of the Calgary Stampede.  Chalack, immediate past chairman of the board for the Stampede, even got a personal nod from Harper. “He said, ‘My goodness, David, I barely recognized you without your (cowboy) hat on,’” said Chalack. “I feel very fortunate to be selected — it’s a real honour to be a Calgarians here in Ottawa representing what’s important to Southern Albertans.

Travis Toews – Beaverlodge, Alberta
For his dedication to the field of agriculture, and for his support for farmers and cattlemen.

Congratulations to two very well deserving Albertan's.  You represent our province, and industry very well.  We're proud to call you a part of our family.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Price Is Right

Many of us grew up watching the game show `The Price Is Right``.  It was a fun innocent way to waste an hour trying to guess the right prices of the products and wishing that we were winning all of the cool prizes they were giving away.  Host Bob Barker seemed like a nice man that cared about dogs and cats and reminded us at the end of each show to spay or neuter our pets.  A good message on being a responsible pet owner.
 Years later, Bob has shown his true colors.  He has been very vocal about Lucy the elephant from the Edmonton Zoo and how she should be relocated to an elephant sanctuary in California.  Again it seems like a practical thing to do........if you weren`t a very old elephant that may not survive the trip or the relocation.

This last week the Calgary Stampede came up with a creative way to get new visitors to come to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and to promote the 100 Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.  A trip to the Stampede and 6 pairs of custom made cowboy boots offered in the final showcase on The Price Is Right.  The positive response and inquires to tourism Calgary following the broadcasting of the show has been huge.  When ever we travel through the US or around the world, we are asked about the Calgary Stampede once people know that we are from Canada.  It is known as an event that everyone should try to attend once in their lifetime.
World Chuckwagon Races
Following the broadcast, Bob Barker was interviewed and showed his disgust at offering a trip to an event in which he thinks animals should not be a part of.  He went on to say that when he was on the show he stopped the giving away of fur coats and leather products.  Now I respect that everyone is entitled to their opinions and choices that they make in their lives, but I am getting really tired of celebrities thinking that they always know best.  I thought that was why we lived in free countries, so we could listen to both sides of the story and make up our own minds.
Grated Coconut
The Greatest Stampede Horse ever.
Calgary Stampede's support of
Youth and Agriculture through
I hope the winner of the showcase, chooses to attend the Calgary Stampede this summer.  I hope that she enjoys our Canadian hospitality and the events that are unique to our province.  I hope that she also appreciates that the Stampede always has the best interest of everyone that is part of this great event, whether they are humans or animals.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Commitment and Your Word

Commitment is a word that seems to have a different meaning than when most of us were growing up.  Rob and I can remember that we were taught that when we said we were going to do something, you did it.  Even if you found out early on that you really didn't like it.  If you joined a team or a group you were there until the year ended.

Growing up in the Agriculture world a "man's word" and hand shake was how most business got done.  I still panic a bit each spring wondering if some of our pasture rental is available as we deal with urban owners who are used to lawyers and contracts.  You just wonder if someone else came along and offered them five cents more if our deal would be over.
Their Wedding Day
50 Years ago today, a couple of people I know gave their word to each other and a commitment for life.  My Mom & Dad are celebrating their 50th wedding Anniversary.  Now I know that probably 99% of those that go through a wedding ceremony have good intentions to keep their word and commitment....until death do us part, but over 50% aren't able to succeed. I 'm sure if you could figure out all of the reasons why, you could be a very wealthy person.

50 Years Later
I like to think that part of the reason that they have made it this far, is because they knew that there would be hard times but staying and working through them was far more worth while than giving up.  Today we live in a throw away society.  Take out food, most everything is disposable and not enough people take responsibility for themselves. 

Rob and I have had good role models.  His parents enjoyed 59 years before his dad's passing, my parents are at 50 and we will celebrate our 28th this year.
We hope that when Crystal and Jon are married in April  their goal is 50+. 
Congratulations Mom and Dad, we hope you are enjoying your second honeymoon. We also want to congratulate Uncle Jack & Aunt Gaylene who are also celebrating their 44th Anniversary today.