Technology just keeps going forward. Too fast….yes, at times. Maybe, I’m old but I am also right. I still don’t want a text conversation with one or both sides being upset. If there is a confrontation, I want it face to face. I can text, I just don’t have to like it.
Likewise, in the stock show world, technology and information keeps pushing us forward. Personally, I think that there is an overload of info regarding feeds and feeding. Too many people don’t understand proper nutrition, so they are all looking for that “magic bullet”. Thus, the reason there is so many feed additives that are snake oils. But, some people feel good paying money for this stuff. They feel like they are doing something.
Then there is the utilization of new enhancements. I am sure that the first people to trim cattle hooves were probably deemed as cheaters. Back in ’08 or 9, I know that we were frowned upon for fitting does using adhesives and other hair care products. Now, it is common place. Heck, when we first started showing wethers in ’03, we pulled weight, just like a calf, pig or sheep. Others weren’t.
Recently, I watched a lady come “work” on a couple of species of animals with her laser. To be honest, I was hoping for a tool that looked more like Han Solo’s blaster or Chewbacca’s crossbow. But, no, it looked like something the Schwan man would use to scan a box of ice cream sandwiches.
As a parent, a breeder and a person that has been known to sell large quantities of show stock, I have no problem with the use of technology like this. It is non-invasive and is nothing different than people do to themselves. As a parent, if it isn’t illegal and it helps an animal, use the technology.
As an ag teacher, it is hard to justify telling a family, “We need to get your pig lasered twice this week at $50 a pop. And yes, you need to buy another $50 bucket of pay lean and this $20 jug of fat, and 4 more bags of $8 wood chips. And this jug of hair care products ($22) and this can of skin care ($8).” Wait, it was a $300 pig to start with and the addition of all of this other crap does NOT increase the value of this pig at sale time.
Now, don’t go to texting me yet. Sure, if I can tell that this cheap littly piggy has a chance, I will tell them to do it. Heck, I have been known to pay for this kind of crap out of my own pocket. My point is that the days of the “ag farm” kid being competitive are probably gone. I hope not, but it is getting harder.
This is not a stock show epidemic. There are specialists in athletics, tutors in academics and private lessons for musicians. No matter the competition, one must be focused and thinking ahead of what they need to do to optimize their success.
While watching this laser work, I was thinking. The people that can truly make money in the stock show world are not the breeders or the feed stores. It is all the service and feel good salesmen. The clippers get their money, no matter what. The chiropractor gets their money even if the animal doesn’t win. The hair care, joint supplements, attitude paste, hair growth, hide tightener stuff, hoof trimming, adhesive products and muscle enhancements due to nutrition or modern scientists are the only ones that actually make money. If a breeder doesn’t raise winners, price goes down. Not so with the rest. If somebody feels like it helped, it sells.
And while watching this laser work, I was also thinking, “Dude, I think this would feel good down my back, around my knee and on that effed up toe and these flat feet.” If it feels good, it sales! No matter the species.