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To Plan or Not to Plan?

Why developing a business plan is key to helping family businesses succeed Part 2.

October 30, 2017
By Jessie Topp-Becker, Freelance Writer

It’s no secret that family business planning is a time-intensive process that requires intentionality and effort. When it comes to starting the planning process, people often turn to the internet or books for information. A Google search for family business planning generates more than 25 million results in less than one second. A search on for family business planning books results in 2,193 books. Clearly, family business planning is a popular topic, and for good reason. However, with so much information on the topic, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

To help webinar attendees identify areas where they could start building a complete family business plan, Davon Cook reviewed four types of business plans. According to Cook, the four most common types of business plans are strategic, operating, business continuity, and estate and succession plans.

Strategic plans are one of the most popular business plans. Cook explained that these plans provide a big-picture view of where the business is now, where it’s going, how to get there and how to measure progress. A typical time frame for a strategic plan is 3-5 years. All businesses have a common goal: to maximize profits. The purpose of a strategic plan, Cook said, is to force businesses to consider how to accomplish that.

Another common type of business plan is the operating plan. Cook encouraged people to think of operating plans in one-year time frames. “Think about how you are going to make the goals in that strategic plan actually happen on an operational basis,” she suggested. When developing an operational plan, family businesses should consider five areas: production, marketing, physical capital replacement, financing and human capital.

For each operational area, Cook suggested family business members answer the following questions.

  • Production: What are we going to grow, raise or process to create value?
  • Marketing: How are we going to sell our products and manage the price risk?
  • Physical Capital Replacement: What assets do we need to buy, sell, repair or replace to execute this operating plan?
  • Financing: How are we going to finance our operating plan?
  • Human Capital: Who are we going to use to put this plan into action?

The business continuity plan is one that no one likes to think about having to use, but it’s very important. “What happens if a critical leader suddenly becomes unavailable?” Cook asked attendees. This plan is not difficult to develop, she said. “You just have to sit down and do it.”

To develop a business continuity plan, individuals involved in a family business should answer these questions.

  • Does your spouse know whom to call in the event of critical illness or death?
  • Who in the organization has authority and is qualified to make decisions?
  • Who are the business’s trusted advisors?
  • Where are the critical documents, including financial statements and insurance policies?
  • Where are the computer and online account passwords?

Although this plan is critical, creating the business continuity plan isn’t enough. “Make sure you give it to the people who are going to need to know that information,” Cook said.

Estate and succession plans are among the most well-known business plans. Of all the plans Cook discussed, the estate and succession plan “really merits significant time and attention, but will vary in its importance based on the life cycle of your business,” she said.

Although it is one plan, the estate portion of the plan addresses the transition of assets, both physical and financial, from one generation to the next. The succession part of the plan “is really a process of creating psychological ownership among a group of people who are going to be continuing the business,” Cook explained.

Developing family business plans is a process. One of the most important aspects of the planning process is putting pen to paper. “It forces a deeper thought and reflection when you have to articulate it on paper,” Cook said. Having a written plan also provides greater accountability for everyone involved with the business.

Cook encouraged families not to get bogged down in the pursuit of perfection, but rather to pursue progress over perfection. “I can assure you the magic is not in having the perfect method; the magic is in the fact that you’re doing it and the communication that it creates.”

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BAA Annual Meeting, Braunvieh Awards and Recognition Luncheon

Oct. 20, 2017: 

BAA Annual Meeting, Braunvieh Awards and Recognition Luncheon
Registration at 11:30 a.m., meeting at 12:00 p.m.
American Royal, Kansas City, Mo.
American Royal Offices, Governor’s Room
National Braunvieh Sale
5:00 p.m.
American Royal, Kansas City, Mo.
American Royal Sale Center
View Sale Catalog

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To Plan or Not to Plan?

Why developing a business plan is key to helping family businesses succeed

September 26, 2017
By Jessie Topp-Becker, Freelance Writer

Family business planning is key to ensuring the success and longevity of a family business. Unfortunately, many times family businesses quit before they even begin developing a plan because they’re not sure where to start. Other times, in pursuit of perfection, family businesses give up during the process.

When it comes to family business planning, perfection is not the goal. “It’s not about doing this perfect. It’s about getting the conversation started, so you know you build valuable information by communicating and by adding clarity,” Davon Cook said. Cook is a co-founder of Ag Progress LLC, a family farming and agricultural business consulting company that helps clients work through various transitions. She shared some of her business planning advice during a recent National Cattlemen’s Beef Association webinar.

Although many people view business planning as something only done in the corporate world, Cook said good planning can be a strength for all businesses, especially in agriculture. “We tend to be smaller ships and tighter ships, and we can be really be focused on getting things done and don’t always think there’s a need for a lot of structure.” However, the absence of structure and communication can lead to problems.

“In the absence of structure, people default to the status quo,” Cook explained. In some cases, the status quo is a good thing (i.e., values, culture, work ethic). However, the status quo often forces people into a rut and they never change anything or try anything new. According to Cook, having an intentional plan can be a positive change to the status quo.

Like structure, communication is a vital component to a successful business plan. For a plan to be effective, it needs to be communicated. Opting not to share information with key players, including family members, stakeholders and employees, can result in uncertainty and leave the door open for people to create their own story. “It’s not just making the good decisions together; it’s also making sure you’re communicating them and giving people the right story,” Cook said.

Once family businesses have recognized the value of business planning and committed to the process, it’s time to get started. But where should families start?

This article will be continued in our October blog post.  Check back to learn about the four most common types of business plans and how they can be applied to your operation.

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JBAA Update

Jordyn Walker, JBAA President

July 31, 2017


Two years ago, I became a member of this amazing breed organization. Originally wanting to help my aunt with the show cattle in Denver, I took one step into the showring and knew there was much more to the breed. I fell in love with Braunvieh without hesitation. From their beautiful color to their docile nature, they were eye catchers.


The breed opened new opportunities for me in a short period of time. I initially became a member just to be able to walk a heifer into the showring, but as the year went on, I realized it wasn’t just about showing, but so much more than that. The more friends I made and shows I attended, the more I learned about making the breed better and achieving what other breeds couldn’t.


The breed is tremendous in so many ways, but what has caught my attention most is how much the juniors are involved. Each family knows other families and shows so much kindness and help when it’s needed. Families welcomed me into the breed with open arms and, to me, that’s what it’s about. This year, I decided to run for the JBAA Board. I was shy at first, but then realized I wanted to help make the breed more educational and fun for the juniors. Now as JBAA Board president, I want to put these goals into motion. I believe that the future of the breed begins with the juniors.


This year, the Braunvieh Junior Nationals Show was held in Paola, Kan. Talk about an amazing week! It was hot and humid, but that didn’t stop the juniors from having fun and working hard. There were a range of activities, from games to a fitting clinic and even a pool party! The competition was fierce this year in all areas. The juniors had so much fun and learned while doing it. Even the Junior Board members expanded their knowledge from running the competitions. Those experiences helped us all become better leaders.


Junior Nationals doesn’t just focus on juniors. The show takes parent support as well. We all know about how juniors compete in showmanship to present their animal to the best of their ability. This year the Junior Board wanted to see if the old timers still had the magic with a calf and show stick. This resulted in a new competition being added – the Old Timer Showmanship class. It was an interesting experience, but they showed the juniors they had what it takes to be great showmen.


Not only did I help with putting on competitions, I competed as well, showing a fall yearling heifer, senior yearling heifer and cow-calf pair. I stood second with the two heifers and fourth with the pair. I also competed in the fitting contest, placing first. As much as I wanted to win in all my classes, I’m proud of where I stood. Every junior has the same goal – to walk out of the ring with a blue ribbon. Yes, I admit it’s a good feeling to win, but from the wise words of my uncle Bob, “You can’t win them all.”


I believe in the work going on behind the scenes, from getting rope burn while breaking new calves, to rinsing every day, to brushing until you feel your hand go numb, to continuous circles with the calf until they set up just right. The hard work is what it’s all about. This hard work could be seen as I walked around the barns during the show; the juniors were always working and tending to their cattle.


There were approximately 130 head of cattle exhibited and close to 50 juniors who competed at this year’s Junior Nationals. To some people that’s a small number, but for Braunvieh, it’s progress. Junior Nationals is a great experience and I would recommend attending and competing to all JBAA members. It’s not just a breed, but an experience of a lifetime!

Emma Lehman, LeRoy, Kan., watches the action at Junior Nationals.

Jamie Brewer, Wagoner, Okla., clips her calf to show at Junior Nationals.

Antonio Munoz, Amherst, Texas, prepares his animal for the show.

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Crossbreeding Adaptability Advantages

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Crossbreeding: A Marketing Tool to Promote Carcass and Maternal Traits of Braunvieh Cattle

By Kelsey Pope, Freelance Writer
June 30, 2017

Hybrid vigor is a tool many cattle producers utilize to sell more pounds, yet they also want sound cows to give calves a good head start. The Braunvieh breed can accomplish both of these highly valuable traits in one animal. Braunvieh females have great maternal traits and are easy to calve. Their calves hit the ground, grow and flourish, bringing sustainability to the operation.

Those calves who grow and flourish are loaded with remarkable performance, versatility and adaptability. Braunvieh have a track record for producing a highly marbled product, hybrid vigor, adaptability to survive in most environments, as well as being recognized for both maternal and carcass traits. That’s why Braunvieh have become a top crossbreeding choice for commercial cattlemen looking to add value to their calves’ performance.


Building on genetics

Tim Page, Ph.D., professor at the Louisiana State University AgCenter School of Animal Sciences, has observed Braunvieh cattle over the years, procuring a number of Braunvieh bulls for beef-cattle research.

“The cattle industry has been going through some depressed cattle prices, and producers need to look at other ways to market their cattle or add value to their cattle if they’re going to remain competitive and profitable in this industry,” Page said during a recent episode of The American Rancher, which is produced by Superior Productions and broadcast on RFD-TV. “You cannot be in this global economy today – especially the livestock industry – unless you’re using every tool that’s out there.”

Page started studying the Braunvieh breed several years ago for their high-quality carcasses. He also found they brought excellent maternal traits with them. Soon after, he researched the top-end Braunvieh genetics and bought some bulls for the LSU AgCenter.

“We retain ownership through the feedyard with a lot of our cattle,” Page said. “Braunvieh-sired calves – out of different breeds of cows – have consistently provided quality carcasses that will grade Choice and have really good feed efficiency and average daily gain.”

And the LSU cattle have the numbers to prove their consistent quality on the rail. In the last year, one pen of 76 Braunvieh-sired calves graded 98 percent Choice or higher.

Page believes the Braunvieh breed can play a significant role in the cattle industry, so producers should be prepared to market bulls to commercial producers for their efficiency, consistent yields and longevity. They should also tout the Braunvieh female for her milking and mothering abilities.

“Where I really see Braunvieh having a bigger place down the road is they are so adaptable to this climate, they are great milkers and good mothers,” Page said. “By making a place for Braunvieh-influenced cattle in our herds to increase production, yearling weights and ADG in the feedyard, we’re going to be producing quality calves. With their advantages, Braunvieh may play a role in our entire female population across the country.”

To read the rest of this article and learn what Braunvieh can do for you, request a copy of the Summer 2017 Braunvieh World by calling (210) 561-2892 or emailing  You can also view it online here:

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Junior National Show Planning Underway

May 22, 2017

Hello. I am Emma Lehmann, the Junior Braunvieh Association of America (JBAA) vice president. The JBAA board is currently planning the 2017 Junior National Show that will be held in Paola, Kan. June 12-16.  At this show, there will be several different classes ranging from showmanship to breeding and market classes. Participants in the show will also partake in competitions such as a cow costume contest in which participants dress themselves and their animal as a dynamic duo. JBAA members will have the opportunity to participate in a quiz bowl, essay contest, salesmanship contest, photography contest, and many more competitions. There will also be time to hang out with friends and family, a pizza party and a banquet to congratulate members on a job well done.

The 2017 show will be my third Braunvieh Junior Nationals, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each show. These shows are like attending a large family reunion or get-together. Everyone knows everyone. Families make it a goal to help each other out, whether it be in or out of the competition atmosphere. Please join the Braunvieh family and participate in this year’s Junior National Show as we celebrate Braunvieh successes. There’s No Breed Like Braunvieh!

See you at the 2017 show!

For more information on the 2017 Junior National Show, visit




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There’s No Breed Like Braunvieh

The 2017 Braunvieh Junior Nationals will take place June 12-16 in Paola, Kan. This year’s theme will be “There’s No Breed Like Braunvieh.” Packets are in the mail to Juniors, so watch your mailboxes for entry forms and additional details.  Entries are due May 1. Late entries will be accepted until May 15 (double entry fee will apply).

This year’s event will focus on giving back to the community.  A new addition is an Old-Timers showmanship contest open to ages 22-102. Entry fees of $10 (or $25 to opt out) will go to a local charity. In addition, Junior members are asked to bring a case of canned goods that will be donated to a local church food pantry.

Make your hotel reservations early, as rooms will go fast. For reservations, contact the Paola Inn and Suites, (913)-294-3700, or Best Western in Ottawa, Kan., (785)-242-2224.  Additional information and registration forms can be found on the JBAA tab.

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2017 National Braunvieh Sale

2017 National Braunvieh Sale

Jan. 15, 2017
Fort Worth, Texas
Sale Manager: Cattle In Demand

Sale Averages:

6 Bulls                                                                         $6,017
5 Braunvieh Pairs                                                        $5,200
7 Bred Females                                                           $3,214
13 Open Heifers                                                          $2,473

The 2017 National Braunvieh Sale was held in Fort Worth, Texas in conjunction with the Fort Worth Stock Show. A total of 32 live lots sold, averaging $3,766. An additional 17 lots of frozen embryos and semen were also sold.

The top-selling bull was Lot 30, BLU BLC JBB Parson 451D ET, consigned by Bluebonnet Braunvieh, Brink Livestock and J-Bar Braunvieh was purchased for $16,000 by Mike Farmer, Simms, Texas.

The top-selling cow/calf pairs were Lots 2 and 3 for $6,500 each. Lot 2, Miss DJF X 580 ET with bull calf sired by Angus bull JF Program 1293, consigned by R & D Farms, was purchased by Jay H Farms, LLC of Rose Bud, Ark. and Lot 3, MHF A91 with heifer calf sired by A124, consigned by Mystic Hill Farms, was purchased by Bethany Seal of Elkton, Va,

The top-selling bred female was Lot 10, SG Blond Expresso 901C, consigned by Sterling Genetics and Megyn Walker, purchased for $5,750 by Walt and Nancy Emory of Tecumseh, Okla.


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Promoting Braunvieh through the American Rancher

March 22, 2017


For several years, the BAA has been utilizing the American Rancher television show as a marketing tool for the breed. The show has had a great impact on exposing the breed to the public and introducing new members and breeders to the BAA. In addition, BAA members who advertise during the show are getting a great response from those looking to buy Braunvieh cattle.

The BAA is currently looking for story ideas for upcoming shows. If you or someone you know has a great Braunvieh story to share, we want to hear it! Looking to showcase your breeding program or sale upcoming show?  Space is available on a first-come-first-served basis. Contact Todd Hill at (806) 681-9333 or with story ideas or to advertise.

The American Rancher airs on RFD-TV and past episodes can be seen at For more information on the show or to see a schedule, visit or contact Todd Hill.

2017 Braunvieh American Rancher Show Air Dates

March 2017 – See video below to watch the episode!

July 2017 – Re-air (Discounted ad rates available! Contact Todd Hill for details)

October 2017 – TBD

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