Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

Dealing with risk in the business environment

David Zirnhelt’s column to the Free Press

For most of my life, I have hurtled along pursuing a dream. Now about to face reaching the three-quarters of a century mark, my thoughts about the world have required digging deeper into my mind.

Disaster and significant changes in the environment certainly strain us to understand the right thing to do to avoid unnecessary risk.

Adversity may well make us strong if it doesn’t break us.

Welcoming change is difficult, especially if the change has nothing to do with our actions. Risk takers often benefit from their actions, sometimes not.

Given what we know about climate and political uncertainty in the world, we may be challenged to pull in our horns, so to speak, and carefully consider that the world, as we in the West have known it, is changing.

This is certainly the case with the high cost of climate mitigation, and the economic dislocation in the supply of goods and services required to produce our farm products.

As one local rancher said to me the other day, in the beef industry the price we get for our products has not kept pace with the cost of the inputs to those products.

We often see increases in machinery repairs and new purchases of capital equipment are expensive and may not be economically justified.

I feel that pulling in one’s horns, or being more cautious, especially in spending money, may be a good strategy to protect your farm or business.

Having said that, a good strategy in business risk management might be to invest in efficiencies that will reduce the cost of doing business.

I struggle daily with trying to keep equipment and infrastructure operating. This requires an attitude of conserving resources so there is investment capital – even minor investment – for what is really needed.

Nothing new here for ranchers. That is how many places were built.

This conserving nature might mean you hold on to old equipment and materials in case it might be just the thing for your needs. However, parting with unneeded scrap metal might just free up some cash to fix or buy something you really need when times get tough.

I suggest that maybe things will be getting tougher with economic instability, inflation, and scarcity.

As humankind, we like to think new and innovative things are to be embraced. These are the thoughts that should be tempered by a deeper reflection and valuation of the techniques and processes which have served us well in the past.

I know it is trite but true to say that as we get older, we become more conservative.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House