Baseball. In my family we have two seasons, baseball season and not baseball season. And just because it’s not baseball season doesn’t mean the baseball stops, it just means you need to keep training for baseball season.

While I have never been much of a baseball player due to my severe lack of hand-eye coordination, I do enjoy watching it especially when either of my two younger brothers is on the team. Since one’s a junior in college and the other is still in Little League, their playing levels are a little different. Either way it’s fun to watch them play a game and excel at something they’ve worked hard for.

In spite of their bumpy start due to the Northeast’s long winter this year, the older of my two little brothers had one of the best seasons he’s had. As the starting catcher and team captain, he not only led his team mentally, but was also one of their top offensive and defensive players.

However, I can tell you right now that even with his success, my brother is already devising a training plan to improve for next year. You don’t get to the top and stay there by sitting on your butt and telling yourself you’re good enough. You need to constantly ask yourself: “What can I do better?”

I remember one time when my brother was in high school he was in a slump for several games. At first, he was in denial that something was wrong. Once he accepted it, he couldn’t figure how to fix it. He worked with a hitting coach to figure it out, but that didn’t help.


He tried making all sorts of adjustments to his swing, but nothing helped. Finally, he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t been lining his knuckles up when he gripped the bat. That tiny detail was the difference between success and failure.

While skill is important in baseball, strategy and teamwork are vital as well. All three aspects must be present for a successful team. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen missed plays or games lost because players couldn’t work together or their coach made a poor planning decision. The same is true on a dairy farm. Yes, I know there are differences, but the principles are the same.

You can have the best genetics, hire the best employees, give them the best tools for their job, but if they can’t work together or you haven’t given them the right strategy or SOPs to collect and feed that calf colostrum in time, your calves will never reach their full potential. You paid for a top cow, but you will end up with a mediocre one simply because your team failed to work together and you failed to plan.

It’s a simple step, but how often is it overlooked?

The most successful dairies aren’t successful because they said, “Well that’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.” No, they plan. They analyze the details. They ask themselves, “How can we improve?”

Now I know there will always be challenges you did not and could not see coming, but having the other aspects of your dairy under control can make those challenges a little easier to overcome. It is as Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Success doesn’t just happen. It is fought for. It is earned. PD

jenna hurty

Jenna Hurty
Northwest Editor
Progressive Dairyman