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BeefTalk: I Pledge My Head to Clearer Thinking

How does the beef business benefit our club, community, country and world? How does the beef business benefit our club, community, country and world?
Times have changed, business plans are more intense and the consequences of managerial miscues are less forgiving.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

Management is the key to running any business. The better managed a business is, the more likely that the business will succeed.

Agriculture is no different. Operations that successfully climb the many hurdles of opportunities through effective business planning and implementation are more likely to experience positive outcomes.

In the grand scheme of things, a point in time will emerge when one plans on putting one’s feet up and enjoying life. This is a point to ponder.

To what extent does one dedicate time and effort to the organization and execution of a plan versus accessing the opportunities to simply live life and enjoy what ultimately was to be the end product of a well-devised plan, which was a life well lived?

The word “tomorrow” most likely is embedded in the answer. A common theme when visiting with people is the comment that “I will get to that tomorrow.”

If one was to go back in time, the agrarian way of life was one of meeting daily needs and, if possible, planning for seasonal changes. The family was present at all times and an agrarian-based society formed around family units.

One may think that I am referring to ancient nomads and primitive people whose daily lives consisted of surviving or perishing. I can remember many evenings growing up in Columbus, N.D., and reciting two creeds.

The first creed was the Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The second creed was the 4-H pledge. “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

There is a need in good business planning to more effectively evaluate the real end product of what is to be accomplished. How will our club, community, country and world benefit?

Tuning our minds, opening our hearts, engaging our hands and taking care of our health for the purpose of having a life that is engaged in living is what we pledged to do. The pledge still rings true a generation or two later and feeds a country.

However, times have changed, business plans are more intense and the consequences of managerial miscues are less forgiving. The local agrarian societies are all but gone and the support, comfort and lifestyles they offered are more of a memory than a reality.

Business plans have been created and alternative strategies calculated. However, when the day ends, if the day ends, what is left? What portion of the day was spent living versus what was spent doing?

It is important to live, enjoy the world and the lives around us. To spend time with family and friends and living in “one nation under God” should be the end of any business plan.

As Mother Nature pelts the world with all sorts of strange things, we often look to those around us for answers. In a somewhat strange way, we come to conclude that the more we have around us and the more structured we make our world, the more assured we are of survival.

The statement might be true, but what about life, what about all those agrarian societies that pledged so much to this world? Perhaps the point that is missed in today's business plans is the point that we all stand together when we say the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H pledge.

It is not for survival, but as the 4-H pledge says, “for living” that we gather for the betterment of all.

May you find all your ear tags.

Your comments are always welcome at

For more information, contact the NDBCIA Office, 1041 State Ave., Dickinson, ND 58601, or go to on the Internet.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Kris Ringwall, (701) 483-2348, ext. 103,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
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