21 Day Practice of Capitalism – Day 19 – Gestation

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Everything in life has a cycle. The more in tune I am to those cycles, the easier life seems to be. One of my businesses is a cattle ranch. I got into this 9 years ago based on two different magazines I had with me on a trip to kick off a Project Management conference in Mexico City. One of the magazines had a cover story on the growing obesity epidemic in America. The other magazine was about Belgian Blue Cows – a breed of cattle that had a naturally occurring genetic mutation for not having any fat, but producing beef that is lean, tender and full of flavor. A big part of our obesity problem is in how we were producing our food. Corn fed beef is as bad for you as white flour and corn syrup. You might as well take this type of “food” and strap it to the outside of your belly as that is where it will likely end up anyhow.

One of my colleagues raised grass fed beef and I asked her if she could raise one of these cows for me. Nine years later, I have one of the largest herds of these cattle on the west coast. As we got into it, the whole business became more and more interesting. We discovered early on the big reason this breed does not do well in the open range cattle ranching practiced in the Western US was because they have a difficult time giving birth naturally. We set out on a program to develop a breed of this cattle that can give birth naturally. This is not a fast internet turn on a dime type of business. We have a one year cycle every year to see how we are doing. We have lost a number of cattle as we made a choice not to continue breeding bad genetics that caused the difficult birthing characteristics. Last season we had ten live births. We now have a breed of this cattle that can give birth naturally.

We have started selling beef. Next we are going to figure out how to sell the genetic material – primarily the embryos. Nine years ago, we got our first ten calves from a rancher in Texas who started his herd with embryo’s implanted in large daily cattle. It took nine months for those zygotes to turn into calves as well. Some things in life you just can’t rush. In the book “Patience: A Little Book of Inner Strength” by Eknath Easwaran – I was reminded: “You can achieve any goal you want when you are patient.” We are on our ninth gestation cycle and we are realizing our goal.

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