Not only do the pennies and pounds count, when things are tight, but you need to be also checking that you have added value. There was a catch cry a few years ago that stated quite clearly ... "Nothing must leave your gate without added value!"
Back then, I knew what my added value was with my pedigree Jersey herd – they were all polled and it was a natural breeding trait I had been following for some time. My 'added value' was that each calf saved me the cost of dehorning and, therefore, each calf had a greater profit margin or 'added value'.
For the last few years, I have been breeding specifically for A2A2 milk to future proof my 'added value'. It has made little difference to me these last few years as my milking girls are leased out and, because their milk gets fired into the vat along with all the other cow's milk, the A2A2 has no effect – it's just milk – as Fonterra makes no A2A2 products. But, as far as I was concerned, my 'added value' was lurking and it was not costing me any extra to have it. All I needed was a careful breeding programme.
And here's the thing. Synlait, in Canterbury, have won a contract with the Chinese to supply them with A2A2 milk powder and the dairy farmers down there are screaming for A2 cows. My girls have doubled in value. My pedigree A2 Jersey bulls have already been ticketed. I'm feeling a little smug!
Added value is the pretty piece of ribbon and the cute label on the jam jar – the jar will sell quicker and, usually, for a few cents more. Added value is using rolled oats instead of flour for your apple crumble – the price is similar but the nutritional value is greater. Added value is buying expensive labels for next to nothing at the op shop – you can carry your dignity with greater credibility when you are dressed in SHAKUHACHI.
As you leave your gate, check for added value. Does the interior of your vehicle say, "I respect my assests"? Does your face say, "I am comfortable, relaxed, in control of myself and oozing confidence"? Does the basket of home grown goodies on the front seat say, "I am proud of my efforts and it's going to be an absolute pleasure to give/sell/barter this away"? So, have a look at your 'added value'. Like the pennies, they will blossom into pounds and you will find that other good values will start to trot along with you.