#72: Tyler Dawley – Owner of Big Bluff Ranch
Tyler Dawley Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: What’s up? Hey, everybody out there in the PNF, all of my favorite people in the world, the PNFers. Out there in YouTube land, hi. We’re videoing this conversation as well. It isn’t going to fail you this time; we’ve got another awesome guest. His name is Tyler Dawley. He can correct me, I might have pronounced that wrong. But his ranch is Big Bluff Ranch. We’re going to explore where food comes from in his perspective. And in his experience, in his everyday life, this is what this guy does. Tyler, welcome to the show. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. I know in the world of farming and ranching, there is no vacation. There’s almost no one hour of time to talk on a podcast. So thanks for carving that out for us. And tell us a little bit about Big Bluff Ranch so everybody gets a basic understanding of what you do, why you do it, then we’re going to explore some of the details around just food and what you think about our system and why you might do it differently or those kinds of things.
Tyler Dawley: Well, thanks for having me on, Neil. I’m more than happy to carve out an hour for you. Yeah, so Big Bluff Ranch, we’re in Northern California. We’re in the Sacramento Valley, so a couple hours north of Sacramento, 4ish hours north of the Bay Area. Grandpa bought the ranch in 1960. My parents moved up here permanently in 1976. And in the 80s, through a series of events, my dad ran across a guy named Allan Savory. And at the time, he was talking about something called holistic resource management, which is now, over many years, been turned into just holistic management. You may have seen a TED Talk by Allan Savory, which has gotten, I don’t know, millions of views. And his thesis is about how animals should be managed on landscapes on a very simplistic basic, he talks about a whole bunch of other amazing stuff. But the very basic idea is you think about Africa or the Midwest before humans and that- not humans, but you know what I’m saying, that you have a big bunch of buffalo, you have a big bunch of wildebeests. They’re here for a day, and they eat everything down. But then the lions or the wolves show up and chase them away to the next spot. And that one spot doesn’t get grazed again. And so that allows all those plants to recover. And that’s, at a very simple level, what we started doing back in the 80s was moving our animals around our ranch, which we don’t have wolves. And so, what we use is fencing. So, our job as range stewards is to go out there, assess the quality of the grass, and to move the cows appropriately. And we had a lot of and still have a lot of success doing that. We’ve had native perennials regenerate and all sorts of fun stuff. But skipping forward because I can go into that for hours.
Neil Dudley: Time out. I want to- we need to needle on that just a little bit. For the listeners who have probably there are some of them that are farmers, there are some of them that have heard the word regenerative, there’s some of that heard about Allan Savory, there’re some of them that saw Will Harris with White Oak Pastures on Joe Rogan. I mean, it’s like there’s this whole group of people that are kind of waking up to some of this conversation, let’s paint a really kind of transparent opportunity for them. The question I want to ask is when you decided to go that regenerative, Allan Savory, Big Bluff Ranch thought process on your property, how long until you saw these rewards?
Tyler Dawley: Well, I was relatively young when my dad made the first change, but he says he saw results within the first growing season. So, our climate, we’re a Mediterranean climate. So that means we grow- we’re green. Sorry, we grow from like say about sometime in March until April, May. That’s our whole growing season. And then we’re the Golden State. So, we’re basically brown for the rest of the time. So, we only grow feed for a very short amount of time. And then most of our grazing management is running out that. Basically, it’s standing hay. So we go out there and we assess how much food we have on hand, and we do a relatively good job guesstimating how hungry we would be if we were a cow. And we’re like, oh, the cows are going to eat this much this day. So yeah, my dad built, what did he build? He built about eight fields pretty quickly, rotated, took our whole herd from the whole ranch, put them down in these eight paddocks, rotated them through the paddocks in the growing season, then pretty much doubled our animal days in one season. And that’s relatively typical of what people can do. I mean, that was a little bit on the quick side because it was kind of a small experiment. Because he didn’t turn the whole ranch into it, he just turned one chunk of it into a grazing cell. But the way current grazing management is, my opinion, you’re really kind of suppressing what’s happening, that Mother Nature wants to work in a certain way, and our management practices are kind of like not allowing her to do what she wants to do. As soon as you kind of take your foot off the brake or remove the weight on the spring, boom, all this stuff starts popping back, that some of these seeds in the seed bank that are just waiting for the perfect conditions to germinate, they can last 50 years, 100 years in these seed banks. So as soon as you create the conditions in that top little tiny bit of soil such that this perennial, native perennial seed that’s just been waiting, like I’ve been waiting for decades, and now it’s time, I believe I can grow. And so out here, our I call it the pioneer native perennial, it’s a plant called Purple needlegrass, Nassella pulchra. And that is the first native perennial that you start getting coming back. And you get excited about perennials because they grow, especially for us in California, because they grow all the time. They’re multi year, they green up earlier in the spring, they stay green in the summer, and they go longer into the fall. And ultimately, our job, I mean, specifically as agriculturalists, but even I would say as a species, our job is to convert as much solar energy into life as possible. And the only thing that can create that transformation from sunlight to nutrition is chlorophyll. And at least for us land people, the only thing that does that is- I already said that, chlorophyll, which is only in plants. So the longer we can have green leaves growing, the more solar energy we’re capturing and turning into life. So ultimately, that is our job as land stewards is to create as much Greenleaf for as much of the time as we possibly can. And so that’s what we started seeing back in the 80s was, wow, we’ve got all these native perennials coming back. I mean, they’re still a fraction of what our overall plant population is. But heck, anything’s better than nothing. And so, for what is that, 35, 40 years, we’ve just been doing a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better. Those perennials are capturing sunlight, putting carbohydrates into the soil, they’re opening up the soil structure, they’re creating organic matter in the soil that’s opening it up that we can get more of that rainfall to absorb into the soil rather than running off, that the true measure of rainfall is not total inches, it’s effective rainfall. That if we all have three inches, but our neighbor can only absorb half an inch, and we can absorb two inches, we essentially had a two inch rain storm, he had a half inch rain storm, but we all got three inches. Water grows life. So yeah, so it’s just these native, these perennial plants. See, I told you, you’d get me excited. These perennial plants start everything.
Neil Dudley: Timeout, timeout. I want to highlight this for the listeners. We haven’t even talked about meat yet. Not at all. Because ultimately, the truth is what Tyler is talking about, we have- the life begins in the soil, in the plants that grow from that soil. And this is so missed by guys like me. I almost said even guys like me, even a guy that makes his living and has his whole life been a farmer and rancher. I like the horses and the cows and the cowboying and all that stuff. So I’ve never spent the time, you obviously have, learning about that truth. So I’m so glad to share it . I’m so glad that we’re friends and you can teach me these things. I have to learn it because it wasn’t- I wanted to ask also, did you go to school for agronomy or something? I mean, or was your school the one of hard knocks?
Tyler Dawley: I did go to school. I’m not uneducated. But I got my degree in literature from a school that specialized in economics and government. So yeah, no, my ranching knowledge would be hard knocks. But there are a ton of people out there that you can learn from. So, it’s not as if we’ve blazed the trail here. We are definitely following pioneers. But yeah, you don’t go to school for this sort of knowledge.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, right. Well, and you’re passionate about it. Like you’ve built a- you probably have passion for literature, but you found out, oh, I can take my passion into this business, this piece of earth that I’m in charge of right now. And I mean, you started naming off plants, like scientific names and stuff. I mean, dude, I’m in big trouble. I couldn’t tell you the scientific name of one plant, probably.
Tyler Dawley: That’s the only one I know.
Neil Dudley: It gives- it paints you in an educated manner. And that’s good because it gives the listeners just an, okay, cool, Tyler knows what he’s talking about. I’m going to give this an opportunity to be something I believe. Now it doesn’t mean you have to believe it. It just means I want everybody to give it the opportunity to be something you believe and tell your friends about and that kind of thing. Okay, that’s a good- I mean, we only got 30 minutes. We’re going to talk about some other stuff. Tell me about how you feel about meat consumption. It’s a hot topic these days. You really can almost get discriminated against on social media if you are talking about eating meat, killing animals, these kinds of things that I can understand they’re sensitive. I’ve cried before because of an animal dying. I love them. What do you think? What’s your take on that?
Tyler Dawley: Well, I am not a scientist. But being a rancher and a farmer and a land steward and taking care of animals and plants and looking at how all the natural processes work, on a fundamental level, I just don’t see how a plant based meat alternative ultimately makes sense. It just seems like there’s too much additional energy going into that process. I don’t think it’s something you should demonize or not do or not have as a tool in the tool chest. But I don’t see how we’re ever going to move away from meat. And I think that works on human health. Our bodies have evolved for humans to be eating meat. That works from the plants perspective, that the plants have evolved to be grazed by animals. So even if we ever choose as a human species to never eat another piece of meat again, we can’t get rid of the animals on our landscape. Because without the animals on the landscape, the landscape is going to degrade. It needs animals. Mother Nature never farms by itself. Mother Nature always has plants, always has animals. You just can’t find anywhere that has one or the other. You need both. So kind of from a natural standpoint, I think meat is appropriate. And that’s the path we’re going to keep going down. I understand the position of vegans and vegetarians. There are some really awesome vegan dishes I’ve had. Like, there’s stuff that is just absolutely delicious. I would actually choose some of these vegan dishes over, well, never a hamburger, but maybe something else. But anyways, you get the point that I have no problem. I think that meatless Mondays is a great idea. Eat less but eat better. And that is kind of just a big ball. I don’t have the science, I don’t- that’s not where I’m coming from. I’m kind of coming from an on the ground perspective, an animal, a plant type guy trying to do the best by the ground, by the animals, and by the product that we’re trying to grow out here. And so that’s kind of my philosophical positioning that I think nature kind of needs us to eat meat. I could be wrong, but that’s where I’m coming from.
Neil Dudley: I agree. Or I’ve grown up, I have this truth in my perspective that that kind of just logic based, in the fray based information I love, I buy. Like I go with most things in my life from those kinds of perspectives. Now, there could be listeners who just their clock gets turned by the detail. And so this is probably not going- they’re going to be like these are a couple of idiots babbling on about what they think. Where’s the study? Well, okay, that’s true. I guess our study has just been in living it. We haven’t recorded meticulously, we haven’t done it in some kind of format that is documentable and publishable. But I don’t have any reason to lie to you. I don’t think Tyler has any reason. We’re just telling you- I mean, I guess we might have some reason – we want our businesses to do well, we want our thoughts to be appreciated. But outside of that, I mean, we just got no reason to try to sway you for just the point of the argument. We’re just trying to say, hey, this is the way we see it. I hope you, if you align with it, let’s run, let’s do something. All right, so on your farm, what kind of animals do you have? We’ve talked about beef a little bit. Sounds like maybe that’s where you started. Is one animal all you need or all you have? Tell us about that.
Tyler Dawley: So yeah, the continuing story of Big Bluff Ranch is we were a cow calf operation through the 80s. The 90s kind of led my dad into changing our beef genetics to fit our landscape a little better, which in- a short wide cow, which turns out to finish well on grass, technicalities a little bit there. But kind of by trying to fit our animals to the landscape, by trying to be good land stewards and good animal caretakers, we sort of inadvertently ended up with a pretty decent cow herd that was good for grass fed beef right around 2000, which was when Michael Pollan wrote an article called Power Steer, which pretty much was the starting gun of the whole grass fed beef operation. It was around there, but it was famous. It was everywhere. And so, I graduated college in 2000, which is now a depressingly long time ago, makes me feel not so young when I realize it was over half my lifetime ago. Yeah, that’s crazy. So anyways, I graduated college on a Friday. And then I like the story that I was at a farmers market on a Sunday, but it was actually two or three weeks later, selling our grass fed beef. Now when you get into selling meat, and you’re also a land steward, and you’re aware of the fact that Mother Nature never does mono crops, never one plant, never one animal, well, when you’re trying to do things from kind of the ground up, you’re like, well, we really should have other meats available, other animals. And that also works when you go to the grocery store. You never just go to the beef store. The beef store is going to have chicken, lamb, goat, whatever. So we went through various animals in the early 2000s. We started off with goat, which is delicious, but a headache to manage. We weren’t set up for it. We got into lamb, raising an ewe flock, hair sheep, which was great, much easier than goats. But those aren’t really proteins that people eat a lot. They’re good. They’re delicious if you like it, but it’s not like you can just sell thousands of them, especially through farmers markets. So, we tried those. They’re really good for plants and for the landscape, but they never really worked out for us for sales. And then we were like, well, we got to try something else. So, we’re like, oh hey, well, we’ll try chicken. We’ll do some chicken on the ground. So we did, I don’t know, probably 25, 30 head of chicken, and it was a miserable experience. We read all the books, we did everything we thought right. But we did it all wrong. It was no fun. We didn’t raise them very well. They’re very healthy, very big. The animals were perfectly happy. But we ended up, we were hand processing them, and we’re plucking them by hand. That means we brought them into the house. We were dunking them into hot water on our kitchen sink. So we had chicken manure smell in the sink , and you’re plucking the feathers by hand just like your grandma used to do. And we’re just like, oh, this is great chicken, but we’re never doing this again. New rule: four legs only out here. So we’re like, okay, well, the only four legged thing left is pig. So we went into pasture pork. And we quickly realized there was something we did a worse job then chickens and that was pigs. So, we’re doing old spots, but we had a pretty strong wild pig population at the time. So there was no- there’s no fence that is going to keep a wild boar out of a sow in heat. So we had- it was just uncontrolled breeding. Ugh, bad stuff. So, we got out of the pigs. And then we’re like, okay, we’re still doing beef but now everyone else and their mother and their cousin is doing grass fed beef. We are in beef country out here in this part of California. So we’re no longer unique as far as beef. No one buys enough goat and lamb to make it worthwhile. No one’s doing chicken. Oh crap. Let’s do chicken. So we went back into chicken. And we learned from our previous mistakes. And we got up to doing about 1800 a year, processing on farm, direct marketing, which is a decent size. It’s not huge, but it was pretty good. And we got to a point where we had a processing bottleneck. We didn’t know how to move forward. We couldn’t- We ran through all of our friends and family. We’d call them up, hey, we’re processing next week. And they’re like, I’m busy. I’m busy. I don’t know what I am busy at, but I’m busy. I can’t come help. Sorry, I’m busy. Click. So we ran into- So anyways, we ran into a guy. I ran into a guy at a conference, and the conversation went, I could grow more than I could sell, or process technically, and he could sell way more than he could grow. And so, we went from, a gradual transition, but we went from a direct marketing meat operation to a contract grower in pasture poultry. That was 2010ish. So over the past 12 years, we’ve really gone into pasture poultry. And right now, we produce up to about 72,000 birds a year. We were the main grower for a couple of high end meat distributors here in California. And COVID kind of blew that all up as many things did. So we have- we’re still in chicken. That’s still our main protein. We still have some wholesale accounts out there. But we are also returning to our roots and trying to get the direct-to-consumer stuff up and going. So, bigbluffranch.com/chicken, or no, /shop, I believe – I should probably give you the right address. But anyways, that’s where you would be able to go onto our website and buy some of our certified organic pasture raised, no corn, no soy chicken.
Neil Dudley: Okay, do you adhere- No, no, no, I’ve got a question. Do you adhere to any third party verified humane raising standards within your farm?
Tyler Dawley: Well, we were, for a while we were Certified Humane. One of our wholesalers asked us to do that. We passed that with flying colors. So the only third party audit we currently follow is Certified Organic. We have looked into pretty much any standard that you’d care to name, and we pass all of them. But the reality is that every audit, third party audit, you stick on your label is an additional cost to your price. And at some point, as much as I’d like to be certified Audubon, certified animal welfare approved, all of these audits, it would be wonderful, we pass all of them, we believe in all of them, at some point, it doesn’t really matter. Just it’s too much expense. So, that’s kind of where we’re at. We’d pass any audit possible, but really, we want the audit to be what our customers believe. We try and sell to you. Either you believe me, or you don’t. The little label on the sticker is not going to change anything because you can kind of game that. So this is what we are, this is how we do, social media, email, newsletters, this is it. We just lay it out there for everyone to know. And if they like it, great. If they don’t, that’s okay too.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, sure. I mean, and Pederson’s is a little different. We really want, like we almost have to have the sticker. So it’s fine for us all to coexist with some different takes on these things. I mean, for anybody that gets to meet you, talk to you, listen to this podcast, pretty quick, they’re going to be like, I trust Tyler. I’m interested in his product. I’m going to go check it out. And they probably aren’t even going to look for some third party sticker because they’re like geez almighty, this guy’s probably out going any- he’s probably out doing this husbandry of animals than any- some third party auditor could hold him to. He’s already- he should be the auditor of other people. I mean, that’s going to be kind of how they think about it. Where Pederson’s and the way we’ve built our business and our distribution within retail and some of these other things that we’ve grown our business up for, we highly value that third party thing. It’s like okay, yes, you can game it. We don’t game it. It is not the perfect solution. You still have to kind of audit the company you’re buying from to make sure you believe that they would follow the audit. I mean, so consumers have a tough job in front of them, actually, in my opinion, in really sorting through. That’s partly why we do the podcast. We want to help open up the curtain. There it is. What do you want to know? How can we tell you this is how it really is? And so that’s partly what you bring to the show, too. It’s just that transparent truth, like, hey, like it or not, this is what we do.
Tyler Dawley: I think it’s really important that- I should clarify a little bit, I think that the farther removed you are from your consumer, your end consumer, the more important those third party audits are. So for us, since we’re trying to sell to people, those third party audits are less powerful because our story is our audit. But when I go to the grocery store, if I ever have to buy meat, I’m absolutely going to buy something that has a third party audit because I know that there is value in that, that there is some third party saying this person has said they’re doing these practices and we verify it, whatever that audit is. I think that at that remove is very important. So I guess there’s a scale- there is a scale on this continuum where audits become more important. For us and our operation, not super important. For you guys, absolutely. And then as far- you’re absolutely right, I think it is really hard for consumers to make these choices. Because not only do you have third party audits, you have all these various claims too of free range, natural, all natural, grass fed, grain- a new one pops up all the time. So, it is really hard. And I think it’s really good that you are trying to give people this knowledge because I honestly believe that there is a huge potential for agriculture to mitigate, regenerate all these climate issues that are happening. But it can’t really happen with the current farming system, that I think we really do need to be pushing into the regenerative world as much as possible if you’re looking for food to help with climate change, and that we need to and one of my missions and my kind of my missions in what I’m trying to tell people is that your- a consumer’s choice to buy a better grade meat has a direct impact, that when you buy chicken from me, you’re keeping me in business. We’re taking care of 4000 acres. And that’s a small drop in the bucket. But if you keep me in business, you’re going to get my neighbor who’s interested and get him into the business, and that your little contribution, like, oh, I just bought one hamburger, so what? It’s like no, that one hamburger you and 10,000 other people bought all took that one small step forward, you just probably collectively made one grass fed beef operation’s entire year. If you buy one- go to the farmers market and you buy yourself a pasture raised chicken, collectively you kept that pasture raised chicken person in business. And you don’t have to change everything. Just take this one step, one small step. Maybe all you can afford is like, hey, once a month, we have a super fancy yummy steak dinner, chicken dinner, whatever. That’s great. That is one more step that you did that your food dollars matter hugely. I mean, I’m sure you’re probably feeling that, Neil. Like, you wouldn’t probably be the scale you’re at now if people hadn’t said, hey, we want no sugar in our chicken- or our chicken, in our bacon. And now you have an entire business that you have an impact on, segment leader. And that was all because consumers were like, no, we want this change. And by voting by their food dollars, they created it. I think people don’t always understand how powerful their food choices actually are. What they actually put on their plate is really impactful. And that it is not some like thing that you are given that you can never change. You change it all the time. There’s all sorts of stories, you probably don’t have time to get into it. But there’s all sorts of stories about how these big multinational, evil empire food companies are scrambling to get ahead of this organic trade, scrambling to get ahead of this grass fed beef trend. And all of that is better than nothing. We’re just trying to move forward. We want to be directionally correct. So, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just be directionally correct and let’s rock and roll.
Neil Dudley: I love it, man. Preach, preach, preach. That was awesome. Anybody watching the video, I don’t know if they’re going to cut to me, but I look like a bobblehead because I’m just shaking my head yes, yes, yes, yes. All that stuff is so important. It puts the power- it puts a highlight on the truth of where the power lies. And that is in consumers hands. Tyler’s not going to be around, I’m not going to be around if we don’t have consumers that want what we do. Now, it’s almost like voting in an election, it’s like vote- everybody has to get off of this train that says, I don’t matter, and get on the train that says, every little thing I do matters. Every little thing I do with my family matters, every little thing I do within my business matters, everything I do within the market matters. And as scale grows and as consumers vote, that’s why the multinationals are scrambling like crazy buying every one of these little innovative companies that will sell to them so they can get access because they feel that wave of consumer expectation going in these directions, towards transparency, towards organic, towards regenerative, towards these claims that are confusing and can be confusing but are also important. So, I mean, just really high five on that. I hope everybody listening calls a friend and said, look, you got go listen to this Tyler Dawley episode of the Pederson’s podcast, because he’s telling you the truth about how valuable your dollars are to an industry.
Tyler Dawley: They’re hugely important. I mean, just $1 to you is trivial, but $1 to me, if there’s a thousand of you, each one of you spends $1 extra, that’s only $1 to you, but that’s $1,000 to me. That keeps me in business. That’s hugely important. Just, you don’t understand that we would not be here if it was not for people knowing and understanding and taking that one step. And that it’s just you look at the landscape that, I don’t have the numbers in my head, but grass fed beef, when we started doing the direct marketing in 2000, was tiny. It was like not even 1% of the market. Probably not even that. Now it’s- oh, I shouldn’t- I don’t know the numbers. But it’s big. It’s everywhere. You can get grass fed beef burgers from fast food chains now. I mean, that’s 20 years, and that’s all driven by consumer need. It’s not that the big guys are like, oh, we’re going to go out there and do grass fed beef because we want to. It’s like, no, we’re being driven to do it. We don’t want to do it. It’s more expensive. It’s more complicated. The logistics are a pain in the butt.
Neil Dudley: I want to say bullshit to that. Because to me, it’s change. Like any big company just doesn’t like change because they perceive it’s all these things. Now, it could be true there are more costs and change costs money generally. But most CEOs in these big multinationals, they’re getting paid based on stock price performance. The second you put change into that, then everybody gets to catch up. Because now they’re not- so I love change. It means Pederson’s always has a chance to catch up. Because I’m not the brightest bulb in the bucket. I never will be. I don’t even mind that truth being real. But I am pretty good at changing and okay, cool, that’s what the consumer wants. I’ll go that way. I’m not tied to this thing that says this is how we always did it. This is how I made a billion dollars. This is how I’m going to do it tomorrow. No, I never made a billion dollars, probably never will. I just want to live a life that I’m like proud of. I think that’s where you find guys like Tyler, me, other kind of operators. If you’re doing this for the money, you better find another thing to do because you’re not going to get independently wealthy in these careers. You are just going to have to live a life that you enjoy.
Tyler Dawley: Right. So, you’ve probably heard this joke, how do you make a small fortune in agriculture? You start off with a big one.
Neil Dudley: That’s so true. Now, that doesn’t mean that at times, you won’t find agricultural farmers and ranchers that have done well. I mean, I’m a part of a family in the registered Hereford business that’s done well. They’ve accumulated property and if you think about the prices of property. I mean, it’s so dynamic and it’s so easy to see it from lots of different perspectives. Like the person inside of the business sees a way different perspective than the person outside of the business looking in. And that’s true in anything. That’s true for me looking at Silicon Valley businesses. It is true for just any way you want to think about business and life. Don’t forget, you only have your perspective. And it’s not the same as the next guy’s because it’s just impossible for that to happen.
Tyler Dawley: Yeah, so that joke actually I don’t believe in. I think it’s pretty defeatist. I think that there’s a ton of opportunity in agriculture, that the average age of the farmer is 65, 67, something like that. There is not a strong generation behind them that’s going to take over, that there is this regenerative movement that’s taking off, that there change happening. And as you were just saying for Pederson’s, change is where fortunes can be made. I’m not necessarily looking to make a fortune, but that there is so much potential that is going to happen over the next 20ish years as this older generation of farmers retire out where they physically can no longer farm as much as they’d want to. There’s just going to be so much opportunity. There’s robotics happening. There’s no till farming that’s happening. Now just imagine if you could come up with a scenario where you have the best practices in regenerative agriculture, but you have a robot doing it. I mean, there’s just a huge opportunity there. So you’re actually making the soil better, a better, healthier, more nutrient dense product, but you have a robot doing it. Because if you look at the long term demographics of our human population, but specifically of our nation, that we have more old people than young people in general. And that means that we don’t have, even if there were people interested in working in agriculture, there’s physically just not that many people out there to ask to come do the work. That all of this robotic stuff is not some sort of way of dehumanizing, ignoring workers, it’s that they don’t exist physically. There are not enough young people to come back to the farms on a large scale. So small conspiracy theory there. But just that there’s so much opportunity and that, yeah, if you have any interest in agriculture, find someone, don’t do it on your own, go work for someone for a little bit, figure out if you actually like farming, and then go for it. Because anything from the smallest like CSA backyard garden all the way up to a $100, $200 million company, like that’s all up for grabs. Just go for it. Figure out a channel and go for it. That what we’re doing right now, the interconnectedness, that there’s an audience for pretty much any product out there, and internet, podcasts, videos, YouTube, you can find your audience. I’m not saying it’s easy. I haven’t done it. It’s not like I have some sort of magic carpet here. But it’s all there. If someone wants to do it, I would say put yourself behind regenerative agriculture, find yourself an audience and rock and roll.
Neil Dudley: Yep. Now what we’ve done over this past 5, 6, 8 minutes of this conversation is we took a stance I had, which I think I’m rethinking now, that you’re never going to get rich being a farmer or rancher, that might not be true. The truth is, you may find out you make a generational wealth that you could have never done another way. So I hope everybody listened past my stupid comment earlier and gets to this piece because it may not be stupid, but it’s just like, hey, things change. Like maybe my perspective isn’t 100% on point. So don’t disallow the truth that you could make generational wealth in agriculture. Because, aside from, kind of opposite of what I said earlier, it is possible.
Tyler Dawley: It is possible. And you get into the woo-woo talking stuff like self belief and limiting beliefs and self doubt, and you rise to the level of your own expectations for yourself. So, it’s not whether- darn it, whether you can or can’t, it’s what you say- there’s that saying, right? It’s all in your head. It’s like, there’s no try, there’s only do or do not. It’s there. It’s you just got to go for it, find your- Yeah, you just got to go for it. I mean, from my stool, where I’m sitting right here, looking at Pederson’s, I’m like, they’re almost a role model. They took one idea, CrossFit Whole Food people who don’t want sugar in their bacon, and now they’re, I don’t know how big they are, but they’re way bigger than I am. I’m like, geez, there’s an example right there. I want to be those guys.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I mean, it is- And we look at people that we want to be, and a lot of times it’s not measured on like revenue. But the quote you we’re trying to come up with is: Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. It’s a thing to really remember. And I hope we’re talking to people with some ambition and aspirations for their life and for their business. Hope is even the wrong word. I know we’re talking to some people like that with this platform, with this show. So it’s not the first time you’ve heard that. I say this a lot: Tyler and I are not saying anything that’s newly invented, first time ever talked about. The idea that we would is just really rare. Because there’s so many brilliant people out there. But we are going over things that are important to us that we found, and it works for us. And maybe this time you hear it and you’re like, cool, I’m going to go implement that. Because we can all talk about this until we’re blue in the face. It’s in the execution. Like, okay, cool, we talked about it, but are you going to execute it? So that’s my hope for anybody listening that wants to get into ag. Go execute on that. Big Bluff Ranch, you’re executing in a big way. Keep that up. Everybody, go check them out. We’re going to put stuff in the show notes to link you back to Big Bluff Ranch, to any of these kinds of other people we’ve mentioned, other books. Tyler mentioned the book that kind of jumped off the pasture raised; I want to get that in there. So last chance, Tyler, just quickly, any passing comments you just want the listeners to know, leave with, hear from the podcast?
Tyler Dawley: Well, obviously visit bigbluffranch.com. But aside from that, that’s self serving, but what I really want people to take away from this is that you have actionable steps that you can do today. As you’re listening to this, you’re going to go to the grocery store sometime the next day or two. Go and find the next best thing. Take a step forward. If you normally get conventional, get organic. If you usually have regular beef, get yourself some grass fed. Just take that one small step and I guarantee that you are voting for a better future for both your body, for the health of your family, and for the health of our climate and kind of, although it’s highfalutin, for the health of our human society. So that’s it. It feels small, but it’s actually huge. You can do it. Right now. Just go buy something yummy.
Neil Dudley: Execute, people. We will talk to you next time. It’s going to be another somebody a lot like Tyler, maybe in a different vein of the business that you can come here and learn from and be a part of. And we thank you so much for paying attention to Pederson’s. Your time is not free. It’s really actually your most valuable asset, and you’re spending it with us, so I really, really, really appreciate that.
What does it take to steward the land and build up a profitable ranch like Big Bluff Ranch? This is something Tyler Dawley knows well. Tyler joins Neil to discuss the importance of and the benefits of regenerative agriculture. They discuss their passions, the changing nature of the ag industry, their experiences in the industry, and the power the consumer has on their businesses.
Visit us online: Pederson’s Farms
(0:41) – Introducing Tyler
(4:02) – How long until you saw the rewards of regenerative farming?
(9:38) – Did you go to school for agronomy?
(11:13 ) – How do you feel about meat consumption?
(15:20) – What kind of animals are on your farm?
(21:21) – Do you adhere to any 3rd party raising standards?
(29:12) – The power is in the consumer’s hands & the real experience of life in this industry
(39:53) – Any last comments you’d like the listeners to know?