Presented by University of Nebraska, South Dakota State University, Colorado State University, and University of Wyoming

Visit the sites in API's topic library ...


The topic sites in our library offer gateways to information on body condition scoring, beef cow efficiency, country-of-origin labeling, targeting the Certified Angus Beef® brand and more. Click here.


API event sites ...


Sign up for ...



Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Nebraska Perspective:
What Worked? What Didn't

Nebraska rancher John Maddux shares his best and worst decisions in the ranching business.

by Troy Smith for Angus Productions Inc.


CASPER, Wyo. (Dec. 3, 2009) — According to Wauneta, Neb., rancher John Maddux, the best decision he ever made was leaving the ranch. Speaking to fellow ranchers gathered for the 2009 Range Beef Cow Symposium, Maddux said he pursued very different endeavors for 20 years, including 12 years trading bonds on Wall Street.


John Maddux“Learning from Wall Street, I try to take a ‘portfolio’ approach,” John Maddux said. “I try to be diversified and not tied too tightly to certain methods of operation.”“It was a life-changing experience. I learned concepts that gave me a framework for looking at the world and managing business,” Maddux stated. “And I learned about the importance of the cost of capital and managing risk.”


Maddux also observed how the really successful people on Wall Street were those who built strong relationships with people and sought business transactions yielding win-win results. That is what he has tried to do since returning to ranching. And that, he said, is the second-best decision he ever made. Today, Maddux operates diversified enterprises in Nebraska and nearby states.


“Learning from Wall Street, I try to take a ‘portfolio’ approach. I try to be diversified and not tied too tightly to certain methods of operation,” said Maddux, who has been involved in cow-calf, yearling and cattle-feeding enterprises, but is willing to change when necessary. “I try to focus on being a manager of capital, not just cows and grass. I try to manage the capital of land, livestock and machinery.”


Maddux explained how he went so far as to disperse the entire Maddux Cattle Co. cow herd in 2005, and eventually buy back cows at lower prices. He favors enterprises involving low capital inputs and strives for marketing flexibility, considering all alternatives.


According to Maddux, the worst decisions he ever made resulted when he forgot the lessons learned on Wall Street and investor Warren Buffett’s cardinal rule of “never losing money on an investment.”


In closing, Maddux reminded his audience to open their minds to different and potentially more profitable ways of managing their operations. He offered himself as an example of how someone can gain wisdom from a completely different environment.


See David True's Wyoming perspective.


See Troy Marshall's Colorado perspective.


See Kory Bierle's South Dakota perspective.

Editor’s Note: API's coverage of the event is made available for distribution to all media via an agreement with the Range Beef Cow Symposium Committee and API. Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., API publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus e-List, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the API Virtual Library. For questions about this site, or to notifiy us of broken links, click here.