Video: Innovation in Agriculture with SK Herefords hosted by Dr. Roger Firestien

Can cows be creative? Can you be creative with cows? Take a look at what Phillip Keppler of SK Herefords Ranch has to say about the importance of innovation in agriculture.  This three-minute video is hosted by Dr. Roger Firestien

Video Transcript:

Creativity is desperately needed in agriculture. There’s too much of this of the wine cellar mentality always whining about complaining about too hot too cold out. No no no no. Stop the complaining. Let’s focus on solutions. Let’s be creative. That’s what makes things work. So, it could be used on every farm in this country.

Meet Phillip Keppler, partner in SK Herefords. SK Herefords grazes approximately 400 cattle on a 500-acre ranch near Medina, New York. Phil took one of my Creativity Courses at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State.

Phil what was it like to be in the class?

The whole mindset changes it just clicked and it’s so much fun. And you’re working with all these high-powered people and it just the whole thing just the energy just gets flowing and the juices get flowing and you just think about what I should do.

What were some of the things that you took from the class?

One of the things that happens on the farm is we believe in training young people… unfortunately, they make a lot of mistakes. And you would like to say, “what you were thinking?” But instead of that …the whole creative problem solving clicks in and you think to yourself how can we prevent this from happening again. And so, you pose that to a 17 or 18-year-old person. And they sit there and look at you first they’re terrified that you’re going to rip their head, off but once you pose it to them, “how can we prevent this from happening again?” That just brings they light up like a light bulb in a dark room

How do you use what you learned in the class on the farm?

Well I used to kick the dog. But now I sit there and say, “How does this work?” Let’s sit and I go just take a minute. Shut the brain down just for a second and reboot it and think, let’s creatively solve this without losing your temper, without frustration. The sweat is dripping down your forehead. Sweat is getting into your eyes. Your eyes are stinging. You have to think and get calm and think creatively, how can we make this work? And it’s interesting how the calm comes over you and the whole negative feelings leave you and you get to focus on the job and things just start to happen.

Why is creativity important for farming?

First off creativity is important in life. Creativity helps you not look at things as a problem. It’s trying to find the solution, and that’s the exciting thing about it. Things aren’t problems anymore. It’s just difficult situations and you’re trying to find a solution to that situation.

What is the one main benefit you got from taking the class?

There there’s no such thing as one main benefit. It is something that is a philosophy change. It is something that is how you go about your daily task. In agriculture, we just don’t work with one thing in a day.

So, it would fit into every facet of that day from fixing a piece of machinery to working with animals. Creativity gives you hope. And that is the most important thing in life is hope. You can’t lose that.

I’m Roger Firestien Thanks for Watching.

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