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  • Miranda Reiman, Angus Media

Efficiency, Innovation, Abundant Opportunities and Disagreeing Gracefully

Leo and Sam McDonnell join The Angus Conversation.

You’re not always right, but even when you think you are, you don’t have to rub it in. That’s a lesson that Leo McDonnell, Columbus, Mont., learned by watching his dad take on criticism as an early pioneer in the performance movement in the Angus breed.

There were plenty of naysayers, McDonnell says.

“There was so much change going on, and then when they started seeing how fast the improvement could be made, everybody adopted it. Your worst critics all of a sudden … they were some of your best supporters,” he says. “One of the things I really learned from them is not to be too rough on your critics, to leave the doors open.”

When McDonnell finds himself involved in political issues involving the agricultural community, that philosophy also serves him well. He says friends on opposite sides of those remain friends today.

McDonnell, who ranches with his wife, Sam, and their grown children, joined The Angus Conversation podcast recently and covered everything from a post-Angus tour proposal and the story of the Midland Bull Test to ways that a healthy dose of conflict can make everyone better. Working in an industry with a lot of opinions is similar to running a family ranch, he says.

“You've got to be forgiving,” McDonnell says. “And you’ve got to let the differences that you have, the big differences, you’ve got to check them in at the door, find the things that have some meaning and work on those anytime you can together.”

There is more opportunity for anybody in agriculture now than ever, he says, suggesting young people look for their niche.

“You’ve got to have the guts to go out and do something a little different than all the other folks,” he says.

To hear the entire episode, “McDonnells on Efficiency, Innovation, Abundant Opportunities and Disagreeing Gracefully,” visit The Angus Conversation anywhere you get your podcasts, or follow this direct link:


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