Where is John Luscher?

I met John Luscher at the livestock sale yard on the day they auctioned dairy animals to the highest bidder which they did weekly.  It is not surprising we met there as most young struggling dairymen at the time went to buy replacement heifers and to have one social outlet for the week.

 

We were not introduced nor was it a planned meeting we just sat in the vicinity of one another and the rules of sale yard etiquette dictates that if you are in the vicinity of someone else you must talk, answer questions, and supply information as warranted.  Truth is preferred… but optional.  So observing the rules we started visiting.

 

Over the next two years we would meet up again from time to time. We would sit on the hard wooden bleachers and visit about the usual things that dairymen talk to each other about; hay prices, a couple of frustrating cow stories, if we could get through another six months, and if the TV show Baywatch had any societal merit.

 

I noticed that after our talks I always found myself a little more enthused to go back to the dairy.  My problems didn’t seem as complicated or my situation as dire after one of our impromptu meetings.  I began to realize that Luscher had a gift for encouraging people.  He could, it seemed, without much effort break me out of a depression and point out how well things were going for me.  I would go home with a little more confidence and thinking that maybe my problems were not as bad as I thought.

 

I needed a lot of things in those days and encouragement was one of them especially if it came from someone who was in the same place I was.  He was one of those guys that could do it.

 

One day he congratulated me.  He and I were two of three in our area that had used the government lending programs of the early 80’s and were still in business.  A dubious honor but I took it.

 

One month later he told me I was one of two.  He wasn’t going to make it.  He was selling his cows at the end of the month and moving out of the state.  It was one time he left me feeling down despite his predictions that I would go on to greatness and he would be okay too.

 

Did everything turn out okay?  I don’t know, the greatness thing was a stretch.

 

35 years later we still have problems that can be complicated, threatening and disheartening. Do we still need someone to encourage us or are we so sophisticated now that we don’t need that?   If we did who would give us that little extra push?  In today’s ultra-competitive world we value winning over helping a competitor so we leave the encouraging to the paid professionals such as the clergy and best-selling book authors.

 

But what if we needed someone who knows the business to pick us up and dust us off?  Are there people who do this?  Can anybody do this or is it a special skillset?  Maybe it is something we just don’t do anymore.

 

Where is John Luscher?

 

– John W. Wright of Wright, Inc. Dairy in Wendell, Idaho

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