Category: Decision Making

Silver Bullet

misty pasture

There isn’t a recipe for a profitable ranch. Not every profitable ranch calves in May and June. Not every profitable ranch has sold all their hay equipment. Not every profitable ranch uses some form of intensive grazing. It’s time to start looking beyond the production practices of some ranches and start looking deeper at the […]

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A Strong Gross Margin

cow with horns

If you’re ranching for profit, there is one way to define “a good cow”. She has a strong gross margin. In much of my writing and speaking it might seem that I’m not a fan of cows. But I enjoy cows like most people. My family runs cows each summer for a long-time custom grazing […]

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Maybe We Should Keep Those?

braham

Have you ever looked at a group of calves, heifers, cull cows and thought, “Well… maybe we should just keep those?” If you have, you’re not alone. Acting on this type of thinking often leads to complicating the business with a lot of little enterprises which can be bad economically and financially. When you start […]

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Bumpers for Decision Making

Crossroads Land and Livestock

“When I bowl, I need the bumpers to keep the ball heading towards the pins, as my wife Maggie and I make decisions on the ranch we need bumpers to keep us heading toward our goal.” This statement was made by Austin Troyer at the recent Executive Link meeting in Billings, MT. Austin, Maggie and […]

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Can Small Scale Operations be Profitable?

chickens

I often hear from people operating on a smaller scale that their limitations of size make it impossible for them to be profitable. “I only run 12 cows and operate on 30 acres. I can’t possibly be profitable!” The limitations to profitability are usually self-induced. When we look inside this operation what we will likely […]

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Going Backwards Working for Wages

trucking

I was having a conversation with a ranch family the other day about doing their own trucking. They haul cattle to corn stalks and back each year, so they hire about 20 loads hauled to get it done. They were running numbers thinking about what owning a semi and cattle pot (trailer) would cost. They […]

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The Power of Visuals

flip chart discussion

The flip chart is one of the most important pieces of equipment on the ranch. If you are not using one, it is likely costing your businesses tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands each year. Every time you have a meeting on the ranch or when discussing something as a ranch team someone should […]

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What Can We Do vs. What Should We Do?

brainstorming

In managing through the recent drought covering much of cow country, I hear a lot of discussion around questions like:  “How many cows ‘can’ we keep?”;  “How much hay do we have on hand?”; “How much hay can we afford to buy?”. These questions are not very helpful. They miss the larger point. In looking […]

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Systems Thinking

spider web

I was recently given some book recommendations by Executive Link member, Shanon Sims. Book recommendations are everywhere right now, but when someone you respect says “read this book” you pay attention. Shanon recommended The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. The Fifth Discipline is about training yourself to think in terms of systems. Humans are predisposed […]

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Two Mornings to Change Your Business

EL Summer Meeting

If you’ve been through the Ranching For Profit School you recognize the importance of working ON the business (WOTB). If blocking out time for WOTB is challenging for you, you aren’t alone. Scheduling adequate time to work on the businesses is often THE most difficult challenge RFP graduates face when they get home.   The problem […]

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