Category: Planning & Management

Professionalizing Your Ranch

There are two types of athletes, professionals and amateurs. The professionals get paid to play. The amateurs have to pay to play. I look at ranches the same way. The professionals get paid to ranch. The amateurs subsidize their operations with unpaid family labor, off-farm income and inherited wealth. Some people balk at the idea […]

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The Laws Of Economics

My Cousin Vinny is one of my favorite movies. There’s a scene where Vinny, played by Joe Pesci, challenging the witness, asks, “Are we to believe that the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove?” That line, makes me think of some people who market grass finished beef and use grazing practices that […]

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Getting It Right or Getting It Fast

A young rancher attended his first Executive Link meeting a few weeks after completing a Ranching for Profit School. He showed his EL board the long to-do list he created at the end of the school and worried that there wasn’t enough time to get everything done that he needed to do. “I’m constantly putting […]

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Having a Ranch AND a Life

A friend included me in an email chain informing us of a farmer he knew who recently took his life. I don’t pretend to begin to know this man’s pain or anything about his situation. But the story struck me as beyond sad. Responses in the email chain spoke of the stress of farming, peer […]

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Smart Resolutions

A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. Gym memberships go way up in January. By Valentine’s Day that box of chocolates is looking pretty good and gym attendance is way down. It isn’t that resolutions are bad ideas. They’re not. Or that people can’t change. We can. It is that most resolutions don’t provide […]

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If Someone Is Doing It, It’s Possible

I often hear people joke, “Ranching for profit? That’s an oxymoron.” I get frustrated hearing it, but I don’t blame anyone for thinking it. There is a lot of evidence to support the “ranching isn’t profitable” paradigm. These days ranches are valued more for the scenery than for livestock production. In fact, looking at a […]

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What is Sweat Worth?

Most family ranches are subsidized with free, or underpaid, family labor. Sometimes the difference between what family members get and what it would cost to hire someone else to do the work they do is made up with the promise or expectation of sweat equity. But sweat is not a recognized form of currency and […]

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What Are You Worth?

I often ask audiences at schools and workshops if anyone pays themselves what it would cost to replace themselves. Very few hands go up and those that do are usually attached to the arms of Ranching For Profit School grads. Many justify not paying themselves a fair wage claiming that their ranch isn’t profitable enough […]

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Game Changer?

Income – costs = profit, right? The answer is “sort of.” It’s a little more complicated than that because we need to adjust for inventory changes, consider non-cash costs like depreciation and non-cash income like retained heifer calves. But over the long haul, for the most part, income – costs = profit. The obvious conclusion […]

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Records Are A Waste Of Time

Some people think that records are THE key to managerial success. Not me. I think most records are a waste of time. Records give us data. We need information. It takes analysis to turn data into useful information.   The problem is we spend 90% or more of our time collecting the data and only […]

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