Frequently Asked Questions
Expert instructors with practical experience will help you find real-world solutions to the challenges facing you and your ranch. You will learn proven tools and techniques that will increase your profit, improve the health and productivity of your land and increase your personal effectiveness. This one week investment will pay dividends for a lifetime.
Your parents may have taught you how to drive a tractor or vaccinate a calf, but did they teach you how to run a business? In addition to understanding husbandry and ecology, running a successful ranch requires the same management skills it takes to run any successful business.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Work on your business not just in it
- Use the Parato Principle (80/20 rule) to decrease work and increase effectiveness
- Apply a strategic planning process to create a shared vision and build an action plan to achieve it
- Develop risk management plans
- Apply a tool for thoroughly evaluating management alternatives and making decisions
- Clear vision, goals and direction for your business
- An implementation plan to achieve your goals
- An efficient, effective ranch business guided by clear, logical policies
A ranch isn’t sustainable if it isn’t profitable. Ranches that don’t make profit aren’t businesses; they are expensive hobbies. To make a ranch profitable you must know your numbers and understand what the numbers mean.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Identify the four ways to make money (without a printing press)
- Define profit and determine what your profit is for
- Apply the three “secrets” for increasing profit
- Create an economic forecast for your business using our 7 step profit planning process
- Use profitability benchmarking to find strengths and weaknesses
- Use a method to quickly and easily assess the economic impact of management alternatives
- Discover tools to track your progress
- Confidence in your decisions
- A stronger, simpler, more profitable business
- Greater control over the future of your ranch
Economics is your business’s engine, but finance is the gas that makes it go. High capital costs, debt and cash flow are huge issues confronting ranches today. Many ranchers are land rich and cash poor, but being wealthy on the balance sheet doesn’t mean you have to be dirt poor in your bank account.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Project periods of cash surplus and deficit a year in advance
- Apply the “3 R”s of credit
- Calculate the changing value of money through time
- Evaluate the ways in which you can capitalize or concessionize assets
- Identify sources of capital
- Find ways to let your money work for you
- Determine situations when the use of leverage is appropriate
- Improved cash flow
- Increased passive income
- Increased financial security
- Freed capital currently locked in fixed assets
Soil is more than just dirt. Healthy soil contains billions of living organisms, similar in many respects to the organisms in the rumen of a cow. Soil health is the foundation of sustainable profit in ranching.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Understand the Carbon & Nitrogen cycles and identify practices that improve soil health
- Assess and improve energy flow
- Increase the effectiveness of precipitation
- Improve mineral cycling and the fertility of your soils to minimize or eliminate the need for fertilization.
- Promote desirable forages without seeding
- Reduce weeds without spraying herbicides
- Use a method for quickly and easily assessing the ecological health of your pastures
- A healthier, more productive ecosystem
- Healthy soils, less erosion and fewer weeds
- Greater resistance to drought and pests
- Improved wildlife habitat
- Increased carrying capacity
- Reduced expenditure on herbicides, fertilizers and other costly inputs
Conventional grazing increases compaction, runoff and erosion. Over time it has reduced the carrying capacity of ranches and increased weed problems. Cell Grazing is a management method that improves the environment and increases carrying capacity.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Apply the 5 cell grazing principles
- Use principles of property design (fencing and water development) to create an efficient low-cost plan
- Stop overgrazing without reducing animal numbers
- Determine the number of paddocks needed to achieve your pasture and animal performance goals
- Create a troubleshooting checklist
- Plan grazing using a simple method that optimizes production and minimizes conflicts
- Apply drought management principles to prepare for and minimize the negative impacts of drought
- Increased carrying capacity
- Healthier productive range and pasture with fewer weeds
- A property development plan simplifying management
- A plan for coping with drought
Too often it seems like we are working for our animals. It ought to be the other way around. “Good” cows don’t need a lot of expensive inputs. That’s what makes them good.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Eliminate the need for expensive “substitute” feeding and increase the effectiveness of supplementation
- Develop seasonal supplementation strategies to support optimal performance by grazing animals
- Evaluate and improve reproductive performance in your herd or flock using the 6 Wiltbank principles
- Evaluate how your production schedule aligns with natural cycles and find the best fit
- A logical, low cost effective supplementation policy
- Efficient reproductive performance
- Higher gross margins with lower overheads
- A business that is easier to run and more profitable because nature does most of the work
The only thing harder than running a small business is running a small family business.
What You’ll Learn & Do:
- Improve the effectiveness of communication
- Get everyone working on the same page
- Clearly define roles and establish performance targets
- Delegate effectively and hold people accountable for results
- Begin building a management succession plan
- Differentiate between the $10/hour and $100/hour jobs
- Apply the 5 principles of effective time management
- Hold effective family meetings that produce results
- Clear goals, a clear plan to achieve them, and steady progress toward them
- An effective management team
- Fewer conflicts between employees and family, and when conflicts arise, faster, more effective resolution.
- Fewer crises
- More time for family and fun
RFP School FAQs
- COVID-19 UPDATE AND RESOURCES
When and where are the schools held?
For a current schedule of Ranching For Profit Schools see the Schedule.
When are you going to hold a school in my town?
Occasionally our Ranching For Profit Schools change location but typically they are held in the same location and the same time of year, annually. The week long curriculum is the same regardless of the school’s location.
We encourage you travel to a Ranching For Profit School if we are not offering one in your area. Sure, a school closer to you might make travel a bit easier and one might think that you want to be among ranchers with similar challenges to your own. This is not the case as many of our alumni report that their best experience attending a RFP school is when they attend a school completely out of their area. After all, who’s problems are easier to solve? Your’s or someone else’s? You can see all the silly things your neighbor does and often scratch your head wondering why they waste their time doing those things. What if you could sit with ranchers from a completely different part of the country and they had the opportunity to review your business? Don’t you think they would find things you hadn’t even considered?
Do I need to stay at the hotel where the school is held?
No, but we recommend that even if participants live nearby, they stay at the venue so that they can participate in the informal after-hours discussions. Some people commuting to the school have a harder time focusing on $100,000 issues facing their business because they are distracted doing the $10/hour chores at home before coming to class.
Is there anything I should prepare for or bring to class?
Yes. When you enroll you will be sent prework. This prework will help you apply the business principles you will learn at the school to your own business. Some prework asks you to bring selected financial information to the class. All information is treated with strict confidence, and you don’t have to reveal any more to anyone than you want to. We recommend against bringing reams of financial statements and other records. When people bring raw data to the class they tend to spend all their time looking things up rather than thinking things through. In addition to your completed prework please wear comfortable clothes including a light jacket. (We like keep the classroom cool.) We provide each student with a workbook, scratch paper, pencils, erasers, calculators and everything else you need to learn how to get in control of your business.
What financial information do I need to bring with me?
The answer is either nothing or some. The Ranching for Profit School is a place to make a plan to move forward, not to try and reconstruct the past. In class, we won’t work on your specific financials but will use a case study to learn the process. In the evening hours, after class, there will be optional time for you to dive in to your specific numbers and make your plan for moving forward. If you If you are starting from scratch or getting ready to make a complete shift in your enterprise mix then bringing past financial data is a waste of time. We will build the plan based on educated guesses looking forward. If you are looking to make changes to what you are currently doing, then having some summary financial data will be helpful. Do not bring reams of paper showing all the business transactions from the past 3 years! The following will give you an idea of the types of financial data that will be helpful.
- Inventory of livestock/crops
- Estimates of livestock/cropping performance (weaning rate, gains, breeding rates etc.)
- Feed usage and costs
- Vet costs by livestock class
- Equipment inventory value
- Total utilities, insurance, professional fees etc.
- Total fuel, fertilizer, pesticide, seeding expenses
When compiling these numbers, precision isn’t important. It doesn’t matter if your total utility bill on the place was $15,000 or $15,234.54. The $254.54 isn’t going to mean the difference between a good year and a bad year.
How much does the school cost and what does the fee cover?
The fee for the school is $2,750 (U.S.) for the first person from your business. Additional people attending the school from the same business pay the discounted fee of $2,000 (U.S.) per person. The second person rate applies as long as a person is taking the class within the same school year. Alumni may repeat the school for only $750 (U.S.). The hotel and lodging costs are separate and vary from location to location. The course fee includes tuition, pre-work materials, a workbook with a comprehensive set of school notes, and a reference manual with step-by-step instructions for all of the processes taught at the school. You will also receive access to a share drive with all of the economic forms used in the classroom. The fee also includes a meal package which provides daily coffee, pastries, mid-afternoon refreshments, and lunches Monday through Friday. Ranch Management Consultants hosts a dinner the first night of class (Sunday) for all participants.
Do you offer scholarships to attend Ranching for Profit?
No we don’t. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t scholarships available. Attendees have found financial assistance to attend RFP from a variety of sources including lending institutions, conservation districts, conservation groups, state workforce service centers and others. Contact those organizations you are partnering with and see if they want to support your attendance. We believe it is important to invest in your own professional development. Though we don’t personally offer scholarships we do offer a simple payment plan to attend our schools.
Is there a payment plan?
The Ranching For Profit School tuition is a bargain compared to the value you will receive. Most people feel that every dollar invested in the school comes back to them many times over every year! But when times are tough, scraping together the tuition may be an obstacle to attending. That’s why we offer a tuition payment plan.
How it Works:
- New students should submit the registration form with a $300 per person deposit (registration is not official until the deposit is received).
- The balance due will be split into three installments, 1 month, 4 months and 7 months after the school.
Your payments will be automatically charged to your credit card.
- An annualized interest charge of 7.5% will be assessed on the unpaid balance.
- The balance can be paid off early with no penalties.
- There is no payment plan for RFP alumni repeating the school. Repeat students should submit the full repeat fee of $750 with their registration form.
If you would like to take advantage of our payment plan, simply check the box on the registration form asking for information about this option. We will include information about the payment plan with your prework package.
What is your refund/cancellation policy?
We have a flexible cancellation policy where your deposit can be rolled to another school within 13 months as long as you let us know at least 7 days prior to the start of the school. If you complete the Ranching for Profit School and at the end believe you have not received your money’s worth, we will refund the fee according to our policy. Please read our refund and cancellation policy.
- How do I register for the class?
Who should attend?
The Ranching For Profit School was built for people who have been there, done that and looking for a smarter, simpler, more profitable way to run their ranches. But whether you are 1st generation or 6th, an absentee owner or a manager, the Ranching For Profit School offers tools and insights to improve your decision making and build a better business.
Two is Better Than One
Whether husbands and wives, parents and their adult children or owners with their managers we strongly recommend that the management team attend together. It’s easier to implement RFP principles and make changes when everyone is on the same page. That’s why we discount the tuition for additional people attending from the same business.
How young is too young and how old is too old?
Students must be at least 18 years of age or older to attend. Ages of students have ranged from early 20’s to early 80’s with an average age varying between 35-55.
How important is it to be experienced with numbers?
Don’t worry that the school will be too complex or too simple. Whether you have an MBA or didn’t finish high school, the course will meet you where you are. We are known for breaking down complicated concepts into simple principles and step-by-step methods. But the course isn’t dumbed-down. MBA’s and accountants attending the school tell us the simple, powerful tools we provide have deepened their understanding and enhanced their ability to serve and advise their clients.
I’m new to farming/ranching and will just be starting my operation. Is the RFP School right for me?
Ranching for Profit is a business school for people in agriculture. Whether you grow crops or raise animals whether you are a large or small operation the principles we teach will apply to any business regardless of scale or what you grow/raise. That being said, the majority of our clients are from livestock operations that are large enough to support a family. The examples in the school are mostly based on livestock operations running a breeding herd. However, we teach principles that apply to any business. If you are new to farming/ranching, you won’t be alone. Every school has a few attendees who are just getting started and every school has someone who has a mixed cropping and livestock farm or only cropping. Watch this video about how Ranching for Profit concepts and tools will apply to your operation.
Can I bring my children/baby into the classroom?
Think of the classroom as a boardroom. This is a place where $100,000 or more decisions are being made. All participants have a lot invested in being there and we need to minimize distractions in the classroom. It is not appropriate to bring your children and expect them to stay with you in the classroom. Nursing mothers, or parents with young children have attended and have brought a caregiver with them who doesn’t attend the class. Sleeping infants on occasion are fine, but do not plan to bring your infant or other small children to the classroom all week.
Who are the Instructors?
Each Ranching For Profit School is taught by one of our highly qualified instructors. For a brief biography of the RFP instructors visit About Us.
When the course is over am I on my own to remember and apply these concepts and techniques?
No. Our alumni support is unparalleled. RFP Online provides video coaching tutorials and step-by-step assignments to help you apply everything you learned in the class. You will also be eligible to join Executive Link, the most successful alumni network in agriculture. In Executive Link, Ranching for Profit School alumni work together in peer advisory boards. Using a structured review process, they consult with one another about business decisions and hold each other accountable to implement their personal action plans.
Ranching For Profit School typically start at 2:30pm on a Sunday afternoon (Day 1) and concludes at noon the following Saturday (Day 7). The remainder of the days (M-F) generally start at 8 AM and conclude between 5 and 6 PM with optional time outside of these hours to work on your business.Print outline
People, Ecology, Production & Economics (Overview)
- Differentiate between working in the business (the $10/hour work) v. working on the business (the $1,000/hour jobs)
- Apply Parato Principle (the 80/20 Rule)
- Identify worry areas to address during the class.
- Review Principles to derive maximum value from the school.
Economics & People
- Apply the 3 secrets for increasing profit to your farm or ranch.
- Determine how accounts should be organized for your ranch.
- Begin the search for breakthroughs for your ranch.
- Identify ineffective and highly effective personal, business and industry paradigms.
- Draw out ideas, opinions, facts and feelings from others in non-threatening ways to improve communication at home and in your business.
- Establish clear goals for you, your family, and your business.
- Define roles and performance targets for everyone who works in and on your ranch.
- Hold people (including yourself) accountable for results without damaging relationships.
- Develop a management succession plan that ensures continuity into the future.
- Prepare the next generation for management authority and responsibility.
- Develop and implement a plan to achieve your goals.
Economics & Finance
- Apply the 7 step Ranching For Profit Economic Model to your business to project profit or loss and identify profit drivers and “deadwood.”
- Complete an enterprise analysis for each part of your business.
- Calculate gross margins and use them to make better production decisions.
- Project and manage your cash flow.
- Use key performance indicators and benchmarking to find strengths and weaknesses in your business.
- Find strategies for increasing profit for your farm or ranch.
- Apply the 3 “R’s” of credit and other financial principles that will make you more financially secure and make your farm or ranch more efficient.
- Identify options to capitalize and concessionize fixed assets to put you money, currently tied up in unproductive fixed assets, to work.
Ecology & Grazing
- Assess the health of your property.
- Identify tactics for improving soil health and the condition of your ranch ecosystem without expensive inputs.
- Determine the carrying capacity of your ranch.
- Increase the carrying capacity of your ranch without seeding, spraying, fertilizing, brush clearing or other expensive, counterproductive practices.
- Create a property development plan
Grazing & Production
- Build a feed bank.
- Troubleshoot pasture and animal performance problems.
- Apply the five principles of cell grazing to increase carrying capacity and improve the health of your land while reducing costs.
- Create growing season and dormant season grazing plans that incorporate wildlife considerations, production risk, personal needs and other factors.
- Compare the profitability of seasonal v. year round grazing enterprises
- Drought proof your business.
- Improve the nutrition your livestock get from grazing
- Design a supplementation program that will support high performance and minimize costs.
- Apply the six basic principles for improving reproductive performance in your herd.
Ecology & People
- Develop a business structure that fits your environment and works with nature’s cycles.
- Compare the profitability of alternative production strategies for enterprises.
- Find strategies to effectively manage the “worry areas” identified on day 1.
- Experience first-hand the value of having an objective, experienced board of peer advisors.
People & Management
- Draft a plan to apply Ranching For Profit principles to the challenges facing your ranch.
- Determine a policy for working on your business on a regular basis.
- Finalize your plan to apply Ranching For Profit principles to your ranch.
When you enroll in the Ranching For Profit School we send you prework to complete prior to the class. The prework will familiarize you with RFP principles, and make it easier to apply RFP concepts to your ranch during the class.
Classes range from 20 to 54 students organized in teams of 5-6 participants. Students are often from different types of ranches in different regions and form friendships that last long after the school is over.
Instruction consists of short dynamic lectures, fun demonstrations and video presentations interspersed with individual and team tasks. Team tasks generally focus on applying course principles and tools to a real case study. Individual tasks generally involve the application of concepts and methods to your own farm or ranch.
Individual coaching is available after hours.
Most schools begin at 3 pm sharp on a Sunday. We offer a get-acquainted reception ½ hour before the class starts. The day ends at 7:30 with a dinner RMC hosts for class participants. Monday through Friday class begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends about 5:00 p.m. On Saturday class begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at noon. Each night there will be homework to complete in which you’ll apply the principles of Ranching for Profit to your own business.
The course fee for one person attending is $2,750. The fee for each additional person is $2,000. A payment plan is available.
Graduates are welcome to repeat the class for only $750. The course fee includes tuition, course materials, refreshments, lunches and a life-changing experience. In addition to the outstanding instruction during the course, RFP teachers offer one-on-one coaching after-hours in the classroom. Participants leave with a prioritized action plan for their ranch.
Holy cow! This thing paid for itself on the first day!