PROFIT TIPS

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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Sustainability: What’s In A Name?

Maybe it’s just semantics, but I think the words we choose are important. 40 years ago, when I was in college, “sustainable agriculture” was a revolutionary concept. Forward-thinking universities created Sustainable Agriculture Departments. Most farm and ranch kids enrolled in the Animal Science or Crop Science programs while the hippies enrolled in Sustainable Agriculture. But […]

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How Much Can You Afford To Spend On Feed?

A midwestern University specialist recently wrote a column for a leading beef industry magazine claiming that winter feeding is the biggest expense in most cow/calf enterprises. That may be true in most cow/calf enterprises, but I doubt it’s true for any of the most profitable cow/calf enterprises. The specialist offered suggestions to “reduce feed costs […]

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A True Story About A Real Manager

About 15 years ago I met an absentee owner who was responsible for a family ranch that was losing money. It had lost between $200,000-$300,000 year after year for a long time. Over those years she’d made several threats to the two managers that if things didn’t turn around, the family would have to sell […]

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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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4 Reasons Why Increasing Weaning Weights May Not Increase Profit

I gotta stop reading this stuff. A recent article in a self-proclaimed “progressive” magazine claimed that July deworming was an often-overlooked opportunity to increase weaning weight and therefore profit.   According to the article, deworming can increase weaning weights by at least 30 pounds at a cost of $7.85 per cow/calf pair. With a market […]

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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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5 Keys to Quality Cattle

A popular industry magazine found its way to my desk this week. An article that described five essential “wisdoms” for producing quality cattle piqued my curiosity. According to the author, the first key is “Be fanatic about animal health.” Key number two is “Pay the extra money for a good bull and build a reputation for […]

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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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