2019 Ranching for Profit Conference

Ranching for Generations 
August 1 – 3, 2019 ~ Sheridan, WY
Registration will open on February 1, 2019

↓Scroll down to read the Ranching for Generations interviews↓

Ranching for Generations:

Creating a Succession Plan That Works for Everyone

The most difficult challenges we face as business owners are exposed in succession planning. What is one generation retiring to? Is the next generation competent? How will you treat on and off-ranch heirs fairly? What if there is no next generation? The Ranching For Generations conference will tackle these and other challenges head on. If you don’t have a succession plan, this is your chance to build one. If you have a plan, this is your chance to test and improve it.

The generational theme of the conference is particularly poignant for Ranch Management Consultants because Dave and Kathy Pratt are transitioning ownership and management of RMC to RFP Instructor Dallas Mount and his wife Dixie. Join us as we celebrate the new generation of management that will continue RMC’s mission: Healthy land, happy families and profitable businesses. Your land, your family, your business!


More details and schedule coming soon.

Confirmed Speakers:

Tara Kuipers – Cody, WY
Why can’t your parents, or grandparents and kids get on the same page as you and buy into the plan? Tara Kuipers knows and she’ll tell you at the Ranching For Generations Conference. She’ll also give you tools to help bridge the divide.

Tara is an independent consultant specializing in strategic planning, mediation and change management for organizations and businesses across the Rocky Mountain West.


Elaine Froese – Boissevain, MB, Canada
Whether it is one generation stepping down or stepping aside, or another generation stepping up, succession in family businesses is challenging…even if everyone gets along and is on the same page. When there is conflict and uncertainty, succession planning can seem like an impossible hurdle to overcome.

Elaine Froese is a farm family coach who specializes in helping families work through difficult succession issues to create sustainable businesses and powerful, lasting legacies. She will lead conference attendees in a full-day workshop to help attendees develop or review and improve their plans for succession.


Nicole Masters – New Zealand
For generations North American farmers and ranchers have treated their soil like dirt! By improving soil health ranchers can increase productivity while reducing costs. That’s the specialty of internationally respected educator and consultant, Nicole Masters specialty. Nicole has worked with dozens of RFP graduates to devise and implement practical, low-cost solutions to improve soil health and the productivity of their land. Nicole will be leading a workshop on soil health at the Padlock ranch.


Fred Provenza – Hartsel, CO
Life is a series of transitions. From young to old. From single to married to parents. Professional life is a series of transitions too. From apprentice to master to mentor. From work to retirement. From one generation to another. Transitions are challenging. They take us from comfort into the unknown.

No one can tell a story like Utah State Professor Emeritus, Fred Provenza. Fred has gone through his share of personal and professional transitions and will share his insights as our keynote speaker.

  • Ranching for Generations Interviews
    • Doug Gillham of Ivansons Inc.

      Tell us about your operation before attending the Ranching for Profit School.
      In 1994 I attended the Ranching for Profit School. We had a diversified operation consisting of cow/calf, custom hog feeding, CRP and farming. We fed hay or silage from November through grass time, usually early May. We were good producers weaning 600 pound calves from a calving season beginning in January and running through April. We raised our own replacement heifers. We also produced hogs that consistently graded in the top three producers out of a marketing association of 100 members. I was in business with my Dad. I supplied the labor and he had the equity. We were doing just about everything the Ranching for Profit School said we shouldn’t be doing.


      Describe your current operation.
      Fast forward 24 years, we are now a low overhead custom grazing operation. We offer full care summer grazing. We own no heavy equipment, we rent any equipment needed or hire it done. In 2010, Theresa and I acquired the ranch from my Mom (Dad died in 2007) through a gift/purchase agreement. We put the land in an LLC, High Point Ranch, which leases the land to our sub S corporation, Ivansons, Inc. In 2005, 8 wind turbines were installed on the ranch.


      What impact has the RFP School had on your business?
      We determined through the RFP school that our ranch in 1994 had too much overhead. My parents were taking an income from the place, as were Theresa and I. Labor was the largest part of that overhead. Theresa and I decided that in order to preserve the ranch and not further erode Mom and Dad’s equity, we needed to leave. We found the deadwood in the business and we were it. We were, in a sense, sitting on the limb when we cut the deadwood out of the business. This restructuring allowed Mom and Dad to preserve equity by enrolling the remaining farm ground into the CRP program and custom graze the pastures. When the wind turbines were installed in 2005, the added income paved the way for a comfortable retirement for my parents. The decision to leave the ranch in 1994 was difficult from a personal standpoint but it was absolutely the right decision from a business standpoint.


      How did the school impact you on a personal level?
      Personally, the Ranching for Profit School gave me the tools, and the confidence to use them, that have guided me for the past 24 years. The RFP school was the best investment of time and money I have ever made.


      What words of wisdom do you have for someone who has just completed the RFP school?
      I would encourage anyone who has gone through the school to be relentless in putting the school principals to work. That includes seeing the red flags you would rather ignore and making the hard decisions necessary to make your business profitable. And always, always know where you are going by keeping your vision in front of you.


      What are your plans for the future of your operation?
      My Mom died just this last September. Mom and Dad had a good succession plan which we are finalizing right now. As we are completing this succession phase from my parents, we are now working on our succession plan for our children and grandchildren. The land we now own was purchased three times. Once by my grandparents, again by my parents and a third time by Theresa and I. We are determined to pass the ranch on debt free to our children and grandchildren.  

    • John Marble of Heart - Z Ranch

      Tell us about your operation before attending the Ranching for Profit School.
      Prior to attending RFP School my ranch looked a lot like the ranch where I grew up: extremely high input in terms of petrochemicals, equipment, fuel, hay. We had a permanent herd of impractical cows that calved in the wrong season. We operated a rudimentary grazing system, with the main point being reserving all flat ground for making hay. The CPA told me that the way we were going we would always be getting a tax refund. We were going broke, but I had no idea why.


      Describe your current operation.
      We operate a small grazing and marketing business that is focused on using managed grazing to produce value. We have extremely low overheads and direct costs. We have no permanent cattle. Instead, I buy several classes of animals each spring with specific marketing plans. We also take on custom grazing cattle for several clients, largely placing them on rented pastures. Typically, over 75% of our land base is rented. We have no employees, but hire day help and custom hire any machine work or hauling. We own one very small utility tractor.


      What impact has the RFP School had on your business? 
      Prior to attending the School, clearly, I did not understand business, and I did not truly have a business. I was simply doing what I had been trained to do. There was no economic analysis and pretty modest understanding of ecological concepts. I just worked hard and kept going.

      Now, I try to constantly review each enterprise for both economic and ecological impact. I run scenarios for change through my mind and on paper, constantly looking for ways to change and go forward. I read everything, always looking for good ideas to steal. I seek change. I try to hang out with people who are radical thinkers.


      How did the school impact you on a personal level?
      I think spending a week with a room full of people who had the same problems as I did was enlightening, and truthfully, sort of comforting. Seeing that we were all in the same position—approaching desperation—allowed me to conclude that I (we all) needed to find a way forward.

      The camaraderie of the group was pretty intense. Afterward, I found myself feeling like a member of a huge RFP fraternity, and now I find other members everywhere I go. They are typically energetic and optimistic folks.


      What words of wisdom do you have for someone who has just completed the RFP school?
      Take a breath. Look back at the material and the notes you made during the week and think about which items represent the most absolutely critical changes you need to make, then concentrate on them. Don’t seek much advice from people who haven’t had RFP experience: they will most certainly discourage you from making change. Soon after you begin making real change—perhaps a year or two—sign up to repeat the School. This will drive you to complete more changes, and the second School will reinforce the things you have learned. Repeating the School is a great bargain.


      What are your plans for the future of your operation?
      I think the early conclusion that my wife and I were not going to have children was extremely important in determining what the ranch business would look like. Building a ranch with no apparent succession option probably caused me to choose different pathways than other folks might have. In the end, I have no true business to sell or pass on, even though we have been modestly successful. We have assembled a significant amount of value in real estate, and that will serve us well in retirement. The bucket full of skills and knowledge that I accumulated about how to ranch for profit is not a salable item, and that’s OK: those skills and knowledge have served me well. Fundamentally, I feel like we have found success without succession.

We look forward to seeing you all in Wyoming!