That Crazy Grazing Stuff
“You guys don’t tell people to do that crazy grazing stuff with the electric fence do you? Because if so, I’m not coming.” That was an email I recently received asking about our Ranching for Profit School. I responded with a polite and honest answer but the more I think about maybe I should have responded with a few more details, such as this:
We actually don’t tell people they need to do anything. We try to put good questions in front of participants and encourage exploration. Maybe what your ranch is doing is achieving the results the owners desire. If so … why change?
However most who attend our Ranching for Profit School are looking for different results from their agriculture business. Most want a healthy profit in the business to allow them to expand the business to support themselves without having to work a full-time off farm job, or make the business attractive and big enough that it can support the next generation. We teach a practical economic model that helps participants identify the economic strengths and weaknesses in their operation and what can be done about it.
When it comes to the grazing, most who attend the school want to build ecological health in their land. Some of that comes from an altruistic goal, but often the motivation is more practical. It is about building drought resistance, and increasing forage production to get the economic engine running at optimum performance. We teach time-tested principles to build ecological health that work in any environment. How and if you choose to apply these principles is completely up to you. It must fit your vision of your business. I know many who would rather quit ranching then give up running cattle in large pastures in expansive landscapes. We encourage economic prudence in application of the principles. The same infrastructure that is cost effective in a 60 inch precip zone likely isn’t going to pay for itself in a 6 inch precip zone. There isn’t a recipe for a grazing system that we hand out at the door. There are principles. Economic principles, grazing principles and business management principles. It’s your job to figure out how you apply these principles to fit your desired outcomes. So no … we don’t tell people to do that crazy grazing stuff … it goes much deeper than that.
There is help to apply the principles. At the school we show the application of the grazing principles in several environments. It doesn’t end there. Participants leave the school with the RFP Reference Manual that provides step by step application instructions for applying the principles at home and there is RFP Online and Executive Link to help participants implement practices that make economic sense. That crazy grazing stuff may not fit your vision. It doesn’t for everyone. Business leadership is about creating an exciting vision then developing a plan to make it make a reality. We hope we can be a part of yours.