Weathering The Peaks, Valleys To Make Your Ranch Profitable

Dave Pratt, consultant, will focus his Nebraska workshops this month on helping ranches get started.

Published on: Jan 5, 2012

Dave Pratt transferred his passion for teaching and innovative research after 15 years at California Extension Service to the Ranch Management Consultants. His business has taught more than 150 Ranching for Profit schools across the states and Canada.

Pratt will be in Nebraska for four day-long workshops this month where he will discuss characteristics of highly profitable ranch businesses. He will also help participants increase their profits and sustainability through business, finances and people management strategies.

Strategies include trimming "deadwood," or money draining enterprises, from your ranch. Techniques to improve communication at home and in your business will help keep and train employee/family members.

Weathering The Peaks, Valleys To Make Your Ranch Profitable
Weathering The Peaks, Valleys To Make Your Ranch Profitable

Pratt says there are only three things a rancher can do to increase profit: 1. Decrease the overhead costs; 2. improve the gross margin per unit; and 3. increase the turnover, in other words, the number of units.

But only one of these three points is the most important. If high overheads are the problem, increases in production efficiency are likely to increase your work load but may not significantly increase profit. If gross margin is the problem, then decreasing overheads won't have much effect and increasing turnover may actually help you go broke faster. It isn't enough to know the numbers. You must now find out what the numbers mean, Pratt says.

Pratt will focus on ranchers starting up. All the same principles apply, but all start-up businesses, including ranches, face additional challenges. Communication may also be needed as the next generation transitions onto the ranch.

Pratt's website is www.ranchmanagement.com.

Dates and locations for the workshops are: (Times are Local):

• Jan. 25, 2 to 8 p.m., North Platte, UNL West Central Research and Extension. Rick Funston, UNL beef specialist, will also talk about heifer enterprises.

• Jan. 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thedford, Thomas County Fair building.

 •Jan. 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Broken Bow, Broken Bow Country Club.

 •Jan. 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Valentine, Cedar Canyon. 

Registration is $50 per person, or $75 per couple, for the day-long workshop. To pre-register for a meal count, contact Randy Saner at 308-532-2683 for North Platte; Bethany Johnston at 308-645-2267 or 1-800-657-2113 for Thedford; Troy Walz at 308-872-6831 for Broken Bow; and Jay Jenkins at 402-376-1850 or 1-800-657-2188 for Valentine.