About the school

 
"My daughter and I attended the practicum together and I feel one of the most beneficial things was that it presented so many opportunities to discuss the details of planning and financial exercises of decision making.  Their explanations and info on pasture monitoring and alternative feeding and grazing was very timely for our operation."  - Wilma Post, Rancher


 



 
 


 
 
The High Plains Ranch Practicum is an eight-day, hands-on educational program designed to give participants the skills and application of management tools needed in today’s complex ranching industry.

The school focuses on four key areas of ranch management:

    Unit-Cost of Production for Enterprise Base Economic Analysis and Decision Making

    Range and Forage Resources

    Cow Production - Nutrition and Reproduction

    Family and Employee Working Relationships


One of the most valuable aspects of the school are the other people you will meet and the relationships built over the 8 days of class.


By Attending, Participants Will:

Develop the ability to efficiently use decision-support tools to critically evaluate numerous management and marketing alternatives including:

·   Developing individualized unit cost of production

· Grazing strategies and systems

· Methods of managing risk

· Evaluate calving and weaning dates

· Livestock nutrition and cow body condition scoring

· Family business and working relationships

Understanding Range and Forage Resources

Sound grazing management begins with an understanding of plant growth and response to grazing, forage quality, and grazing systems on irrigated land and upland range. Participants will develop skills in range monitoring, designing and implementing planned grazing systems, and managing land to better meet objectives
 
   

Insight Into Range Beef Cow Production

Monitoring cow body condition scores with stage of production allows effective evaluation of decisions for events such as time of calving, time of weaning, and needed level of supplementation. You will also learn to use beef cattle nutrition software to determine pre- and post-calving nutrient requirements based on analysis of forage samples and range conditions.  Reproductive performance is a critical factor in the cow-calf business.   We will discuss managing the cow-herd for cow effective reproductive performance and matching the enterprise to the environment.

Understanding Unit Costs of Production

Knowing unit costs of production is a critical tool for ranch managers to effectively make decisions. Participants will learn how to calculate unit costs of production and use this information to analyze their operations.

A Systems Approach

Natural resource management, livestock management, and economics are integrated throughout the practicum. Throughout the eight days, participants will evaluate present range conditions, and cow body condition scores along with current market prices to discuss management options available and decisions that could be made at various points in the year. Livestock nutrition programs will be analyzed from an integrated system approach evaluating the purchasing of supplements and ways to extend the grazing season.

Additionally, the economics of replacement heifer development, and using current and historic market information as a tool to improve net ranch income will be discussed. The critical personnel component of managing and communicating with people involved with the ranch will be addressed related to goal setting and planning, working relationships, and estate planning.

Calendar and Site

Attendance at all sessions is important because of the sequential nature of the curriculum. Participants must attend at least six of the eight days to receive a certificate of completion.

Practicum Fee

The cost of the High Plains Ranch Practicum course is $600 for one person and $900 for two from the same ranch willing to share materials. All educational materials, noon meals, and breaks are included. Participants are responsible for their travel and any lodging expenses.