Near the end of our homeschooling stint, we discovered a wonderful family who have for 35 years pulled together a spectacular array of historical and educational speakers. Formerly called CHEF (Christian Home Education Fellowship), now called Family Covenant Ministries.
In February 2012, they organised a small group of young men to meet at one of the nation’s premier knife making operations near Ozark, Missouri. Definitely a highlight of our home education career. Ozark Knife Makers at Ozark Forge.
You may not agree with every precept promoted by Ranch Management Consultants (Ranching for Profit) or those of any expert in the ranch/farm management or sustainable/regenerative camp, but fundamental thoughts work for nearly any endeavor.
TRANSFORMING your business BEGINS WITH TRANSFORMING yourself
Transforming your ranch into an effective business involves changes in land management, animal husbandry, money management and in the way you interact with the people in your business. But the biggest change isn’t to the land or the animals. The biggest change is in you.
IT ISN’T SUSTAINABLE if it isn’t PROFITABLE
Profit is to business as breathing is to life. A ranch that doesn’t produce an economic profit isn’t a business. It’s a hobby … an expensive hobby.
FOCUS ON effectiveness NOT EFFICIENCY
Efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing. It doesn’t do any good to do things right if you are doing the wrong things! If something is efficient, but not effective, stop it immediately!
Most ranch businesses are structured to fight nature. That’s expensive and exhausting. Businesses that match enterprises and production schedules to nature’s cycles are more profitable, less work and more fun!
YOU DON’T GET harmony WHEN EVERYONE SINGS THE SAME NOTE
In any business, especially family businesses, there are bound to be differences of opinion. Our decisions are improved when we bring different perspectives and ideas to the table and engage in constructive debate, as long as we agree that, at the end of the day, we all ride for the brand.
Unsustainable effort is unsustainable. Period! Planning is the key to simplifying enterprises, increasing profit and reducing labor.
We often act as though we have a choice between ranching as a lifestyle or a business. The lifestyle of ranching improves when the ranch is a successful business first.
WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS two mornings a week
It’s not enough to work IN your business, you must work ON your business.
WEALTHY on the balance sheet & BROKE AT THE BANK
The misallocation of capital is the biggest financial problem in ranching. At the Ranching For Profit School you’ll learn how to capitalize and concessionize assets to increase profit and improve the financial health of your business.
RANCHING FOR PROFIT is NOT an oxymoron
Many ranchers seem to think that profit is dictated by prices and weather…two things beyond our direct control. Ranching for Profit graduates prove every year that the key to profit is management.
A hot topic in regenerative farming circles these past few years is the use of cover crops. Do they have a place in ‘modern’ farming practices. Modern mostly meaning supply/demand/government subsidies/market considerations. Modern farming practices currently are very hard on soil health and microbes.
Nevertheless, there are some farmers who had embraced cover cropping decades ago with huge successes in improving soils and yields, some are just now dipping their toes in the ‘new’ (actually ancient) practice, and still others staunchly refuse to consider them.
These principles have been around for centuries, but more recently promoted by Ray Archuleta, Gabe Brown, Jay Fuhrer, Jon Srika, and others
Five Principles of Soil Health:
- Limit Disturbance – limit mechanical, chemical, and physical disturbance of soil. Widespread tillage destroys soil structure and function.
- Keep the Soil Covered – maintain an armor of plant residue on the soil surface. Residue can inhibit weed growth, moderate soil temperature, reduce erosion, reduce evaporation, and provide organic matter for soil microbes.
- Promote and Build Diversity – incorporating cover crops or diversifying your crop rotation or both! The synergy of diverse root exudates improves soil health.
- Keep Living Roots in the Soil – keep living roots in the soil for as many months as possible. Converting solar energy to biological energy feeds mycorrhizal fungi. Miles of roots hold soil in place and increases water holding capacity.
- Integrate Animals – Properly managed grazing animals taking a bite of grass pumps more carbon back into the system. Slobber, urine, manure, biting and ripping grasses, all add so much to the system, it’s impossible to discuss in this short blog.
For full stories and explanation of these five principles, i highly recommend Gabe Brown’s excellent book, Dirt to Soil.