Ranch Management Consultants, with an acknowledged huge amount of other support, hosted 48 youth from 17 states in Sheridan, Wyoming for 4 days! If even half those become true ranchers and not serfs on the land, the livestock industry will be in good shape. However, given the financial/investment outlook in our country, none (unless they are already incredibly wealth) will be able to build a legacy. Our economy has been moving in this direction for years, but is now accelerating into something unrecognizable. Too bad.
One thing that became clear to me was that these young people are eager to take on additional responsibility and assume a more prominent role in the businesses they are involved with. It is easy for Junior to say “get out the way…. I’m ready to run this!” but it is significantly more difficult for the seasoned manager with battle scars of past mistakes, to know when and how much control to relinquish. At the Ranching for Profit School, we teach the importance of developing clear expectations for each position in your operation. Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People expands on that with the DR GRAC acronym of Desired Results, Guidelines, Accountability, and Consequences as a thorough way to delegate important tasks. If Junior is going to take over the grazing planning what are the results and specific targets we need to achieve? It should be written down how and when we are going to measure these. Targets for the grazing manager might be:
- Every pasture has a monitoring transect by 2022-monitoring report due Nov 1
- 75% cover by perennial plants- monitoring report due Nov 1
- Decreasing bare ground- monitoring report due Nov 1
- SDA/1” precip reported monthly- Monthly WOTB meeting
- Target rest periods achieved 90% of the time- Grazing Plan reviewed Dec 1
If Junior wants more responsibility, then management should identify where the business is currently failing to produce the desired results. From there you can develop a shared understanding of what a quality result for the business would look like. Junior might need some support on how to be successful in creating these desired results. Maybe there is a neighbor that has this figured out, that Junior can talk with or perhaps there is a class or training on the subject that they can attend. Writing down the guidelines and deadlines for this task on a flip chart and taking a picture of it will help everyone remember the agreements next time the subject comes up.
I don’t buy it when I hear that no young people want to be involved in agriculture. After spending four days with 48 youngsters pulling at the bit, ready for a shot, you wouldn’t either. Those of us in the leadership roles need to create opportunities for them to develop themselves into the people they can become.