Ranch Management students develop Management Plan

Fort Worth, Texas | April 23, 2012 01:31 PM | Print this story

The Management Plan is the keystone project of the Ranch Management Program at TCU, and passing of the plan is required of all Ranch Management students. The goal of the project is to help students develop an in-depth understanding of all aspects involved in managing an operation. There are three main components of the Management Plan: Overview of the Current Operation, and Plans A and B. Plans A and B entail an analysis of the operation as if the student were running it as a Cow/Calf operation or as a Stocker/Feeder operation. Each student chose a ranch that could be classified as an economic unit, meaning that it needed to be able to support a full time employee and his/her family.


Eric Miller, a Ranch Management student who recently graduated form the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, conducted research on a ranch located in north-central Nebraska, in the Nebraska Sandhills. The Sandhills is comprised primarily of tall grass prairie, dominated by Big Bluestem and Indian grasses. Currently, the ranch is being operated strictly as a summer custom grazing operation, meaning that they take in cattle for customers and manage and care for them through the summer. Miller spent two days on the ranch conducting a survey of the resources. A majority of his time was spent on the range land determining plant species composition and calculating the total pounds of forage available. He also developed a complete inventory of equipment, buildings and other resources on the ranch. He used this information to develop everything related to operations, including animal health plans, yearly budgets, analysis of alternative enterprises, etc.


He described the level of effort he put into the project by saying, "By the time I turned [it] in, I had such an intimate connection with the operation that I felt like it was my own."


Kenneth Kyle, a student enrolled in the Ranch Management certificate program and a recent graduate of Clemson University, conducted research on a purebred Angus operation located in South Carolina. His research involved taking inventory of natural resources available on the land, including gathering aerial maps, soil surveys, climatic data to evaluate potential forage production, and the length of the growing season.


"It is a unique opportunity to take a potential real life operation and learn the management decisions associated with it," Kyle said. "I chose the operation because I performed an internship on the farm two years ago and wanted to expand my knowledge of operating a cattle business based on introduced forages."


Both students developed their plans over the course of one year, and included valuable insights regarding how the operations could become more efficient and ecnonomical. For more information about TCU's prestigious Ranch Management Program, please visit ranch.tcu.edu.