A Beginners Guide on How to Run a Ranch
Running a ranch is hard work, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Not all ranches and farms are created equal, with each one having its own unique selling points as well as its problems. But if you have decided that you want to run a successful and profitable ranch, then it is helpful to focus on the things that will help you get the best results.
Many new ranchers have put the focus on the wrong things and neglected things like the paperwork, which is not recommended. We find the most successful ranchers can efficiently prioritize jobs and continuously analyze what they are doing and how they can improve upon it. So, if you are thinking about moving out West, then here are some tips on how to run a ranch.
Plan for the Unexpected
Life on a ranch can be challenging, and every day can bring a new problem to address. This can be more easily managed if you have an adaptable and flexible management approach. For example, storms can cause damage to fences or cause a tree to fall. These issues will need to be addressed as soon as possible, especially if you are running a cattle farm.
There may also be unexpected costs caused by broken equipment or damaged buildings, which will need to be dealt with. Therefore, it is a good idea to be organized with your books, so you have some spare working capital should the need arise.
Do the Paperwork
Some people love this, while others loathe it, but it pays to stay on top of it. If you need to borrow money or want to get a valuation on your property, then the banks and brokers will want to see up-to-date, accurate, and well-organized financial documents such as cash flow statements, inventories, and profit and loss reports. Without these, you are going to have a hard time getting the money you need or an accurate valuation of your property.
Having someone in the family who likes doing paperwork and managing the financial aspects of the business is always going to be a valuable asset. Some people choose to hire a ranch manager or accountant to look after this side of things, which can also free you up to take care of the daily operations.
Whatever approach you decide on, it is much better to get the books done today, rather than tomorrow.
Running a ranch involves a lot of trial and error irrespective of the kind of ranch. You may have problems with your yields or struggle to attract paying guests, so you should be prepared to change things up if your current strategy isn’t working. Sometimes, simple changes in pastures, irrigation, or management can have a major difference.
Also, try not to get stuck in your ways. Just because your ranch focuses on certain kinds of cattle doesn’t mean that you always have to do that. Many landowners have diversified their operations by opening up lodging for recreational use such as hunting, or they have leased out parts of the land to other members of the community.
Don’t Live in a Bubble
Ranching is all about community, and you should try to get to know your neighbors and other important members of the community. You never know when you will need an extra pair of hands, and you will be amazed how quick people are to help.
Also, keep up-to-date with changes in local and federal laws regarding zoning, land taxes, and conservation, as well as changes in the local environment which may have an impact on the eco-systems on your property. All of these factors can affect your bottom-line and the overall success of your ranch.