Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Balanced scorecard provides business planning for ranchers

KINGSVILLE - October 12, 2006

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Symposium Provides Management Expertise

The goal of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM) at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is to develop young ranchers into managers that have a diverse knowledge of the issues that affect today’s ranches.

To this end, the KRIRM will host their Third Annual HoltCat Excellence in Ranch Management Symposium Thursday and Friday, Oct. 26-27, in the Memorial Student Union Building on the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus. The topic for this year’s symposium, Business Planning for Successful
Ranch Management
, focuses on the use of the Balanced Scorecard business plan.

“While it has often been recognized that a ranch is greater than the sum of its parts, strategies for the individual parts and measuring performance of the parts seems to be the most common method of ranch management,” said. Dr. Barry Dunn, executive director and endowed chair of the KRIRM.

“The goal of this year’s symposium is for ranchers to take a draft version of a Balanced Scorecard home to their own operations,” Dunn said. “To that end, we have invited Nicola Shadbolt from New Zealand, an expert in the Balanced Scorecard and agriculture, as well as ranchers from across Texas and the nation.

“Together, they will lead us through a workshop designed to get symposium participants started in the practical use of this exciting new tool,” he said.

The Balanced Scorecard is a strategic management tool that provides the manager with a clear and concise picture of the health and progress of the business in reaching the rancher’s goals. It includes financial measures that show the results of actions already taken, and it includes measures of customer satisfaction and innovative improvement actions that will drive future financial performance.

“A business plan is required in ranching in order to build both a strong financial foundation and implement sound production practices that will stand the test of time,” said Dave DeLaney, vice president and general manager for ranching operations of King Ranch Inc. “It is a road map which will help discipline the rancher so he doesn’t take his eye off his most important productive assets when disaster strikes.

“A good business plan requires the rancher to evaluate all of the productive assets of the ranch and match his/her long-term objectives, both financial and cultural, to realistic production capabilities,” he added. “It also will identify the key strategies and values which drive the decision--making process. Despite our stubborn independence, ranchers are subject to the same financial constraints and requirements of any business. A good rancher must be an outstanding businessman due to the cyclical and volatile nature of commodity prices and weather.”

“What the institute attempts to do is expose students to the myriad of factors they are faced with in today’s changing environment,” said Jamey Clement, chairman of the board of King Ranch Inc. “Symposiums allow for a quick overview and exchange of ideas on challenges faces by ranchers in today’s environment. I think ranchers always attempt to stay abreast and use other vehicles for doing so. This is simply an attempt to supplement other means of staying on top of issues.”

Shadbolt, senior lecturer and researcher in farm and agribusiness management at Massey University in New Zealand, will open discussion of the Balance Scorecard system at her keynote address at 10 a.m. Oct. 26. She recently published a textbook, Farm Management in New Zealand that was jointly produced with Dr. Sandra Martin from Lincoln University.

Before joining Massey University, Shadbolt spent 15 years working within the government, agribusiness and consultancy sectors. Outside academia, she is involved in four equity partnerships, two are in forestry, one is a dairy farm and the fourth is a 1,300 hectare pastoral farm which produces milk, beef, sheep meat, wool, venison, velvet and timber. This farm recently won the Supreme Farm Environment Award for the region.

Once participants get their background in the Balanced Scorecard, they will attend seven small group sessions over the next two days. The sessions are scheduled so that each participant can attend each session.

A reception and dinner will be held Thursday evening at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center and a kineño breakfast will be served Friday morning. The sessions begin again Friday morning and end with a wrap up by Dunn and a boxed lunch. Friday afternoon, participants have a choice of King Ranch tours including cattle and horses, range and wildlife, birding and history.

Ranchers from 13 states, Canada and Mexico have already signed up to attend the symposium, but registration continues for a $200 fee. Students and faculty may attend the sessions only free of charge, and join in at the meals for a $40 fee.

The topics of the small group discussions are people/quality of life, learning and growth, natural resources, livestock, wildlife, customer relations and financial. Bob Moorhouse and Bonnie Long will lead the people/quality of life session. Moorhouse is vice president and general manager of the Pitchfork Land and Cattle Co. of Guthrie and Benjamin, Texas and Eskridge, Kansas. He has been with the ranch for 33 years. They raise Hereford and crossbred cattle and quarter horses. He is director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, the American Quarter Horse Association and the Stud Book and Registration Committee of the Working Ranch Cowboys Association and the Ranch Horse of America Association. Moorhouse is a board member of the National Ranching Heritage Association and was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2002.

Long and her husband, Keith, direct the seedstock division of the Bell Ranch in northeastern New Mexico. Piloting pasture, product, people and profit, they attempt to manage the selection, DNA and range utilization of a composite herd, guiding genetic trends of the large commodity cow-calf operation. On leased ecosystems, they run personal herds of Red Angus with a focus on cow efficiency and calving ease, a crossbred commercial cow-calf system for weaned calf production and a partnership in an upstate New York grass-fed beef operation with the potential of going organic.

Dr. Connee Quinn and John Ford will lead the learning and growth discussion. Quinn has been involved in beef production most of her life and ranches with her family on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She earned her doctorate in animal science from Colorado State University and specialized in animal nutrition. She works for Elanco Animal Health as a sales representative in western South Dakota, northwestern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle. Quinn serves as chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Production Research Committee and was president of the Beef Improvement Federation in 2002.

Ford is a 26-year employee of the Texas Cooperative Extension and currently serves as County Extension Agent-Agriculture for Kleberg and Kenedy Counties. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Sul Ross State University and his master’s from Texas A&I University. He currently coordinates Leadership Kingsville and the Kleberg County Job Skills-Life Skills Training Program. A major portion of his career has been devoted to the development of leaders for Texas’ agriculture community and improving the quality of life for the rural residents of South Texas. He also has an interest in assisting owners of small herds of cattle with the development and implementation of value added marketing programs.

Rob Ravenscroft and Sean Kelly will lead the natural resources panel. Ravenscroft is a life-long cattleman with nearly 30 years of rangeland management experience in the Nebraska Sandhills. His expertise is in helping ranchers and conservationists understand there really are no sides. He is a former member of the Nebraska Cattlemen Board of Directors and currently serves on the boards of the Sandhills Task Force, The Nature Conservancy, Nebraska chapter, the Nebraska Partnership for All Bird Conservation and the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund. Ravenscroft has been involved in the development, testing and promotion of an upgrade to Agren, Inc.’s The Grazing
software developed by Dr. Mort Kothmann of Texas A&M University. He has worked with ranchers and tribes across the rangelands of the West to plan, monitor and track goal oriented grazing to benefit families, wildlife and rangeland.

Kelly is in his first year as a student in the master’s program at the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management. He comes to South Texas from Winner, South Dakota where he graduated from Western Dakota Vo-Tech with an associate’s degree in ag-business. He worked on the Trask Ranch in Wasta, South Dakota, the Ten West Feedlot in Elgin, Nebraska and the Pravecek Farms in addition to running his own cow-calf and backgrounding operation before returning to school. He earned his bachelor’s degree in range science from South Dakota State University. He also worked as a rangeland specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kansas.

Dr. Trey Patterson and Clint Richardson will lead the livestock discussion. Patterson is assistant to the CEO of Padlock Ranch Company based in Ranchester, Wyoming. He works in operations management and with the management team to develop and implement strategies to improve profitability. He earned his masters’ degree in animal science from Colorado State University and his doctorate in ruminant nutrition from the University of Nebraska. He previously served as an extension beef specialist for South Dakota State University where he led statewide extension programs in beef cattle nutrition and management. He also conducted research in the areas of management systems, water quality and the use of co-product feeds.

Richardson is a second-year student at KRIRM and the ExxonMobil Fellow. He was working for Deseret Cattle and Citrus in Florida before joining the master’s program. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Kentucky. While in Florida, he worked for two years as foreman in heifer development and three years as seedstock foreman. Richardson grew up ranching with his family in eastern Colorado and central Kentucky and also worked with thoroughbred horses at Killian Farms. He spent the fall 2005 semester evaluating how a ranch manager can successfully incorporate fire into a ranch management plan.

The wildlife panel will be led by Butch Thompson and David Rios. Thompson is the resource manager for King Ranch Inc. in Kingsville. He is a native of Kingsville who attended Texas A&I University before becoming a city police officer. He later moved from the city police department to the security department of the King Ranch. In 1981, he became supervisor of the department and in 1989; the ranch’s wildlife and range management departments were added to his supervisory responsibilities. He guided King Ranch in to the lease and commercial hunting business during the 1990s. He is a current Texas Wildlife Association director and past member of the Texas White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee.

Rios was raised in the Rio Grande Valley is a first-year student in KRIRM and an alumnus of A&M-Kingsville. While studying for his bachelor’s degree in range and wildlife science, he spent three summers as an intern with the wildlife division of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He has been employed as a research technician for the South Texas Quail Project of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. He began his career as a ranch biologist and hunting lease manager for the El Sauz Ranch. He volunteers as a scorer for the Texas Big Game Awards and an official measurer for Boone and Crockett Club. He also teaches hunter education and concealed handgun courses. Rios is a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Farm Bureau.

Donald Brown, Troy Marshall and Leslie Nunn will lead the customer relations panel. Brown and his family has owned and managed the R.A. Brown Ranch in Throckmorton since 1895. The ranch’s top goal is to improve the profitability and sustainability of their commercial customers. The ranch was one of seven winners of the NCBA Cattle Business of the Century Award.

Marshall is the editor of The Seedstock Digest and a seekstock/commercial producer in Burlington, Colorado. The Digest, billed as the Cattlemen’s Guide to the Future of the Cattle Industry, is a weekly newsletter that keeps producers informed of industry trends with a focus on genetics and marketing. Marshall also is a contributing editor for BEEF’s Cow-calf Weekly and the founder for the Center for Improving Beef Profitability, which provides consulting services to the seedstock, cow-calf and feeding industries. He is a graduate of Colorado State University and previously worked as a market analyst for Cattle-Fax and as the director of commercial marketing and genetic programs for several major breed associations.

Nunn is a first-years student at the institute. He spent the last three years in the Hells Canyon area of Eastern Oregon as a park supervisor for Idaho Power Company. He earned his bachelor’s degree in resource recreation and tourism from the University of Idaho and an associate’s degree in recreation education from Ricks College. Nunn was raised in a small ranching and logging community in central British Columbia.

The financial panel discussion will be conducted by Pete Talbott and Craig Payne. Talbott has been an enthusiastic participant in the cattle and land management business of ranching for his entire professional career. He is a rancher and partner in Land & Livestock Advisory Service, which consults with ranchers on business planning, economic analysis and production strategy options. Most of his career has been spent managing large cow-calf ranches in the Great Basin and California.

Payne is a second year student at the institute. Before coming to A&M-Kingsville from Sedalia, Missouri, he was a practicing veterinarian for 10 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Southwest Baptist University and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Missouri. During his career, he also served as a technical services veterinarian for a major animal health company where he functioned as an information source for cow-calf and stocker operations, feedlots and other veterinarians across the country. Payne also graduated recently from the Beef Cattle Production Management Series at the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center in Clay Center, Nebraska.

For more information about the symposium, call 361-593-5401.

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