Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Next Ranch Symposium Geared Toward ‘Living The Legacy’

KINGSVILLE - October 16, 2008

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

Transitioning ranch ownership, management will be presented Oct. 30-31


What happens when it is time to pass the family ranch onto my children? When I take over the ranch, will I be as good a manager as Dad?

These questions and many others will be answered during the Fifth Annual HOLT CAT Symposium on Excellence in Ranch Management. This year’s symposium, Living the Legacy: Transitioning Ranch Ownership and Management to the Next Generation, will be held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30-31, at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Most of the symposium will be held on the second floor of the Memorial Student Union Building.

The annual symposium is hosted each year by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, part of the university’s Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences. This year’s topic stresses the importance of a smooth transition and consistent operation between generations. Early registration is $150 through Friday, Oct. 17, and $200 thereafter.

“There is no topic more important to rural America than this one,” said Dr. Fred Bryant, director of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at A&M-Kingsville. “Major issues such as maintaining open space as wildlife habitat and view sheds, enhancing functional watersheds and preserving our ranching and hunting heritage are at stake. We must make sure this generational transition happens on a landscape scale, or we lose something precious and dear to all of us, city dweller and rural citizen alike.”

This year, the keynote speaker is R.L. “Dick” Wittman of Wittman Consulting in Culdesac, Idaho. His topic is Positioning Your Family Ranching Business for Successful Transition. Wittman manages an 18,000-acre family farm partnership in Idaho that involves crops, cattle and timber. He also provides consulting services and seminars in family farm business and financial management.

Wittman received a degree in agricultural economics from University of Idaho and an MBA from University of Utah. He worked for the Farm Credit System and concluded his banking career with the Farm Credit Administration in Washington D.C. where he supervised Farm Credit operations in several Eastern, Midwest and Southern United States districts.

He has worked with numerous farm clients and professional practitioners, conducted seminars, facilitated strategic planning, taught college classes and developed videotape training modules on a variety of topics throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. He specializes in financial management and developing management systems and solutions for business relationship/transition problems. His guidebook, Building Effective Farm Management Systems, is a toolkit for commercial-size family farm businesses to define their ultimate vision and put in place a professional management and transition process that will lead them to that goal.

Dr. Wayne A. Hayenga, Professor Emeritus from Texas A&M University, will also speak at the symposium. His topic is Estate Planning for a Ranch is like Buying a Truck. Hayenga is also an extension economist and an attorney. His primary activities are teaching and coordinating educational programs in estate and income tax management. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from University of Illinois, a master’s of business administration in finance and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Michigan State University and his law degree from Southern Methodist University.

Dr. Don J. Jonovic, of Family Business Management Services, will speak about Surviving Family Ranching Whitewater. Jonovic has been an advisor to business owners since 1973. He focuses on the unique issues related to management development, growth and ownership transition in the successful owner-managed business. His professional consulting practice has included industrial and agricultural clients throughout North America, ranging in size from $1 million to $2 billion, with an emphasis on companies transitioning to management teams, including those with a significant proportion of non-family key managers.

Dr. Danny Klinefelter, professor with Texas A&M and extension economist, will discuss Handing Over the Management Reins: Learning from Those Who Have Done It Successfully. Klinefelter is the director of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers and co-director of the Texas A&M Family and Owner-Managed Business. He also is coordinator of the Planning the Return to the Farm Program and a member of the board of Ag Texas Farm Credit Services and is executive secretary for the Association of Agricultural Production Executives. Klinefelter earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, his master’s and doctoral degrees from University of Illinois.

Entertainment for Thursday evening’s dinner will be provided by Red Steagall, who is best known for his Texas swing dance music. In his 35-year career in entertainment, Steagall has spanned the globe from Australia to the Middle East, to South America and to the Far East. He has performed for heads of state including a special party for President Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1983.

A pre-symposium training on livestock handling will be held Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 29-30, also at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

“This topic was chosen prior to national publicity of mistreatment of animals in packing plants and auction barns,” said Dr. Barry Dunn, executive director of the King Ranch Institute. “We think it is important to maintain consumer confidence in the healthfulness of beef and to stress that animals are treated humanely under our care.”

The pre-symposium, Stockmanship and Stewardship: Forgotten Skills of Cattle Handling…And More, is being conducted in collaboration with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Texas Beef Council and King Ranch Inc. The speakers are Curt Pate, effective stockmanship and instructor livestock handling expert; Ron Gill, Texas A&M livestock specialist; and Todd McCartney, cattleman, cowboy and RFD-TV host. The cost for the pre-symposium is $50. Late registration after Oct. 17 is $75.

Participants may register for both events at krirm.tamuk.edu and may get more information by calling 361-593-5401 or emailing krirm@tamuk.edu.

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