UW Range Club prepares for second Integrated Ranch Management Symposium in May
Laramie – The University of Wyoming Range Club is set to host the second Integrated Ranch Management Symposium (IRMS) from May 13-17 in Laramie. The workshops offered during the symposium cover relevant topics facing ranching and range management that have been identified by members of the Range Club.
“The big reason we did this is because something like this is not offered in this part of the state,” said John Wagner, president of the Range Club, of IRMS. “We felt that students, those who want to go into ranching and those who want to go into public land management, don’t really get a chance to hear these topics we consider important in course work. It is found more in production and the real world and we wanted to allow students an opportunity to participate and get exposed to some of these.”
Hosting the event
This event, planned completely by the students, brings producers and students together for four days in the various workshops and clinics. These include analyzing unit cost of production (UCOP), sell-buy marketing, grazing management and rangeland monitoring, livestock marketing school and low-stress livestock handling.
The first workshop, unit cost of production, is a valuable skill that ranchers need to keep their business running. This workshop helps ranchers makes sense of the various aspects of their business and provides opportunities to understand where the income is coming from and where the costs of running the business are going. This is the same economic tool that is taught as part of the High Plains Ranch Practicum School.
“This UCOP is a managerial accounting system to allow ranchers to discover the economic strengths and weaknesses of their ranching businesses and then develop strategies to improve the profitability of their businesses,” said Dallas Mount, presenter of the UCOP workshop. “In the workshop, we will discuss how the UCOP system works then get right in to putting it into practice on an example ranch.”
“Participants will leave with a good handle on how to use UCOP and several take home resources to help them implement this on their ranch,” he continued. “Participants in the school report the UCOP system is one of the most valuable ranch management tools they use. Many ranchers report improvements in profitability of several thousand dollars annually after implementing the system.”
This model is popular with ranches because producers can compare their ranch’s financial performance with the ranches in the model. The comparison process, known as benchmarking, allows ranchers to identify where costs are high or low and allows them to identify areas that need management attention.
Orchard’s Land EKG
Another course that has been drawing a lot of attention is the grazing management and rangeland monitoring class.
“This class will be put on by Charley Orchard with Land EKG,” Wagner said. “He is going to put on a two-day course that is more advanced and meant more for ranchers and NRCS folks who are interested in implementing his monitoring program. On Thursday, he is going to be putting on a less advanced one-day school. This one day school is geared towards students and other folks who are looking towards an introduction to grazing ecology and land monitoring.”
The Land EKG Monitoring System was developed as a land health monitoring, management information and reporting system that Orchard has been using since 1994 to help ranchers across the world improve their management skills and decision making.
Participants in this course will get hands-on experience while learning land monitoring basics and conducting soil surveys, grazing indexing, forage production methods, surface cover percentages and EZ-EKG assessments. The bulk of this time will be spent learning the monitoring mechanics for the EKG transects. Along with the knowledge, participants will leave with additional materials such as a 2013 EKG Blink and Site Mechanics field guide, permanent location forms, EZ-EKG pocket field cards for quick land assessment and a six month trial subscription to the EKG DataStore valued at $120.
The last course offered, low-stress livestock handling taught by Tom Noffsinger, is designed to improve handler and animal attitudes through the investment of time that trains both parties to respond to each other. This helps to create an environment that the animals feel comfortable by teaching the handler the power of observation to address the situation and the animal’s reaction to it. As a result, an animal can be guided to a place where it feels safe. Using these techniques makes working these animals safer and more efficient.
“I have been to several of his clinics, including the one he put on last year for this event, and he does an outstanding job,” Wagner said. “He does a classroom instruction and then he does a hands-on demonstration. He is really good at what he does.”