SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – The High Plains Ranch Practicum is an in-depth ranch management school, but participants shouldn’t expect to spend all of their time at a desk learning abstract theory.
The curriculum uses real-life scenarios, hands-on educational experiences, and a focus on the business of ranching. And some of the teaching is done by experienced ranchers who share their
This year’s High Plains Ranch Practicum begins in June and concludes in November. This national award-winning livestock program is hosted jointly by the Nebraska Extension and the University of Wyoming Extension.
Enrollment is limited to 35. Participants are requested to register by May 21. Registration forms are available at http://HPRanchPracticum.com.
The practicum will consist of eight days of class sessions: June 13-14, Aug. 23-24, Sept. 26-27 and Nov. 1-2, said Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Educator. Sessions will be held in Cheyenne, Wyo., on the campus of Laramie County Community College and on area ranches. The hands-on experiences with time in the classroom help to solidify concepts learned in the Practicum.
There is a $600 fee for individuals or $900 for a couple, which covers materials, instructor costs, and meal expenses. For additional information or to register, contact Nebraska Extension Educator Aaron Berger at (308) 235-3122 or [email protected], UW Extension Educator Dallas Mount at (307) 322-3667 or [email protected] or UW Extension Educator Blake Hauptman 307-283-1192 or [email protected]
Berger said the curriculum and teaching style for the High Plains Ranch Practicum are designed to challenge and engage participants. Through real-life scenarios and hands-on educational experiences, participants have the opportunity to see how concepts can be applied to their own operations.
“Another unique thing is that we have a number of experienced ranchers come and share with participants how they have applied ideas and concepts discussed in the Practicum in their own operations,” Berger said. “This opportunity for ‘peer to peer’ learning sets the Practicum apart from many other educational opportunities. Talking to and hearing from someone who is actually doing something that is being taught helps participants see how it could potentially be put into practice in their own ranch business.”
UW’s Mount said attendees enjoy the camaraderie with other participants, instructors and facilitators throughout the practicum.
The Practicum focuses heavily on the “business” of ranching. Two of the greatest challenges past participants communicate they see in their business are family and employee working relationships, as well as understanding the economics and financial aspects of operating a ranch business.
A significant part of the Practicum focuses on the people involved and the money part of owning and operating a ranch business.
The course will focus on providing ranchers tools to understand and integrate four areas of ranch management: range and forage resources; integrating nutrition and reproduction; cost of production analysis; and family working relationships.
The High Plains Ranch Practicum is in its 12th year. Past participants have communicated to Berger that the experience changed the way they go about their business.
“Attending the school has had a greater positive impact on our operation than anything else I can think of,” said rancher Curtis Grubbs of Harrisburg. “A far greater value that I gained from the classes was the emphasis on planning, decision making and attacking paradigms. Continual analysis of everything you do is essential to keeping pace with our ever changing weather, markets, and resources. This is more important than any specific tool or practice can ever be.”
Wilma Post attended the Practicum with her daughter. “And I feel one of the most beneficial things was that it presented so many opportunities to discuss the details of planning and financial exercises of decision making,” she said. “Their explanations and info on pasture monitoring and alternative feeding and grazing was very timely for our operation. The Practicum also opened up so many avenues for conversation and sharing. It is great for new ideas!”