Strategic Planning For The Ranch

Tips For Overcoming Paradigm Lockdown

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It’s easy to get caught in “paradigm lockdown.” I think we all do to a certain extent. However, the best ranchers continually resist paradigm lockdown; they’re always looking for new ideas and better ways.

I have found, and I think you will too, that most ranchers who are out-of -the-box, radical, possibility thinkers are willing to let you know what they are doing and why they do it. My approach has been to state what I think I have seen or heard about their ranching methods and ask if I have it right. Usually I don’t have it right. Looking over the fence and thinking we know what is happening is usually not accurate.

I want to discover what the rancher is doing and why he is doing it. I can eventually ask how it affects the bottom line. I don’t expect and usually don’t get an exact number, but most are very anxious to let you know how well it worked.


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Why do I approach it that way? Because it’s a waste of my time to guess at what is being done; so I want to know with accuracy. I also want to know the motivation and reason for doing something different. The answer to that is usually profitability – either to greatly reduce expenses and losses or to improve productivity, often both.

The mental and emotional attachments to paradigm lockdown usually begin to crumble when we recognize and admit a lack of profitability, recognize that others are ranching with much less overhead than we are, or see others who are grazing much longer each year than we are. We then begin to ask ourselves what we can do to be more competitive.

To overcome paradigm lockdown become a possibility thinker, look for people who think and do differently; then visit, see, learn and understand. Then analyze the fit to your operation. If a new idea won’t significantly change cows per person, fed feed in relationship to grazed feed, acres required per cow, or the price received for your animals in comparison to others, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not a very good idea.

 Burke Teichert, consultant on strategic planning for ranches, is retired as vice president and general manager of Deseret. He can be reached at


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What's Strategic Planning For The Ranch?

Burke Teichert provides readers with his practical take on efficient and cost-effective livestock production and ranch management.


Burke Teichert

Burke Teichert was born and raised on a family ranch in western Wyoming and earned a B.S. in ag business from Brigham Young University and M.S. in ag economics from University of Wyoming. His work...

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