Using the Wyoming Ranch Tools site to evaluate slected Western SARE research projects to assess economic sustainablility for individual producers

Progress report for RGR20-007

Project Type: Research to Grass Roots
Funds awarded in 2020: $61,160.00
Projected End Date: 12/30/2022
Host Institution Award ID: G149-21-W7906
Grant Recipients: Master Stockman Consulting; Utah State University
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Bridger Feuz
Master Stockman Consulting
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Project Information

Abstract:

With this project Master Stockman Consulting (MSC) will teach ranchers in Utah methods and tools for evaluating research based projects to see if they are economically sustainable in their individual operations through a 3-phase approach.  This project will utilize 4 previously funded Western SARE projects (GW17-040, FW18-013, GW17-059, OW10-309) with direct application for Utah producers and combine them with analysis tools from the Wyoming Ranch Tools website.  Phase 1 – MSC will partner with USU Extension to offer 4 producer workshops throughout Utah.  MSC has partnered with USU Extension for the last 8 years to offer workshops with annual attendance of over 120 producers.

Workshop Outline

  • Using Wyoming Ranch Tools to evaluate potential changes (can you afford to incorporate recommended practices)
  • Dormant Season Grazing using Protein Supplementation
    • Combine with stocking rate calculator and partial budget tool
    • Based on SARE project GW17-040
  • Fodder Beats as Late Season Forage
    • Combine with relative value of feed calculator and partial budget tool
    • Based on SARE project FW18-013
  • Understanding Cattle Diets using Advanced Plant DNA Technology
    • Combine with partial budget
    • Based on SARE project GW17-059
  • Reducing Nitrogen Fertilization by Inter-seeding Legumes
    • Combine with AUM value calculator and Partial Budget
    • Based on SARE project OW10-309

Phase 2 – MSC will partner with USU Extension and at least 4 producers to implement “on ranch” demonstrations.  Phase 3 – MSC will create 4 YouTube “How to” videos documenting the “on ranch” demonstrations and using the Wyoming Ranch Tools to estimate economic sustainability.  Each of the 4 YouTube videos will also be available in Spanish.  This 3-phased approach will effectively take 4 Western SARE projects from Research to Grass Roots while also giving producers tools for evaluating other research projects.

Project Objectives:

Master Stockman Consulting has ambitious objectives for this project.  However, given past experience MSC feels the objectives are attainable.

  • Increase participants understanding of Western SARE Projects and the importance of sustainability research.
  • Increase participants understanding of the 4 projects.
    • Dormant Season Grazing using Protein Supplementation
      • Based on SARE project GW17-040
    • Fodder Beats as Late Season Forage
      • Based on SARE project FW18-013
    • Understanding Cattle Diets using Advanced Plant DNA Technology
      • Based on SARE project GW17-059
    • Reducing Nitrogen Fertilization by Inter-seeding Legumes
      • Based on SARE project OW10-309
  • Introduce participants to user friendly tools that enable them to make more informed ranch management decisions.
  • Increase the use of decision support tools in evaluating implementation of research projects.
  • Increase the use of decision support tools in evaluating diversification strategies.
  • Increase the economic sustainability of livestock producers by use of decision support tools for making economic ranch management decisions.
Introduction:

Many ranchers have come to my office to discuss potential changes to implement on their ranch.  The changes are usually sound changes that are backed by good research.  Often as we use economic tools to analyze the changes it reaffirms the decision for that producer to implement the change.  However, there are many times when a change is analyzed that even though it is research based and may even be working successfully on a neighboring ranch, it is likely to lead to severe economic consequences.  It is important for producers to learn how to decide which decisions to implement, and just as important to be able to decide which changes to avoid.  In short it has been my experience in conducting similar workshops over the last 15 years that producers are better at evaluating decisions based on the production or physical science based criteria than they are at evaluating those decisions based on longterm economic sustainability.

Our project directly ties 4 previously funded Western SARE research projects to the decision support tools.  This project will better prepare producers to be able to make those critical longterm economic decisions using sound principals like partial budgeting, time value of money, opportunity cost of capital and others.  Recently the Wall Street Journal published an article that highlighted the increasing debt and shrinking equity faced by producers.  The article pointed out that farmers and ranchers were increasingly turning to “Pay Day” type lending institutions.  These “Pay Day” lending institutions, and their extremely high interest rates, are perilous tools for agriculture producers with capital intensive and tight margin operations.  Given this current financial trend, it is critical that producers learn and utilize sound economic analysis tools and strategies.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand

Education & Outreach Initiatives

In person Workshops
Objective:

Teach producers how to use the Wyoming Ranch Tools site to evaluate the 4 selected Western SARE projects.

Description:

These workshops will teach producers about the evaluation tools as well as provide producers with an overview of the 4 Western SARE projects.

These workshops were originally planned for Jan. 2021, but due to issues with COVID the workshops are now scheduled for June 2021.  

June 15, 2021 – Cedar City, UT

June 16, 2021 – Nephi, UT

June 17, 2021 – Logan, UT

June 18, 2021 – Oakley, UT

Educational & Outreach Activities

4 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary

4 Extension
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.