Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Practicum offers outstanding training for Wyo-Braska cattlemen

I graduated from the 2007-08 class of the High Plains Ranch Practicum. I found it to be highly informative and extremely enjoyable. The class began in June, 2007 and met eight times over the next seven months, ending in January, 2008. I’ve used knowledge and skills gained during the class nearly every day on the family ranch south of Kimball, Neb.

Two Ranch Practicum courses will be offered this year. The central Wyoming course will be based at the Natrona County Extension Office in Casper, Wyo., with the Scott Ranch Providing field sites.

The southeast Wyoming/western Nebraska course begins and ends at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center (PHREC) in Scottsbluff and features six classes at the Sustainable Ag Research and Extension Center (SAREC) near Lingle, Wyo. For a complete listing of dates and locations visit the Practicum Web-site at

The PHREC/SAREC classes begin June 12 and the Casper classes begin June 19. For complete schedule information visit the Practicum Web-site and click on the agenda link.

The High Plains Ranch Practicum has been approved by the Farm Service Agency for meeting the education requirements for borrowers. It may also be taken for college credit through the Animal Science or Agronomy Departments at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or University of Wyoming

The cost of the High Plains Ranch Practicum is $600 for one person and $900 for two from the same ranch and willing to share materials. All educational materials, noon meals, and breaks are included. Participants are responsible for their travel and any lodging expenses.

Application deadline is May 4, 2012. Applications received after this date will be assessed a $50 fee. To apply, submit a completed form (downloadable from the Practicum Web-site) and a $300 deposit to Extension Educator Aaron Berger, 209 E. Third St., Kimball, NE 69145. Enrollment is limited and applicants will be notified of their status no later than May 18. Make checks payable to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The balance of the Practicum cost will be due at the first Practicum class. A 50 percent tuition scholarship is available to current or potential ag producer participants who complete course requirements. For more information on scholarships visit the Practicum Web-site or contact Aaron Berger, 308-232-3122 (, or Dallas Mount, 307-322-3677 (

The Practicum teaches a systems approach to ranch management, stressing three key tools: Unit Cost of Production Analysis, Grazing Plan, and a Balanced Scorecard approach to Business Planning.

Participants will have the opportunity to develop:
  • Individualized unit cost of production
  • Grazing strategies and systems
  • Methods of managing risk
  • Evaluate calving and weaning dates
  • Livestock nutrition and cow body condition scoring
  • Family business and working relationships
  • Understanding Range and Forage Resources
 Whether you're a beginning rancher or an old hand, this course can provide you with superb information, proven tools easily tailored to each individual operation, and, perhaps most importantly, the chance to meet and develop lasting relationships with other ranchers and their families.

Rangeland Ecologist Pat Reece (center, kneeling) discusses plant species inventory as part of range condition grading at Bead Mountain Ranch south of Gering, Neb. During the 2007-08 High Plains Ranch Practicum.  
The High Plains Ranch Practicum class scores cow body condition at the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) near Lingle, Wyo. in 2007. The course is jointly sponsored by the Universities of Nebraska and Wyoming.

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