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Making your ranching business goals work for you

How planning ahead can lead to ranching business success

Being a successful rancher today means operating as a business, but given today’s economic climate, it’s not an easy feat. And one business practice that is easy to do but often ignored is goal setting. Clearly defined goals help you improve your outcomes and provide focus for you and your team.


With effective goal setting, you can do so much more than just get by on a month-to-month basis. It helps you weather financial storms caused by unpredictable seasons. It means that you can plan for prolonged pressures caused by droughts or market failures. And it allows you to see the bigger picture as you work towards a long-term goal, which might be anything from establishing your operation as the producer of America’s finest Wagyu beef through to securing the financial future of your ranch for generations to come.

Getting started with ranch business goal setting

When you’re setting goals for your enterprise, it’s worth putting aside a few hours with key stakeholders to review your current operation. Questions you might ask yourself include:

  • What are we doing well?
  • Where are we falling short?
  • What are similar ranchers doing better than us?
  • What do we want to achieve in the long term?
  • What do stakeholders want personally?
  • Are there any changes expected for the industry?

The goals that come out of the discussion won’t just be about increasing productivity or profits. Issues such as setting the ranch up for succession, getting through droughts or floods, and staff development could also arise. Everything should be on the table.

Short and long-term ranch business goals

When developing your goals, consider short-term goals, which you can achieve within weeks or months, as well as long-term goals, which may take years. Short-term goals that work towards the long-term goals become essential markers on the road to success and help to remind you you’re on the right track.

Potential short-term goals:

  • Keep more accurate ranch records
  • Be prepared for inspections related to certifications
  • Buy a new breeding bull or ram
  • Improve how you manage your pastures
  • Install a digital water monitoring system

Potential long-term goals:

  • Get a succession plan in place
  • Improve livestock performance/herd size
  • Attain organic certification
  • Increase calving or lambing rates
  • Be better prepared to withstand extreme weather events

Reaching your ranching business goals

There’s a big difference between setting goals and making them happen. Some techniques to help reach yours include:

1. Write the goals down

It sounds obvious but often gets forgotten. If goals are written down and displayed somewhere prominent, it will ensure that you keep them front of mind. We recommend adding these to the notes in the Ranch Summary of the Mobile App for a regular reminder of what you’re working toward

2. Make sure people ‘own’ the goals

If everyone involved in the ranch operation has input into the goal-setting process, they are more likely to be invested in the process to get there. Personal goals that tie into the larger business goals will motivate them even more, no matter what their role.

3. Regularly review your progress towards goals

This is where it pays to have reliable records and measurable goals, whether it’s livestock weight gains or cost of production, which allow you to track your progress objectively.

4. Adjust or reassess your goals

If a goal becomes unattainable – because situations do change – don’t abandon it entirely or consider it a failure. Take the time to recalibrate and set new targets.

On the other hand, if you reach a goal well before you expected, it’s an indication that you could be bolder with your business plans. Sit down with your stakeholders, and consider what your greatest ambitions for your operation might be – then start another round of goal setting to get there.

In ranching, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks. With goal setting, you can maintain perspective on what your ranch really means to you. It can motivate you and your team when times are tough, and help you achieve long-term success.

Setting business goals is important, but finding the right tools to help you effectively manage them is just as critical.

To learn how ranch management software can help you reach your goals without slowing you down, book a demo with AgriWebb today.

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