Workshops aim to give ranchers tools to know their costs |

Workshops aim to give ranchers tools to know their costs


» 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5 at North Platte: West Central Research and Extension Center. Contact Randy Saner at (308) 532-2683 or;

» 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 at Kimball: 4-H Building. Contact Aaron Berger at (308) 235-3122 or

Registrations are due soon for workshops in North Platte and Kimball, Neb., that will give ranchers the tools to gather the information they need to make effective business decisions important for ranch success.

Enterprise analysis and unit cost of production (UCOP) are tools that can help ranchers identify where value is being created on the ranch, where costs are occurring and what changes could be made to improve profit.

For cow-calf producers, UCOP is figured as cost per pound of weaned calf. Knowing what it costs to develop a bred heifer, harvest a ton of hay or put a pound of gain on a stocker or a yearling are valuable information as well for the ranch business manager.

A pair of workshops in December will provide a hands-on learning experience for producers to learn how to calculate a unit cost of production for a cow-calf operation.

Cost is $50 per person and covers meals for both days. Please pre-register one week prior for a meal count. Payment is due the day of the workshop. Workshops are limited to 30 people per location. Contact Aaron Berger at (308) 235-3122 with questions about the workshops.

During the two-day workshops, participants will work through a sample ranch to determine the profitability of four common types of ranch enterprises: cow-calf, stockers/breeding heifers, hay and land. Participants will go through the steps of analyzing costs and calculating what it costs to produce a unit of product for each enterprise. They will also learn how to identify how changes that could improve ranch profitability.

It takes time to set up and calculate a UCOP, but the benefits are:

» Knowing what present costs are;

» Projecting what unit cost of production will be in 2018;

» Identifying opportunities to improve profitability;

» Using information to make management and marketing decisions.

Sounds difficult? Hands-on, group activities, and examples of how to calculate key numbers will help participants through the process. They will receive access to Excel spreadsheet templates that can help analyze cost of production for their own operation. Extension Educators Aaron Berger and Bethany Johnston will be available for follow-up after the workshops.

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