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A Brief History of Ranch Management Consultants

 

 

 

Stan Parsons, founder of Ranch Management Consultants, was born and raised on a large farming operation in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia.) He was profoundly influenced by his banker father who insisted that each of their many enterprises (including the country’s largest dairy and swine herds) must stand on its own economic feet. When the political climate started deteriorating in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, his father recommended that Stan and his brothers go back to university for higher degrees.

Stan’s Ph.D. is in reproductive physiology. But when his major professor insisted he take his research to the farmers in the form of seminars, he soon realized the practical economic limitations of his work. He felt the need to learn more about economics. An MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue followed. Wonderful and rigorous degree that it was, it didn’t teach Stan anything about how to make money in agriculture. To remedy that deficiency, Stan read widely on business management while he was a professor of farm management and agricultural economics at the University of Rhodesia & Nyasaland. Repeated demands by local farmers associations led to his first course on the application of business management to agriculture in 1969.

About the same time, Stan was assigned to a research project to test the economic and biological validity of the "Savory Grazing System." Inevitably that led to a close association between Stan and Allan Savory, which lasted 13 years. Together, working closely with clients in South Africa, they experimented with a ‘holistic’ approach to ranch management, combining grazing management and animal husbandry with business management.

When they started operating in the US in 1979, demand for their services outpaced their resources so they expanded the business courses Stan had started a dozen years before to include ecology, grazing management and animal husbandry. Stan and Allan parted company in 1983, when Stan established Ranch Management Consultants and began teaching Ranching for Profit Schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of the Executive Link

 

 

 

 

Stan personally consulted with a handful of ranchers countrywide, but there was no way he could personally work with the large number of ranchers who attended the school.  A forum for “group” consulting was devised.

In 1991 peer advisory boards were assembled to provide strategic, objective input to one another on issues facing each of their businesses.  Stan called it the Executive Link.  In addition to offering input, the boards also provided a body to hold members accountable for results. The EL provided personal support and guidance for RFP alumni for about the cost of a bull.

The Executive Link programs have had a wider impact than we expected. Cam Gardner, a member of our Canadian Executive Link, put it this way, "Taking the school and joining the Executive Link is the most rewarding investment our family has ever made. Every dollar spent has been returned 50 times in hard currency and quality of life." Today there are Executive Link chapters in the United States, Australia and Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranch Management Consultants Today

 

 

 

 

Stan moved back to Zimbabwe in 1998.  In 2001 he sold RMC to Dave and Kathy Pratt.  Dave, who had a history of innovative research and teaching in his 15 years in the University of California Cooperative Extension Service, had been teaching Ranching for Profit Schools for Stan since 1992.  Today, Dave and Kathy run RMC from their office in Fairfield, California.  They have maintained the same high standards of teaching and continued the mission to empower clients to achieve their goals.

Ranch Management Consultants has held more than 150 Ranching For Profit Schools in the US and Canada over the past 28 years. There has been a continuous evolution in both course content and teaching procedure over that period.

Our schools in North America are taught by David Pratt, Peter McBride and Allan Crockett.  Dave, Peter and Allan have a wealth of practical experience and are as at home on the range as they are in the classroom. They use a number of highly effective educational techniques such as:

  1. active student participation both with the teacher and between themselves
  2. review & reinforcement throughout the course
  3. real-life case studies and demonstrations
  4. complete integration of technical and business subjects
  5. a minimum amount of direct lecture
  6. a healthy dose of humor

 

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