5 Components of a Sustainable Ranch Operation

Sustainability is a popular word these days—in agriculture, consumer products, transportation, and more. The word means different things to different people, but for most ranchers, it represents an ongoing way of life. And it isn’t just about maintaining tradition, either. It’s about operating in a way that embraces new technologies and creates business opportunities for future generations through proven and sound management practices.

Redd Summit Advisors works one-on-one with ranchers and their families, providing insurance products and advising with sustainably in mind. We know from experience that a number of important components make up a sustainable ranch operation, and here are some to think about:

1. Environmental Responsibility Helps Preserve Natural Resources

Painting of two people walking on a dirt path next to a river. Representing environmental consciousness on ranch operations.

Sustainable ranching operations choose best practices that not only preserve their current landscapes, but take steps to improve upon them. They are good stewards of the natural resources they look after, including the plants, the wildlife, and the minerals under the surface.  

2. Fiscally Sound Ranches Incorporate PRF Insurance and Smart Business Practices Into Their Operations 

Ranchers need to function in a business-minded space—where profitability is at the forefront—if they expect their operations to be sustainable in the long run. And it starts by finding ways to mitigate the impact of inherent risks, such as taking out a PRF insurance policy on their hay or grazing acres and destocking as needed to safeguard remaining resources. Overall, the ability to see operational assets as long-term investments can assist in decision making centered on quality and viability versus quantity and short-term profits. 

3. Good Livestock Handling is Key to Ranch Efficiency

Herding cattle on a ranch.

Sustainable ranchers maintain production systems that fit both landscape and climate. They utilize livestock suitable to their geographies, adjusting herd reproductive schedules as needed to optimize on resources and market trends. All decisions prioritize herd nutrition, comfort, and health.

4. Socially Responsible Ranching Drives Community-Supported Agriculture

By operating in ways that keep the environment safe and provide fair working conditions for employees, ranchers can show their dedication to the communities around them and to the entire agricultural industry.

Ranchers can also find ways to tell their stories, whether it’s through social groups, online promotion, advocacy, or a combination of them all. These actions help educate people who aren’t exposed to agriculture, giving them a more accurate view of an operation’s stewardship and commitment to excellence. In turn, support for the ranching industry builds and agriculture is viewed in a positive light.

5. Generational Viability Is an End Goal

Cowboy herding cows with a lasso while riding a horse.

A sustainable ranch operation takes the necessary steps to ensure its business can be passed to the next generation, therefore, it’s operated in a manner that encourages subsequent generations to get involved. The four components above are important factors in keeping the operation viable and include protecting land and resources, enhancing profitability, and diversifying to manage risk.

Sustainable Operations for Ranches Take Time and Effort

Sustainability doesn’t happen overnight; it involves years of careful planning along with some willingness to be flexible with new tools and technologies. It also involves balancing the requirements of an operation today with the ideas and goals of tomorrow’s ranchers and the communities they serve.

To learn more about ranch sustainability and how a PRF policy can help your operations stay financially and environmentally sound, please fill out an online form here or call 1-800-825-2355 to speak with a Redd Summit advisor.

Macy Holmgren

Macy Holmgren is a Digital Marketing Intern at Redd Summit Advisors.

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