Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Change the Conversation from Productivity to Profitability

by Colter Brown

“Agriculture is more productive than we have ever been.  However, on average our farms and ranches are no more profitable than they have ever been,” Dallas Mount wrote in a recent blog titled, “Productive But Not Profitable.”

Perhaps this is due to the strong and successful message that agriculture must become more productive to meet the demands of the population, but Mount suggested the focus has been placed on the wrong aspect.  In fact, as agriculture has increased its productivity, the reality is that “most farms and ranches operate at a loss more often than they make a profit,” Mount wrote.

“Let’s change the business conversation in agriculture away from the largely meaningless metrics of productivity and towards the important metrics of profitability,” he concluded.

And that’s exactly what Mount, owner and CEO of Ranch Management Consultants and instructor at the internationally acclaimed Ranching for Profit School, aims to do as he travels and hosts schools and workshops across the country.

His upcoming workshop schedule includes Ranchers Stewardship Alliance’s (RSA) “Banking on your Business – a Ranching for Profit Economics Workshop” in Malta, Montana on September 29-30, 2022.  The two-day workshop features a condensed and higher-level overview of the topics covered in the full Ranching for Profit School and participants will leave with a better understanding of how to evaluate ranch decisions from an economic perspective.  Some of the topics covered will include economics versus finance; understanding overheads and direct costs; ranch enterprise analysis; understanding gross margin and applying it to decisions; developing an economic plan; and testing the plan for financial feasibility. 

The workshop also includes a special evening session geared specifically toward young and beginning ranchers in which participants can further dissect the day’s information in a roundtable discussion with Mount.  The 2-hour session will help participants apply the workshop concepts to the scenario of starting an ag operation. 

“Cliff and I attended the Ranching for Profit workshop a few years ago with the hopes of gaining some knowledge and clarity on how we should proceed with our business, as well as our personal relationships with family and succession,” Malta rancher and RSA Operations Administrator Anna Merriman said.  “We learned valuable tools on the economics of ranching, communication and looking at our business and relationships with a different perspective. Even as farmers only, at the time, no livestock, we found value in the information and teachings Dallas had to offer. We are really looking forward to this workshop as a refresher course and getting a fresh perspective again.”

Registration is now open for “Banking on your Business” and can be completed at  The $75 registration fee includes a full workshop workbook to guide participants through the information and reference back home on the ranch; lunch on Thursday; appetizers during an evening social; the optional young and beginning rancher session; and an overall better understanding of ranch economics on your own operation.  There are also scholarships available for attendees which cover the full registration.  Scholarship applications can be filled out at

This workshop is being brought to the community from the Rancher’s Stewardship Alliance Beginning Rancher and Education committees.  For more information visit the registration page or follow Ranchers Stewardship Alliance on Facebook and Instagram for updates.


A Ranching for Profit Economics Workshop

Malta Readiness Center | 509 South 10th Ave East


Thursday, September 29, 2022

10am – 5 p.m. | Workshop (lunch included)

5 – 6:30 p.m. | No host social hour with appetizers sponsored by First State Bank at Marian Hills Golf Course

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. | Young & Beginning Rancher Business Session

Friday, September 30, 2022

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Workshop

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