Workshops aim to give ranchers the tools to know their costs, operate their ranch as a business

Having information to make effective business decisions is 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 series of two-day workshops in November and December at several Nebraska communities will provide a hands-on learning experience for producers to learn how to calculate a unit cost of production for a cow-calf operation. Workshops will be held in Chadron, O’Neill, North Platte, and Kimball.
      Workshop 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, Jay Jenkins, and Bethany Johnston will be available for follow-up after the workshops.
      Below are dates, locations and contact information for pre-registration with the local host.
      Nov. 3 and 4 at Chadron:  Chadron State College, 9am – 4 pm MDT; contact Jack Arterburn at 308-327-2312.or jack.arterburn@unl.edu;
      Nov. 13 and 14 at O’Neill: O’Neill Community Center Room C, 8:30 am-4 pm CST; contact Amy Timmerman 402-336-2760 or atimmerman2@unl.edu;
      Dec. 4 and 5 at North Platte: West Central Research and Extension Center, 8:30 am-4 pm CST; contact Randy Saner at 308-532-2683 or randy.saner@unl.edu;
     Dec. 14 and 15 at Kimball: 4-H Building, 8:30 am-4 pm MST; contact Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122 oraberger2@unl.edu.
      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.