Case Studies: Gregg Simonds, Ensign Ranches

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Gregg Simonds, Ensign Ranches

Gregg Simonds is the vice-president of Agricultural Operations of Ensign Group and oversees three ranches with 7,000 cows, 5,000 yearlings and a wildlife program.  He consults in Holistic Management and is faculty affiliate to Colorado State Animal Science Department.  He lives in Utah.

“By expanding our flexibilities we have become more financially stable through time and profits have continued to increase year after year.  We now work more with nature and this has reduced our supplemental feeding and expanded the number of cows per man. Plus, it expanded our marketing windows and new products to market.” –  Gregg Simonds

Gregg’s training in Holistic Management began in 1978 when he was searching for a way to be a positive example of land resource management.  He wanted to make money while enhancing the land. Committed to Holistic Management principles, he has since sent his ranch teams for training which has created a common perspective for the teams to use going forward.

Simonds says that small ranches have the advantage of being very hands-on and the workers are usually the owners.  They tend to have very little waste, but their disadvan­tage is that they have less choice and less scale to reduce the fixed cost of production. Large ranches are the opposite, but they can’t capi­talize on their increased choice without good decision making that increases their flex­ibility. The Holistic Management decision-making framework helps guide the rancher  in sorting through his choices.  This flexibility is key to profitability in a business and climatic environment that is more defined by its variation than its nor­malcy.  A ranch is like a 5,000 piece puzzle‑it is important to see the picture on the box for maximum effectiveness and ef­ficiency of putting it together. The HM model provides a decision framework which helps one integrate the parts into a whole that helps optimize long-term goals and short-term needs.

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