The focus of Healthy Land, Happy Families, and Profitable Businesses can be distilled down to the one sentence that is on the back jacket cover: “It doesn’t matter if you hit the bull’s eye if you’re aiming at the wrong target!” That sentiment may sound familiar to holistic managers, which isn’t surprising given that Dave Pratt runs Ranching for Profit, the school started by Stan Parson, one-time business partner of Allan Savory, founder of Holistic Management. There are many principle and curriculum similarities between Ranching for Profit and Holistic Management which is why many holistic managers have also taken a Ranching for Profit course as well. So it was with great interest that I read Dave’s new book to see what he would focus on.
This book is actually a compilation of Dave’s ProfitTips which is a newsletter he sends out to Ranching for Profit alumni. These 2-4 page essays are great because they articulate the key principle or concept succinctly. This book is chockfull of great information for the beginning or experienced rancher.
As noted in the title, the book touches on land, families, and finances. The first section on “Healthy Land” is all about grazing planning, animal performance, considerations of production systems (such as ranching with nature, and why you need to really keep healthy land in the forefront of your operation.
The next section is about “Happy Families.” In this section he focuses a lot on how the business can influence family life and how to work effectively with employees. Some of the later essays are particularly helpful regarding succession planning and helping the older generation really understand what they must do to begin transferring a healthy business.
The last section, “Profitable Businesses,” focuses on the critical issues of how to generate profit from a ranching business. Dave explores a variety of issues including diversification and opportunities, and a lot about how to maximize the resources you already have so you can get more profit per unit on the current resource base rather than expanding that resource base and losing margin. There’s even a great glossary at the end of the book that helps define any terms that aren’t familiar to the reader.
If you already know these principles, this is a great review. If you are trying to get these key concepts across to an intern or employee, this is a quick and easy way to start the conversation so you can delve deeper into how to more effectively graze your animals, define job responsibilities and outcomes, plan for profit, or any number of key management conversations that need to happen on pretty much any ranch. If you are looking for a book that will help you work on your business, commit to knowing your production finances, work on your relationships, and structure your operation effectively, Healthy Land, Happy Families, and Profitable Businesses will get you started on the basics and inspired to create healthy land, happy families, and profitable businesses.
To order this book, go to: www.ranchingforprofit.com