Managing for Prosperity—A Different Mindset?

Be very careful with how you interpret the title to this article. It is a very good way to get yourself into serious trouble and all of history bears that out.

Good times or bad, ALWAYS PLAN PESSIMESTICALLY. Then, if it still looks good, you can be a whole lot more confident that it really is. — jtl

by Troy Marshall in My View From The Country

With historically high prices comes an equally historic situation—shifting our mental gears to manage for prosperity rather than managing to avoid a wreck.


I’ve heard day-to-day management in ranching described as crisis avoidance. While that’s kind of a pessimistic description, it does have a grain of truth to it, if only that, on a daily basis, there are a lot of things that have to be addressed or they can cause real problems down the road.

Livestock managers are pretty darn adept at planning for potential problems, whether it be drought or the markets; after all, we’ve had plenty of practice, what with always managing risk and working to reduce costs in an effort to be in a position to handle the negatives that come down the road. One rancher told me that he is always making decisions to avoid a negative—his vaccination program is geared to prevent an outbreak of a problem; his nutrition program formulated to avoid a failure that compromises the immune system, reduces growth, or hurts reproduction; his risk management efforts designed to avoid the pain associated with a market downturn; even his genetic selection parameters are designed to avoid calving difficulty and market discounts.  

His point, in essence, is that he is great at managing for difficult times and avoiding problems; his mindset is that he is always preparing for potentially difficult times. However, his most interesting point is the difficulty he has managing for good times. Of course, certain aspects of ranch management are universal—managing costs and managing risk are equally important in good times and bad times alike.

However, with better profitability also comes greater opportunities and far more choice, which means management decisions must have more flexibility because of the bigger impacts on profitability down the road. Another rancher who is a really good thinker and very astute financially boiled it down pretty simply. This year, he is trying to raise a calf for less than $800 and sell it for more than $1200.  If he accomplishes that, his operation will have returns equal to Apple. That’s a pretty cool thought.  

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Books by Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual by Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume.

This guide is a detailed book review of sorts, but perhaps it would be more accurately described as an abstract that condenses 864 pages of detail into 189 pages of concentrated information. No more excuses for failing to properly plan your grazing. The booklet is available from in both soft cover and Kendall versions. Click here. 

CoverA Handbook for Ranch Managers A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Managing the Working Ranch. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.

Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on

To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here


Product DetailsCall for a pizza, a cop, and an ambulance and see which one arrives first.

So, who does that leave to protect you, your life, property and family?

The one and only answer is: YOU

This Handbook is intended to help you exercise that right and meet that responsibility.

Combat Shooter’s Handbook is available from in both paperback and Kindle versions.


The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits.  Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.

Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on

To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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