2022-23 Nebraska Ranch Practicum Applications Due May 3


Nebraska Ranch Practicum Applications due May 3, 2022 

Camaraderie and the exchange of ideas are among the most valued aspects of the Nebraska Ranch Practicum. Since 1999, approximately 750 students from 15 states have participated in the Practicum, including ranch owners, ranch hands, veterinarians, graduate and undergraduate students, ag lenders, teachers, consultants, Extension educators, and government agency employees.

Natural resources, livestock, and economics are integrated throughout the eight sessions of the Practicum, emphasizing a systems approach to ranching. Each session is team-taught by University of Nebraska-Lincoln animal science, agronomy, range science, ag economics, and veterinary medicine instructors. Teachers interact with students throughout the Practicum and leverage student experiences and expertise to increase the exchange of information.

Students are introduced to the principles of systems thinking and good decision making on the first day of the Practicum. Throughout the Practicum, students are immersed in ranch management decision-making, both tactical and strategic. Examples include tracking feed inventory to make feed resource management decisions throughout the production season. Participants learn to formulate grazing strategies to manage natural resources and accomplish livestock production and financial goals, including management strategies that mitigate the impacts of drought. This includes learning how to manage market risk with tools such as LRP insurance, forward contracting, retained ownership, options and hedging, as well as alternative cull cow marketing systems. Students get experience thinking through how single ranch management decisions, such as replacing females, choosing a calving date, and managing cow milk production, affect the whole production system.


The 30 participants in the 2021-2022 Nebraska Ranch Practicum estimated the value of the Practicum at $8.31/head of cattle owned with a benefit of $36,149/operation and a total reported economic impact of $216,894. These participants influence decisions on 471,440 acres and 55,398 head of livestock.

The 2022-2023 Nebraska Ranch Practicum will be June 6 and 7, July 7, September 7 and 8, and November 3, 2022; and January 10 and 11, 2023. Classroom activities will open and close the Practicum in North Platte with the remainder of the sessions conducted at the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory. The Practicum can count for college or continuing education credit.

Registration costs $675/person, and spouses can join for $350. Registration covers educational materials, noon meals and breaks. Participants are responsible for travel and lodging expenses. To register, submit a completed application and registration fee no later than May 3. Enrollment is limited to 35. To learn more or register, visit https://nebraskaranchpracticum.unl.edu/ or contact Troy Walz at 308-872-6831 or troy.walz@unl.edu.

-Compiled from Cornhusker Economics and BeefWatch by T.L. Meyer, Livestock Systems Educator