How to Draft a Ranch Management Plan in Five Steps

You have spent years earning, planning, and shopping for a ranch, now that you own it, what should you do next? Your ranch dream may have been inspired by a family trip out west, a childhood cowboy fantasy, or a desire to invest in land, but no matter the motivation, the reality of owning a ranch can be overwhelming. Following these five steps will help you draft and implement a management plan that outlines where to start and what to do next. Following your plan will help ensure that you enjoy the journey of turning your ranching dream into a reality.

The dream…a “home on the range where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.” Daniel E. Kelly

#1 - Take stock of what you have.

Like any new project, it’s best to start with what you know. Make a list of the ranch assets and their condition to identify the starting point of your management plan and help prioritize what needs to be addressed. This exercise will help you learn what you have and how the former owner referenced them. Many items on a ranch come with historical names that are best kept to avoid confusion. Take time to talk to the previous owner or manager to learn these names. It is also helpful to group the inventory into the following categories.