College Offers Degree in Master Ranching

Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Institute for Ranch Management Offers Ranchers Masters Degree Program
By LYNN BREZOSKY | Associated Press Writer | September 22, 2007

Once upon a time, in the Wild West, all it took to raise cattle was land, grass and cowboys who knew how to rope the critters. Now, it may take an MBA.

Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Institute for Ranch Management is offering what university officials call the first ever masters degree program for ranchers sort of a Harvard Business School for cowboys. In addition to graduate-level business courses, students are schooled in rangeland specialties, including animal nutrition and wildlife management.

During a Friday noon session over brown bag lunches, a laptop computer beams a long list of letters and numbers. It’s an equation, Les Nunn tells his colleagues in cowboy hats, for getting the most beef out of your pastures’ grass. Nunn’s Power Point presentation, “Searching for the Economic Optimum Stocking Ratio,” follows another student’s profit loss analysis of a government incentive program for land conservation and another’s stab at formulas for sharing land between hunting lessees and livestock.

It’s an exclusive club, coming with the promise of a job after graduation. The first graduating class had two students; the current class has four, with seven students enrolled in the program this year. Twenty students applied for a slot.

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