Sustainability Workshops

It isn’t easy to make a living from the land. Which is why Western Sustainability Exchange focuses on the power of markets and education to improve the economic and financial viability of sustainable land managers. Each Fall, WSE organizes a series of workshops specifically centered on improving the triple bottom line for agriculture operations:  people, planet, and profit.

Ranching For Profit: Healthy Land, Happy Families, and Profitable Businesses

Dave shows attendees how to start a livestock business from scratch

Dave Pratt, of Ranch Management Consultants and the Ranching for Profit school will lead 3 workshops this Fall.

Each workshop consists of three parts. In the first hour Dave will illustrate grazing principles that have dramatically increased range productivity for many of his Ranching For Profit School alumni in Montana. In the second hour Dave will introduce principles to help family businesses get everyone on the same page, working together effectively. “We’ll show people how to hold family members accountable in the business without having a food fight every night at the dinner table,” Dave says. In the third hour he will review what he calls the Three Secrets for increasing profit and show participants how to find their deadwood, their profit divers and how to restructure their ranch to improve owner value. Following the workshop, Dave will lead a discussion with attendees to address their specific issues.

When, Where, and How Much

9 am to 12:30 pm, followed by an informal discussion to address specific issues of attendees

  • October 30, 2014 Dillon – *cancelled*
  • October 31, Livingston – Shane Lalani Center, 415 East Lewis
  • November 1, Deer Lodge – USDA Service Center, 1002 Hollenback Rd (next to McDonald’s)

$40 ($45 at the door, $35 for WSE members). Please register by October 24th to reserve your space!


Healthy Land

  • Reading the land & turning dirt into soil
  • The nuts and bolts of Cell Grazing
  • Grazing grass up v. grazing it down
  • Strategies for eliminating hay

Happy Families

  • Do you own a business or just a pile of assets and a bunch of jobs?
  • What you put in + what you get out: Defining owner value
  • Herding cats: Getting things done in a family business

Profitable Businesses

  • Aspiring to have tax problems (making a profit is a good thing)
  • The Three Secrets for increasing profit
  • Finding your deadwood & profit drivers
  • Letting nature do the work

 After The Workshop

  • Dave will lead a discussion with attendees to address their specific issues.

To register, email Tyrrell at, call (406) 223-8991, or





Low-Stress Livestock Handling:  Principles, Techniques, and Practical Applications

In October of 2013 WSE and the Stockmanship Journal led this workshop series on a fundamental component of production agriculture that has significant impacts on the bottom line. 

Whit Hibbard, fourth-generation Montana rancher, former national park mounted ranger, and editor of Stockmanship Journal, led three workshops on low-stress livestock handling. Low-stress livestock handling requires no additional inputs, yet studies show that it can significantly increase production and performance. Whit makes the case for low-stress livestock handling and covered the fundamentals, including principles, techniques, and practical applications.

Good stockmanship improves:

  • Performance – weight gains, conception rates, immune function, and carcass quality
  • Efficiency – accomplish the same workload with less labor
  • Safety
  • Welfare
  • Quality of life

“It’s important to understand the reason for handling livestock better, which is more production with the same feed and water. Proper livestock handling will increase productivity”  – Bud Williams

“Good stockmanship will improve the bottom line.”  – Temple Grandin

Learn more at



Drought Planning 

Drought & Resilience:  Boom or Bust?

In December 2012 WSE and Land EKG led this exclusive workshop series for steering ranch operations through drought.

Charley Orchard and Land EKG lead interactive discussions on drought and tactics that ranchers and land managers can apply to their grazing lands.

These workshops will covered:


  • Low Precip Blues? Come learn some practical tactics, tools, and options for dealing with drought
Grazing Management
  • Grazing Cages – Utilitarian management devices
  • Grazing Indexes – What’s your report card?
  • Stocking Rates – Figure them. Snap easy, snap fast
  • Track what counts
  • Rain Gauges – a lifetime monitoring tool
  • Live Maps – Get yours and make it useful
  • Useful applications

Drought is hard. It’s even harder if you don’t have a strategy.

2010 and 2011 Workshops
Ranching For Profit

Dave Pratt, who has taught the Ranching For Profit School for nearly 20 years, has lead 7 WSE-organized workshops over the past 2 years.

Pratt covered such topics as the three ways to increase profit, a method of benchmarking to identify profit drivers and “Dead Wood,” how to increase the availability of working capital, and how to increase profit by structuring one’s operation to be in sync with natural cycles.

For specific workshop content, click here.

Thanks to Centennial Valley Association and Madison Valley Ranchlands Group for helping us organize and host these workshops. Thanks to Stockman Bank and Bank of the Rockies for generously sponsoring!

To view archived and live webinars on Ranching For Profit principles, visit

For specific information on and trainings in the ecological indicators that ultimately underpin the profitability of any land-based business, visit