A ranch managers key component: communication
Firms oversee large-scale improvements and management practices but are rarely involved in the day-to-day aspects of running a ranch. That is where your ranch manager steps in to take over.
By: Grant Gannon
Since many ranches are multi-million dollar operations, finding an effective leader to manage the asset is a priority. As Jerome Chvilicek, director of the management group for Hall and Hall, says, picking out the best ranch manager is paramount. How to choose? Chvilicek says there are a few important skills to look for.
“In my opinion, the biggest skill a ranch manager has to have is communication and people skills. Right behind that is knowledge of the agriculture. Where I have seen most problems arise is with communications and people skills,” Chvilicek says. “The type of clients we deal with, communication is key.”
The hiring process is something similar to what you find in corporate America. Ranchers are hired on credentials and recommendations, not because they’re next in a long line of good ol’ boys.
“It’s a little bit of both. You get resumes and you see different ranches they’ve managed, “ Chvilicek said. “There is also networking involved where we’ll network with other ranch managers, … We’ll let them know what position we have open and have them send people our way if they know of somebody good.”
When asked if the position was similar to that of a fund manager on Wall Street or another high profile position, Chvilicek laughed but said the comparison isn’t too far off.
“Given what these values have done over the last 15 years, not only are they managing people and livestock, but they’re managing a big asset,” Chvilicek said. “You have to look at that aspect of the ranch manager as well.”
Many ranch managers now start with salaries in excess of $50,000 a year and also get perks enjoyed by those in large companies like access to health insurance and a 401K plan.
“No landowner wants the value of his asset to depreciate, so there is a skill set there to know what needs to be done,” Chvilicek says.
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