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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Colorado Perspective:
What Worked, What Didn't?

Colorado rancher Troy Marshall shares his best and worst decisions in the ranching business.

by Troy Smith for Angus Productions Inc.


CASPER, Wyo. (Dec. 3, 2009) — A highlight of the final day of the 2009 Range Beef Cow Symposium in Casper, Wyo., four ranchers shared their best and worst decisions in the ranching business. Burlington, Colo., seedstock producer Troy Marshall said it was easy to determine the best decision he and wife Lorna have made.


Troy Marshall“We placed too much emphasis on being a low-cost producer when we also needed to create situations that would generate more revenue,” said Colorado rancher Troy Marshall.“Our best decision was to enter the cattle business and raise our kids in that lifestyle,” Marshall said. “We believe it provides a great foundation for life.”


Citing two potentially “worst” management decisions, Marshall said the first was a failure to find balance and make wise investments of wealth and time. While he and Lorna were passionate about their chosen direction, they didn’t have the wealth or time to achieve their early goals.


Another poor decision, Marshall said, was working under a fatally flawed business model. Essentially, the couple was doing the same thing, year after year, and trying to do it better and cheaper. It wasn’t enough.


“Cash flow was not our primary goal, but it was our biggest challenge,” explained Marshall. “We placed too much emphasis on being a low-cost producer when we also needed to create situations that would generate more revenue.”


Marshall said the new vision for his family’s operation includes:

• seeking ways to capture non-ag value, as well as production
value, from the land base;

• putting people first and building strong relationships;

• utilizing risk management tools;

• becoming involved advocates for the industry;

• building the “right” genetics; and

• focusing on increasing margins more than reducing breakevens. 

See David True's Wyoming perspective.


See Kory Bierle's South Dakota perspective.


See John Maddux's Nebraska perspective.

Editor’s Note: API's coverage of the event is made available for distribution to all media via an agreement with the Range Beef Cow Symposium Committee and API. Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., API publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus e-List, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the API Virtual Library. For questions about this site, or to notifiy us of broken links, click here.