Kingsville, September 18, 2009 — Cowboys have long been the focal point of ranching history and folklore, but on today's modern ranches is being a good cowboy enough? How are successful ranches managing their workforce? Learn this and much more at the Sixth Annual HOLT CAT® Symposium in Excellence in Ranch Management. The topic of this year's symposium at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is Human Resource Management on Modern Ranches. It is scheduled Thursday and Friday, Oct. 29-30, in the Memorial Student Union Building located on campus at the intersection of University Boulevard and Santa Gertrudis Street.

The annual symposium is hosted each year by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, part of the university's Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences. Early registration is $150 through Friday, Oct. 16, and $200 thereafter.

“While we don't often think of ‘people' as a ranch resource, doing a good job managing the employees on a ranch can be a high leverage point for achieving overall ranch success,” said Dr. Barry Dunn, executive director of the KRIRM. “Our symposium speakers will address the application of successful human resource management to modern ranches.”

Topics covered at the symposium include performance reviews, personality evaluations, behavioral interviewing, 360 evaluations, benefits and rewards systems, team building, employee motivation, delegating responsibility, calculating the value of compensation packages and communication skills.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Bernie Erven, professor emeritus of agriculture economics at Ohio State University. He will talk about People Management: Strength or Headache.

While teaching at Ohio State, Erven's teaching, extension and research activities were in resource management and business management. He continues to teach a course in human resource management in small businesses. His consulting work with small businesses through Erven HR Services LLC focuses on family business relations and human resource management.

Erven has worked on issues such as hiring, training, motivation, discipline, compensation and performance feedback for 40 years. He also conducts workshops on succession and human relations in family businesses, communication, handling the stress of management, team building and time management. He has degrees from Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin.

He is a two-time recipient of the Ohio State University Award for Distinguished Teaching. He also has received the American Agricultural Economics Association Teaching Award; a U.S. Department of Agricultural National Excellence in Teaching Award; the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Meritorious Service Award; the Ohio State University Gamma Sigma Delta Extension and Teaching Awards; the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Cooperative Education Award; and the American Agricultural Economics Association Group Extension Award.

Dan Oedekoven, extension specialist in community innovation and leadership for the Meade County, South Dakota Extension Service, also will make a presentation. His topic is It's All about People. He was born and raised on a working cow/yearling operation in northern Wyoming and southern Montana. He received his bachelor's degree in farm and ranch management from the University of Wyoming and his master's in education from South Dakota State University West River Graduate Center.

He was an instructor navigator with the Air Force prior to becoming an agricultural loan representative for the First National Bank of the Black Hills, which is now Wells Fargo. In 1983, he started the Adult Farm/Ranch Business Management Program in western South Dakota for Western Dakota Technical Institute and worked there until funding for the program was cut in 1994. Oedekoven was then selected as the Meade County Extension Agent.

K. Erik Jacobsen, vice president and general manager for AgReserves Inc., will speak about Getting People on the Job. In his current position, he is responsible for AgReserves cow-calf operation including Deseret Cattle and Citrus in St. Cloud, Florida; Rex Ranch in Ashby, Nebraska; Triangle Ranch in Paducah, Texas; and Sooner Land and Livestock in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

He is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in animal science and Brigham Young University, where he earned a master's degree in business administration. Jacobsen began working at Deseret Cattle and Citrus as a cattle foreman, left for a time to work for Smithfield Foods as general manager of Circle Four Farms and returned to the ranch in 2006. He is an active member of the National and Florida Cattlemen's Association and currently serves as county president.

Wayne Fahsholtz, president and CEO of Padlock Ranch in Ranchester, Wyoming, will speak about Keeping People on the Job. In his job, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations as well as developing a long range strategic plan for the operation. He is the first non-family CEO at Padlock. Realizing the cattle industry is in a state of change, the strategic plan focuses on risk reduction, overhead cost controls, a reasonable return for ownership and a good quality of life for the stakeholders.

He began his career as partner/owner of a ranch in southern Oregon. He was then hired as president and general manager of Maggie Creek Ranch in Elko, Nevada. Realizing the importance of alliances, Fahsholtz entered into partnerships with Beef Northwest, Agri Beef and Country Natural Beef. While in Nevada, he received the U.S. Department of the Interior BLM National Riparian Stewardship Award. He also organized and still facilitates Western Ranch Managers Group. He received a degree from Oregon State University.

Dr. Robert A. Milligan, senior consultant with Dairy Strategies LLC, will talk about Special Challenges in HR. Dairy Strategies is a business, leadership and human resource consulting business focused on the dairy industry. He also is professor emeritus at Cornell University where he was an award-winning instructor in the fourth-ranked undergraduate business program. He is best known in extension for developing and leading the PRO-DAIRY Program.

He is a pioneer in webinar teaching, he co-authored a personnel management book for the Golf Course Superintendents of America and is a member of their teaching faculty and of the Cornell Dairy Executives Program. Milligan was named the J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship and Personal Enterprise and he received the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award of Merit.

Entertainment Thursday night will be provided by Baxter Black, once called the nation's most successful living poet. Everything about Black is cowboy…his cartoonish mustache, his personality and his poetry. He makes a living shining the spotlight on the flaws and foibles of everyday cowboy life. He doesn't own a television or cell phone and his idea of a modern convenience is Velcro chaps.

Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through his column, on National Public Radio, at public and television appearances and through his books, CDs, videos and commercial radio.

A pre-symposium will be held from 8 to 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center. The topic will be Economic Changes and Ranches. Speakers Dr. Michael D. Boehlje, renowned economist from Purdue University, and Dr. John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center from Iowa State University, will provide an in-depth look at the economics of the nation, the world, agriculture and the beef industry. The cost is $50.

Participants may register for both events at krirm.tamuk.edu and may get more information by calling 361-593-5401 or emailing [email protected]

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