Getting ‘Bullosophical:’ Texas A&M Students ‘Steer’ Toward Ranching
Guaranteed jobs after graduation make managing land and livestock attractive.
By LYNN BREZOSKY
KINGSVILLE, Texas | From a laptop computer in a university classroom beams a long list of letters and numbers – an equation, Les Nunn tells his colleagues in cowboy hats, for getting the most beef out of your pastures’ grass.
It’s noon Friday at Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s nascent Institute for Ranch Management, time for brown bag lunches and “bullosophy.” Nunn’s PowerPoint 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.
University officials tout the institute as the world’s first master’s degree program in ranch management, the equivalent of a Harvard Business School for those who would take a “systems” approach to the Wild West. In addition to graduate-level business courses, students are schooled in rangeland specialties, including animal nutrition and wildlife management.
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.