From cowboy to educated member of the ranching community; Logan Naylor will be forever grateful for the Texas Christian University (TCU) Ranch Management Program.
Logan had spent about ten years “running around the country, living the cowboy lifestyle,” in his hometown of Miles City, Montana, when he started feeling that there was something more out there for him.
Logan found himself chatting with a friend from Miles City, a friend that he felt was at that next level where Logan wanted to be. When he asked how his friend had found success, the reply was quick: “You got to go to TCU, man. It's simple as that.” And the rest is history.
TCU Ranch Management Program
The TCU Ranch Management Program was established in 1956 when a group of ranchers came together with the goal of sharing knowledge and improving their industry.
“I think they felt that a lot of land grant universities at the time weren't providing the education that was necessary for people to actually go out and practice the management on the ranch itself,” said Jeff Geider, director of the TCU Ranch Management Program.
Today, the TCU ranch management program strives to educate students about managing their own operations, as well as about how their business fits into the increasingly globalized ranching industry. “The three primary purposes of the institute are to engage internationally, to transfer knowledge and education and recruit students to study at TCU,” Jeff said.
More than grass and cows
When Cord Wieghat talks with friends about his participation in the TCU ranch management program, they often ask questions like, “Why are you going to school to go be a cowboy?” But for Cord, it’s so much more than that.
“It’s not just cows and grass,” he said. “We're learning how to run budgets. We're learning how to market. We're learning animal health. We're learning soil and water conservation. And we're not talking about it just in theory, we're actually doing it.”
TCU expanded Cord’s world grew exponentially. “I never truly understood the impact of the global industry before I got here,” he said. “I didn’t know much outside the county lines. And coming here, it's amazing to see exactly how big of an impact the global industry has on all of us.”
Beyond learning the business of ranch management and the science of animal health, Cord feels connected to the program because of the people. “Everyone's so passionate. It's not all dollars and cents. We're not here just to make money,” he said. “We care about people. We care about animals. That's what we're here for. That's what it's all about.”
Farm Credit is there to help
Lone Star Ag Credit proudly supports the TCU ranch management program and recently created an endowment for the program.
“The focus of our partnership with Lone Star Ag Credit is to put students who have graduated from our program in real-world international scenarios, whether that's in Central or South America, Africa or Central Europe,” Jeff said. “This partnership gives us so much more of an opportunity to do that. We're very grateful for the opportunity and for the funding.”
Lone Star Ag Credit has been supporting agriculture for more than 100 years, and partnering with the TCU ranch management program is a perfect fit. “One of the reasons Lone Star Ag Credit is so proud and honored to support the ranch management program is because these are our future leaders in agriculture,” said Julie Porter, director of marketing and communications at Lone Star Ag Credit. “They're amazing. They are absolutely amazing.”
Pieces of a greater system
As Jeff prepares his students for life after graduation, he thinks about the many challenges that modern agriculture faces today. He also thinks about how everyone on Earth is an integral part of our agricultural systems; we all eat. “I have yet to meet a person that doesn't eat food,” he said. “We should care how our resources are managed, and we should care how livestock is raised.”
Logan feels prepared to help others learn how to care about how their food is raised and how Earth’s resources are managed using the knowledge he’s gained from TCU. “It is our responsibility to take what we've learned here and continue to educate and influence and lead the rest of agriculture,” he said.