Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 2005


Published for the Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XIX December 6, 7 and 8, 2005, Rapid City, South Dakota.


While it has often been recognized that a ranch is greater than the sum of its parts, measuring and reporting the performance of the parts seems to be the common method of measuring the success of a ranch. Depending on the interest of the owner and manager, emphasis may be focused on cattle performance, or range management, or financial performance, or individual or personal accomplishments. Seldom does the discussion of success encompass some overarching measurement. The management tool known as “The Balanced Scorecard,” first developed by Robert S. Kaplin and David P. Norton in the early 1990s (Kaplin and Norton, 1996), has been used successfully in many business applications. Using both lagging and leading indicators, it measures the progress of an organization towards its vision from multiple perspectives. The balanced scorecard is an organized and thoughtful approach which recognizes that the successful achievement of an organization’s vision is dependent on the achievement of multiple goals organized into the components of the organization. Application of a balanced scorecard in a ranch business may help a ranch owner and manager achieve sustainable long-term success.