Sugarloaf Ranch Vision
Tradition and Innovation For a Sustainable Future
The Sugarloaf Valley Ranch represents a unique opportunity to create a profitable agricultural enterprise through the integration of traditional farming and homesteading skills with cutting edge regenerative agronomic techniques and educational outreach.
Sugarloaf Valley Ranch is positioned to take advantage of several strong opportunities for the creation of an integrated operation that combines regenerative agriculture, which recognizes that all downstream profit streams depend ultimately and primarily on soil health. With optimal fertility, the agricultural products produced by the ranch can range from beef production to food crops, to honey, poultry, and more. With a strong focus on a holistic approach to food production, the Sugarloaf Ranch will be able to reach a goal of profitability from its farming operations alone.
When this approach is combined with a hospitality division that emphasizes experience and educational opportunities, the ranch can maximize its profitability. With a foundation in innovative, regenerative agriculture, people will be drawn to be paying guests at the ranch for its diversified offerings of seminars, adventure, and inspiring agricultural education. The potential for solid bookings years in advance is possible as the ranch develops a reputation as a shining example of how the best innovations in regenerative agriculture can create a sustainable and money-making enterprise in an unforgiving desert environment.
Solid farming practices and precise, competent management, combined with an educational tourism focus designed around the philosophy of using what you have to its maximum potential, will create a business enterprise that not only makes a profit but also inspires and others on how to do the same. This is the combination of a solid business with making the world a better place than all successful companies strive to achieve. We have a powerful opportunity to reach this balanced goal on the Sugarloaf Ranch.
The formula to create this operation lies in three areas, Management, Soil Health, and Tourism Marketing.
The management of the Sugarloaf Valley Ranch needs to be based primarily on a shared vision within the management team of how the ranch can be an inspiration. The goal cannot be the money alone. At the same time, profitability is the “proof in the pudding” that the regenerative farming practices work in real-world conditions. Right now, Alyssa, Breck, and Loch have this shared vision of how to take the potential held within the ranch and manifest it fully. The concept of being able to create a healthy, sustainable farming and ranching operation that is not dependent upon industrial inputs or outside capital sources is one that sparks and inspires each of us who are intimately connected to the ranch, and who are enlivened by the dream of creating something better for a world sorely in need of a viable alternative to chemical farming with debt economy money. We aren’t working for a paycheck; we’re all ultimately working for the dream. This makes us a team; we’re on the same page and united in the desire to see the goal of realizing the ranch’s potential.
Soil health is not going to be achieved overnight, but it can be reached on a focused five-year plan. The components of soil health are the building of soil biota, diversified plant culture, and animal and forage interaction. The beauty of building soil health is that, like holistic human health, it does not require expensive mechanical or chemical interventions, but rather, time, attention, and hard work. The benefits are not seen immediately, but they last for a long time. As the soil becomes more fertile, crop density and nutrition is maximized, animal health becomes optimal, and irrigation efficiency can double. As a result, the ranch can realize a greater profit from its farming operations on several levels.
Examples of this are as follows:
1. Hay and forage production increase, with the ultimate goal of being self-sufficient in hay production, that is, not need to subsidize cattle operations by buying hay from sources outside the ranch.
2.Optimal animal health and nutrition, which brings top dollar for the highest quality beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products. A well-nourished animal doesn’t get sick. It produces healthier offspring with less birthing complications. It gains weight more rapidly, and with the consumption of less biomass, which reduces grazing pressures and wintertime feed requirements. Good soil health, in effect, reduces costs while maximizing profits in animal operations.
3. Food crops are tastier, more nutritious, and have a built-in marketing edge.
4. Healthy soil retains moisture. As the amount of water needed to grow healthy crops decreases, water can be utilized to place more land into production. More arable land means more feed and food, more animals, and thus, more profit at the end of the day.
At present, the Air BnB type marketing of the housing units on the ranch depends on a generalized marketing philosophy. In other words, people who rent the units do so because they see Boulder as an attractive tourist destination for the qualities Boulder possesses as a whole. In this, tourism has a definite “season”, and the hospitality operation of the ranch experiences an annual rise and fall in revenue. If the farm itself becomes the draw, then this drop-off in occupancy can be reduced or even eliminated. Educational and adventure programs can be developed and sold all through the year based on the activities that are happening on the ranch. Hemp seminars, equestrian training, skills gatherings; the list of events and educational encounters is endless. The only limit is what the ranch can sponsor.
How We Achieve The Goal
Focus: Hemp production is vital for the short-term survival of the Sugarloaf Valley Ranch, because it is the best source of immediate cash revenue. The hemp operation is a separate business entity and has its own financial and managerial organization. For these reasons, integration of the hemp operation has the potential to present difficulties in the future. At the very least, it complicates accounting and managerial processes, and its needs and priorities are not necessarily those of the ranch as a whole. It is very likely that if the hemp operation were moved to the Deer Ranch, cooperation between the two entities could be optimized and streamlined. The potential for the hemp operation to grow is maximized with a Deer Ranch location. There will be no competition for water since the Deer Ranch has its irrigation system. If the hemp managers decide that their business goals are better met through a more conventional agricultural philosophy, this decision won’t conflict with plans on the Sugarloaf as a whole. The synergy that now exists between the two operations will be maximized by this independence, not curtailed. Of course, any decision to make such a move should be carefully considered and not rushed into, and the main point is to create a focus for both the Sugarloaf Valley Ranch and the hemp operation.
Book-keeping: Expenditures are not tracked very well at the moment on the ranch. The Management Team will begin immediately to gain an overview of costs and to create a budget for the ranch that maximizes profit and reduces costs. Budgets will also be crafted with the five-year goal in mind to maximize soil fertility and to begin the process of diversifying the agricultural production of the ranch in way that maximizes profitability and works towards the goal of increasing the focused tourism sector of the ranch’s business model.
Soil fertility: Operations to begin to build compost can begin immediately. Training and education for managerial personnel can be explored so that state of the art can be implemented on the ground with minimal mistakes, trial and error, and false starts. The goal will be to build maximum soil fertility on an agricultural scale using resources at hand, that is to say, with minimum expenditure for equipment or inputs.
Tourism Marketing: Immediate steps can be taken to increase the marketing scope (and profitability) of the ranch. An on-site store can be created, where Ranch products, such as beef, can be sold directly to the guests staying at the ranch. Other activities, such as horseback rides, can be marketed to the guests as a day trip, or even as a destination activity. These sorts of marketing activities will increase profits for the ranch, and can be implemented with minimal investment. Experience in these areas will inform the management team for future marketing strategies focused on the tourism segment of the ranch. The combination of an on-site store (with synergies with Hills and Hollows, the Outpost, etc.) activities on the ranch, horseback rides, seminars, guided outings, and other events will maximize the profits from the tourist sector.
Conclusion The Sugarloaf Valley Ranch has excellent potential to be not only a profitable agricultural enterprise but also a shining example and an inspirational model for sustainable agriculture. With a foundation in soil health and regenerative farming practices, the ranch can maximize not only its profitability as a farm but also its profitability as a tourist destination. With the current management team, the ranch is poised to maximize this potential with a crafted, focused, and phased plan designed to achieve these goals