Generation Next: Our Turn to Ranch online course now registering

Sarah Fuller, Texas AgriLife Today

January 21, 2024

The Generation Next: Our Turn to Ranch 12-week online course is open for registration. The program, offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, takes place Jan. 29-April 21. The course fee is $300, and online registration is required at

The course includes expert instruction on everything from starting a new agriculture business or enterprise to tax implications and insurance needs to developing grazing or wildlife leases.

“Across Texas, we’re seeing individuals who may or may not have experience in agriculture or natural resource management inheriting or purchasing agricultural lands,” said Megan Clayton, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension range specialist, Uvalde. “The Generation Next curriculum is specifically designed to empower these landowners with the knowledge and resources needed to start a new agricultural operation, improve an existing one or manage the land to meet their specific stewardship goals.”

The online school enables participants to work toward developing a business plan with support from professionals who specialize in each field and topic, Clayton said. Participants can expect to spend roughly two hours per week at their convenience on the lessons and activities.

Enrollees will learn from experts regarding land management techniques and resources, alternative ranching operations, ecotourism opportunities, insurance and tax considerations, direct marketing and more. They will also learn how to set goals with measurable objectives for success.

Upon course completion, participants will have a useful business plan for their operation and receive a Generation Next certificate and T-shirt.

Course benefits new and established producers

While the course curriculum is designed to assist those new to land ownership or agriculture, individuals with existing knowledge also benefit.

“I grew up farming and ranching, but the business and operational details were not discussed,” said Michael Martin, Generation Next alumnus. “I knew that I needed more than just instinct and limited experience to carry on farming and ranching in today’s competitive world.”

Martin is a fourth-generation cattle producer operating his family’s ranch in Central Texas.

“This course helped me understand the why and how to run my operation as a business with ecological and financial goals in mind,” he said.

Martin added that while writing a business plan from scratch is a daunting task, the course breaks the process down into manageable components and helps fill knowledge gaps participants may not be aware of.

For more information, contact Clayton at 830-988-6123 or


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