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Old 06-13-2009, 05:09 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,766 times
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Yeah I see your point Marmac; that probably would be true since a new-hire would be in the parlor most of the time. I was kind of thinking of it from my point of view where I do mostly field work and feeding operations.

There are some other jobs though on a dairy farm that are not quite so shift-like. It depends of course on the farm, but I know a lot of dairy farms hire people to take care of just the calves. If you love baby animals, don't mind giving the darn things bottles and stuff, its a great job. I know a few around here like to hire women because they tend to do a better job raising them.

I was just thinking (probably wrongly) that dairy farm work would be easier to get into, and then while the OP was there, he would learn valuable skills just being around animals.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:44 AM
 
307 posts, read 845,349 times
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Doesn't Texas have much ranching anymore? What about Oklahoma?
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:55 PM
 
Location: NOCO
535 posts, read 1,408,400 times
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I doubt this guy would be looking for work on a feed lot or something. Sounds like he would rather work free range/public lands/large spread type stuff, but in locations where that takes place the locals are engrained in it and it would be hard for somebody to come in and beat out an experienced local dieing for work.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
13,387 posts, read 16,959,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countryway View Post
Doesn't Texas have much ranching anymore? What about Oklahoma?
Yes, Oklahoma is considered a farming state.In fact, Cattle and Dairy farming is so affluent in OK, that every radio station puts out daily and hourly, both
cattle and Crop reports.

There was a time when Wisconsin was "The Dairy State"
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:08 AM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,040 posts, read 10,535,340 times
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Most, if not all, of the western states have some sort of ranching opportunities. Not far from me is one of the largest working ranches in California. Though the ranch got out of the cattle business a few years ago, they still lease their land to others for raising cattle. There are a lot of cattle ranches in the central part of the state, and probably most of the other parts, too. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, and Oklahoma all have cattle ranches, too, that I've seen with my own eyes. I'm sure Oregon, Washington, Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and most other states do, too.

My recommendation to learn the business is to get involved with those that are in the business. If you can't get hired on as a ranch hand, perhaps you could volunteer as a 4-H or FFA advisor at a nearby high school. You would have a lot of learning to do, but you could learn along with the students, and could assist in other ways to be a benefit to the organization. Attend your local county fair and any others that may be nearby, but spend your time in the livestock area, talking to as many folks as you can. Ask them about learning the business, and find out if they know anyone you could work with to learn it. You should get some good leads that way. Even in Los Angeles county, there is a fair (no pun intended) amount of livestock activity at the county fair.

Another source of information might be by talking to the folks at a local amateur rodeo. Some of these folks work on the ranch most of the time (to pay the bills), but also ride the rodeos for fun and excitement.

These are just a couple of ideas that came to mind that would not make you need to travel halfway across the country to get some insight into the ranching business. Even though there are lots of well known ranches in the western U.S., that doesn't mean that there may not be something similar closer to wherever you are. One thing to keep in mind is that western ranches are often much larger than those in the east because of the vast amount of acreage required to properly feed cattle in the arid regions of the west.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:47 AM
 
25,691 posts, read 24,524,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countryway View Post
Doesn't Texas have much ranching anymore? What about Oklahoma?

Areas of Tx and Ok both have ranching, I have relatives in S Dakota too where its farm country.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:36 AM
 
Location: NW Nevada
14,530 posts, read 11,949,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countryway View Post
Greetings all. I was curious if anyone had any insight as to where the best place is to get started and get involved with thr cattle ranching and/or equestrian business. I am looking at a few states, but am not sure where to go, and am considering all advice from people who know. I have little experience but am willing to learn and work hard. Would like to have my own ranch someday. Thanks to any help and opinions.
Oh my. You think big my friend. I've been in and out of the ranching and cattle thing all my life and most of my friends that still do it for a living are eating their herds. Lol, not really, it ain't that bad yet. Livestock is tough , dirty , nasty and heartbreaking work. Especially horses. You get attached to them, the good ones anyway. Cattle look best as a medium rare top sirloin in my book. A lot better than they do when your dragging them to the fire for branding anyway. If you want to seethe real deal see if you can actually get out on a working ranch and see what these folks deal with everyday. Most of it is not that glamorous. These people do their own vet work and thats not a pleasant thing, nutting calves, castrating horses, dealing with predators eating your stock etc. I'm not trying to discourage you from your dream, but it is not like the movies out here. It's a good , honest life , but it does take a special breed. I spent the best part of my life with ranch living, but I'm glad I don't do it full time now. I know a lot of folks who do and I pitch in with them when they need me, thats just neighborly after all, but you have to just flat LOVE the life to do it everyday. It's grueling, tough, sweating, freezing (sometimes at the same time), mud blood and guts but on the upside it's wide open spaces, self reliance, good chow, beautiful sunrises and sunsets that you get to watch from the back of a horse, cool wildlife, ol' Chris Ledeux said it best...."that's why I live beneath these Western skys".
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Old 07-03-2009, 04:05 AM
 
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While I live in "ranching country" in Wyoming, and there's lots of cattle ranches throughout the western states .... it's not an easy life, by any means. Due to the scarcity of resources, it takes a lot of land to raise cattle here, hence the fencing and riding herd and other back-breaking 24/7 chores that folks here are mentioning.

If I was going into the cattle biz ... I'd be looking at a "ranch" in a much more productive area of the country which required less land, less moving around of the cattle herd, etc.

For example, Wyoming ranches typically need over 100 acres per cow/calf unit in average years for survival. That's a lot of land, and unless you've inheirited it, you'll need a lot of cash to buy land for a reasonable sized herd to justify your time/effort/energy ... even if you buy it "cheap" per acre. With most land in the state bringing well over $1,000/acre, and much at the $2,000/acre price point, it's not a feasible business. Even if you find one of the large ranches being sold for "only $300/acre", you'll find that you'll need a multi-million $ investment in dirt to start your operation ... or a lot of leased land from someone fortunate to be a major landowner but smart enough to know to not be in the cattle business.

Compare this major land operation to a cattle ranch in the SouthEastern USA, with better soils, lots of water, and better grass/forage production. In Florida, for example, cattle "ranches" can run 30 head of cattle per acre. In Ohio, I've seen them run 20+ head per acre. And so forth ... you can raise cattle on a modest amount of land, and you're not maintaining miles and miles of fences and infrastructure, and checking on your cattle for miles around. You're much closer to your next point in the "food chain", where your transportation costs for your product to market are much less expensive ... not only in the miles, but in the "shrinkage" that results when your cattle are spending time in a trailer (your cattle are sold by the pound) and losing weight in transit.

Is this as glamorous as saddling up "ol paint" and riding for hours to check on and vet and feed your cattle? You might ask yourself that question when the weather conditions are miserable and you're still looking for a missing cow/calf ... and the coyotes are howling and the snow is falling and you've got a half dozen more ravines and little pasture areas to find them in and it's a hour plus ride back to your barn after you've found the critters and they're OK.

With the land prices I've seen recently in mid to eastern Ohio, it would certainly be more economically feasible to raise cattle there. As it would also be in the areas as you head south to Florida, compared to the big land area you need in "the west".

Especially with the recent drop in cattle prices to the producer, I'd say this isn't the time to be getting into the business unless you've got access to a "real deal" distress situation for the land and the cattle herd. Keep in mind that getting financing for such a business land deal is not the same as almost nothing down residential home purchase ... this is a business deal where most banks won't even talk to you without solid financials, experience in the business, and maybe 30-40% down payment. The banks want to stay in the money business, not the land and cattle business ... and they don't want somebody who isn't at high personal risk/investment to walk away from the purchase and leave them holding the property. Also, keep in mind that much of the most beautiful ranching land properties are competing for "gentleman's ranches" or "retreats" at recreational pricing, not productive land value pricing. You'll not be able to make money in the cattle business when some hollywood types have been driving the local price points up to $3-4-5,000 per acre for the nice looking ranches which they come out to visit now and then.

Last edited by sunsprit; 07-03-2009 at 04:14 AM..
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Old 07-03-2009, 07:05 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,681,328 times
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Great post, but I have to question one part of it-------

-----" In Ohio, I've seen them run 20+ head per acre"-


Impossible !
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:28 PM
 
Location: NW Nevada
14,530 posts, read 11,949,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
Great post, but I have to question one part of it-------

-----" In Ohio, I've seen them run 20+ head per acre"-


Impossible !
20 + head an acre? lol, thats rich graze. maybe on the feed lot............ Most folks herebouts use a tad more ground.
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