Cattle people/ farmers are getting old.

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kickinbull

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I’ve raised cattle for fun and few times for profit for 60 years. I finally decided to join the cattlemen association. As a member I wonder if part of our involvement should be to encourage young people to enter the cattle business? How?
 

kenny thomas

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I’ve raised cattle for fun and few times for profit for 60 years. I finally decided to join the cattlemen association. As a member I wonder if part of our involvement should be to encourage young people to enter the cattle business? How?
Wish you luck and if you make it work let us know how you done it.
 

daneg

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I have been in your position and have pondered that question more than once and never came up with a solution. What I do know is most younger people want a regular paycheque and regular days off and that isn’t synonymous with ranching.
 

D2Cat

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That's not true. Most young people actually want, and need, to make money. There is little to no money in cattle for young person starting from scratch. You are far better off investing your energy else where.

Partner, I think you need to modify the first part of the second sentence. Should begin, Some, or a Few, at least in these parts. Or all the help wanted signs would stay out forever etc.
 

shaz

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I've questioned my sanity many times over the years as to why do I subject myself to farming.
Now with the price of everything going nuts it's nice to have 2 freezers full of meat and all the firewood I need.

But the answer is no, I wouldn't encourage any young people to get into this.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I do encourage youth to be involved in agriculture. I sponsor juniors by letting they use my animals to show. I am on the 3rd family. This family has 3 kids. This will be 5th year they have been "leasing" my animals for 4-H and all other youth events.
They live in suburb. No livestock. Live 10 minutes away. Animals stay here. They do all their own work on the show animals. Taught them to halter break, proper show skills, clipping, fitting, feeding, etc. But, they also are involved with learning all aspects. They have learned how to draw meds, inject IM or SQ, ear notch, ear tag, nasal spray, deworm, assist in calving (mostly just have watched some calvings), but we have explained what we do. Watched AI work. Planned breeding matings (mock). They know my cattle names & numbers better than me!! They are following all our calvings right now. Picking names, who should go into the next sale, etc.

I also work with the Extension. Put on clinics for the beef program. I was the state beef advisor for 25 years.

If we don't get youth involved, who will be taking the reins next. It's their choice if they can make a living at it, or just want to work in it.
 

Otha

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I’ve raised cattle for fun and few times for profit for 60 years. I finally decided to join the cattlemen association. As a member I wonder if part of our involvement should be to encourage young people to enter the cattle business? How?
I think you can encourage us young people all you want and it won't do any good. Myself and one friend I went to school with are the only people our age(24-25) I know that are doing anything ag related. The rest of my friends left town to make some decent money. The only reason we have been able to get started was some kind hearted older neighbors that helped us out with some lease ground, advice, and the occasional tractor to borrow to stack hay or something. We can't afford to buy cattle and land at the current prices right from the get go. Even if the bank was dumb enough to loan us all the money I don't see how cattle could ever pay their note payment and a land payment. I think lease ground is the only way we will get started and make enough for a down payment for a places someday. You can only put so much of your town job money towards the cattle and keep your living expenses paid. So long story short if you want to help a young farmer/rancher out then help them find a decent lease place.
 

GoWyo

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Access to land and capital plus an overwhelming desire to be involved in the business (and a self-driven desire to learn) and the willingness to make sacrifices is what is required. A big part is on the young individual and if they have the drive and willingness to make the sacrifices, they just need the opportunity to access land and capital. I think it all starts with the exposure and education in agriculture and the driven individuals will figure it out. If they don't have the drive, they will never make it. This is a tough business.

It may be a low wage approach, but a young person can get their education working in the business as AI techs, cow hands, salesmen, feedlot pen riders, etc., make the connections that lead to access to land and capital, manage their personal finances and keep their eye out for opportunities. As they say on Yellowstone, "you don't deserve it, no one does."
 

Ky hills

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It's one of those things that logic would say yes, we need to encourage the younger generations to continue, in agriculture, but the reality is the ones of us trying to keep it going are for the most part just existing and not thriving at it. I'm close to 47, and my generation had it hammered into us that it was not possible to make a go of it with cattle or any other kind of agriculture. I was determined to try it anyways, and here I am still trying. A lot of twists and turns along the way. I love the farm/ranch life, it's all I've known. I've always thought of it as necessary profession, shame that not many others see it that way. We have to eat, and should be common sense that we need to supply as much of our own food on as local of a level as possible.
The way things are it's not really doable for most young folks unless they are already on a large farm to start out with. Other than that, it looks like to me, about the only folks that are getting into cattle are folks that have some age on them, and other incomes and just want to buy some land and cattle.
 

GoWyo

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I know a young couple who started with nothing. In the course of about 10 years they have leased land in two states separated by 400 miles of highway and have a dozen employees. They also just bought a place for their operations base. They run sheep and cattle and know how to run a pencil and calculator and negotiate government regulations. A lot of what they do is custom graze for others, so they don't have to own all the livestock -- they are performing a service doing what they know how to do and can shift to their own livestock as they build up their resources. They have made tremendous sacrifices and drive a lot of miles every year, but they live and breathe their business and I am pretty sure it is going to pay off very well for them.

I know of other folks where the parents are in their 80s and won't let go, their kids are in their 50s and 60s and still aren't in charge and the 3rd generation in their 30s and 40s said to heck with it.
 

Brute 23

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I know a young couple who started with nothing. In the course of about 10 years they have leased land in two states separated by 400 miles of highway and have a dozen employees. They also just bought a place for their operations base. They run sheep and cattle and know how to run a pencil and calculator and negotiate government regulations. A lot of what they do is custom graze for others, so they don't have to own all the livestock -- they are performing a service doing what they know how to do and can shift to their own livestock as they build up their resources. They have made tremendous sacrifices and drive a lot of miles every year, but they live and breathe their business and I am pretty sure it is going to pay off very well for them.

I know of other folks where the parents are in their 80s and won't let go, their kids are in their 50s and 60s and still aren't in charge and the 3rd generation in their 30s and 40s said to heck with it.
There is more to that story.
 

TexasBred

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Partner, I think you need to modify the first part of the second sentence. Should begin, Some, or a Few, at least in these parts. Or all the help wanted signs would stay out forever etc.
I think you need to read Brute’s post again.
 

simme

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Pretty sure this family started from scratch, no family land or money involved as far as I know. The wife is from my county from a hard working good family, but no silver spoons. Started in the mid 90's and now run 1400 cows and sell over 400 bulls per year for a pretty good average. I think their success is about planning, working hard and willing to take some risks. Not about luck or good fortune, although that may have played a role. They have developed some other business interests as well, but those came after the cattle success. For my whole life, I have always heard that young people can't make it in farming if they start with nothing. And that is true for many people, but not for everyone. Any business venture has risk with the possibility of failure, including farming and cattle. I think the successful probably treat it like a business instead of a hobby.

 

greybeard

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In 2020, when I was standing up in front of the County Appraisal District's Board of Directors and the Chief Appraiser, I hammered into them again and again and again, month after month that high land prices and their subsequent high property taxes was one of the biggest barriers to young people in this county not being able to get into agriculture and they needed to drop the minimum acreage down and lessen the restrictions the county places on ag exemptions. Granted, you can't make a full living on small acreage, but a portion of those that get their foot in the door and cattle in their blood will try to expand and grow. If they can't even get a small place, they'll never get it in their blood to even want to get bigger.

We're all getting older. If we don't encourage young people to take our place and get into ag, our food supply will one day be almost totally dependent on foreigners, just as almost everything else already is. For my state, most of the cattle raised and sold come from small farms and small herds. It all adds up.

But go ahead. Encourage them to go get a job in the city and make a bunch of $$ but be ready to explain to your grandchildren and greatgrandchildren why the beef, poultry and pork in their stores comes from Mexico, South and Central America Australia, Canada and eventually, Asia.
 

uplandnut

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Getting young people to farm/ranch is so multifaceted that we all come at it from a different angle, and every perspective is probably right, and some part of the problem. It's the issue that when you add them all up it becomes a issue so large we can barely begin to wrap our mind around the whole situation. Sharp pencil or not nothing has gone down in price, that includes the cost of retirement.
 

KAstocker

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I honestly think the cattle business is a great way to make money and a living, and I am excited about my future in it. Call me selfish, but I like the thought of having little competition. Few young people in the business make it sound like it should be easy to find opportunities in the future. Supply demand economics will make sure the world gets fed.

It is easy to get involved in the business. Lots of people need hired hands. Lots of major ranches needs hands and managers. One problem is many of us want to be owners and are unwilling to move. Being an owner is not really supposed to be easy to get into in any business, especially one that contains 6-7 figures worth of assets.

The only real major barrier to growth I think is finding land to lease.
 

Warren Allison

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No way for anyone to start from scratch, with land prices like they are, taxes like they are, equipment high as it is, fertilizer. IF someone had several hundred thousand dollars to start a cattle farm, they'd be better off to invest it in other ways. Makle their money, and have a few cows, horses etc., as a hobby. I have always bought futures as part of my investments portfolio over the years, and they have done well. Livestock? Horses and cattle? I have never made any real money breeding or raising them. Sometimes I made a little bit training. and, I have always made a little money standing my stallions. But, I have made a lot of money trading....buying and selling.... both horses and cattle. From 5 and 6 figure horses .. 5 figure bulls,.... to 3-figure horses and cows at auctions.

Same thing with hay. I have made a LOT of money buying and selling hay that we don't raise around here and bringing it in..alfalfa, timothy and mixes, than I ever did with my own Bermuda...fertilized to specs and cut 3 or 5 times a year. Maybe a cutting or two...or sometimes a whole year,,,goes by with perfect weather and no equipment tearing up...but overall...nah...no real money made considering the money invested and the TIME!

Have made a little money hauling cattle, and even more hauling horses. But, if a kid asks me about what to get into as far as cattle goes, I tell them to learn how to be a trader...how to buy and sell. The best at it are born with the instinct, but the craft can be learned.

I have had clients that I sold some horses for that brought a million dollars and they made probably $500k off of them. I made my $100k. I have sold out horses and cattle for people losing their farms, or getting out of the business, for a $1mil, that they had $5 mil in, and lost their butts. I made $100k.

Livestock brokers are like Wallstreet stockbrokers... they get paid everytime you buy and sell, even when you sell at a loss.
 

Atimm693

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My perspective (28 years old, been a hired hand/manager since I was 16), there's a lot more fun ways to lose money than cows.

I don't think it's any fault of my generation. Work on making agriculture a little more attainable/profitable, and the rest will fall into place.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't really have any interest in slaving away for crummy wages and no benefits. I'll be out of ag within the next two years. It's not going to give me the kind of life that I want, and I need to be doing whatever will.
 
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