Looking to get some cattle and get herd started

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Bigtmiller

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Hi,
My name is Tom. I graduated Penn State with a degree in Animal science back in 94. I worked on several cattle ranches and feedlots during the ninities, like TC ranch and Darr Feedlot. Well I got out go the cattle business in 98. I now work for Smithfield foods in the meat business. I really want to get back into cattle again. I now have the financial means to get started, but have several hurdles. My two problems are currently do not have any land, and secondly travel with my current job every week. So, I was thinking of trying the following.

I know several cattle producers in the area. I was thinking of approaching them to see if I could run say 5 to 10 head with their cattle for a fee and weekend help. Does anyone else do this? Is this a good idea? What should the fees be? I want to get back into pure bred Angus again.
My goal is to eventually buy some land either in Iowa or Nebraska. But I figure if I can get started building a small herd now, that would put me further ahead.

what do you think,

Thanks,

Tom
 

bigbull338

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you have got the right idea to get started with cattle.an also provide them with free labor on weekends days off an vacs.you could rent some land an get some1 to watch over your cattle during the week.but that would be to costly.an you would pay out more than youd make on the cattle.an by the way :welcome:
 
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Bigtmiller

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Thanks for the reply. I think I will approach some producers and see about running cattle with theirs. What do you think the cost per head per day would be, if you were allowing someone to run cattle with yours?

Thanks,

This is a great site.

Tom
 

HerefordSire

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Allow me to ask you a friendly question:

What would you rather do.....

(A) Bury $10,000 cash in an airtight sack in a secret location that will retain $9,900 buying power a year later

(B) Buy $10,000 worth of cattle, feed, vacs, meds, fertilizer, etc. that will retain $8,000 buying power a year later
 

bigbull338

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most would charge $1.50 a hd a day more or less.alot depends on the price of feed an if they buy their hay.an at that price you would be going in the hole or barely breaking even.but it could/would be a good learning experance for you.
 
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Bigtmiller

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Thanks for the info bigbull338. Like I said I worked with cattle for some time on some very good ranches. My dad and I even had a small herd of 7 head before I went off to college.

As for the question that was asked.
What would you rather do.....

(A) Bury $10,000 cash in an airtight sack in a secret location that will retain $9,900 buying power a year later

(B) Buy $10,000 worth of cattle, feed, vacs, meds, fertilizer, etc. that will retain $8,000 buying power a year later

If I am doing something I love to do, and enjoy it, I would not care if I invested 10 grand and only had a 100 bucks a year later. Well maybe not that bad, but you get my point. I have a very fast paced high stress job now. I travel accross the country every week. While sitting on planes or in crowded airports, I usually find myself thinking about how great it was working on the ranch, fixing fence, or riding pens in the feedlot. My plan is to set myself up to have a nice herd of cattle and some land by the time I am ready to step out of this fast paced life. I figure 10 years, I can have maybe 75 head, and purchase my own land. Then I can retire from this job and maybe get a nice USDA job or something like that.

Thanks,

Tom
 

HerefordSire

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I agree that would be inexpensive entertainment if all you have to do was watch cattle. I was not counting the labor. If your time is worth $30-40 bucks an hour, and you are out there on a tractor on ice while the wind is blowing in your face and your hands are numb for one hour, then that tractor ride was an opportunity cost of about 50-60 bucks counting the wear an tear. Let me know how inexpensive the entertainment is then. It may be cheaper to buy a yacht and sail around the world if you also like sailing.
 
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Bigtmiller

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I agree most people would just wilt if they did the work that I did back when I worked in a feedlot. I rode pens for 3 winters straight. I love it when people say how fun it would be to ride horses everyday. Not when its 10 below and the Nebraska wind is blowing about 30. We had 15 people to care for 45,000 head. We busted our buts everyday from about 4am for loadouts to 6pm penning new incoming cattle. But man it was fun. So if your trying to scare me with the thought of hard work, you are wasting your time. I know exactly what I am getting into. From fixing fence in February, Castrating 500 calfs in the hot summer sun, Implanting 1200 head a day for 3 weeks straight, to relaxing checking heats and watching the sun set, its all good. Its a better life than I have now. May not make the $$$, but the quality of life is better.

And, sailing is for ...... Never had time for that. Only one thing I like better than farming and that is hunting. Nice thing is, if I get my own land, I also have a place to hunt.
 

SRBeef

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I would take a bit different approach.

First I would focus on finding some land. Pretty soon you may get tired of watching or tring to find "your" cattle in the middle of someone else's herd on someone else's land. And for sure they will not care for your cattle exactly the way you would. Sounds like more stress, not less.

What's the rush on the cattle? Long term the land is more important than the cattle. Then start small on your own place and build from there. Once you find a place then you can start getting it ready, then add the cattle a few head at a time until you get the system you want going. Now may actually be a good time to look around for some farm ground. Everyone is in such a funk over the economy you may be able find a place. jmho.

Best of luck to you.
 
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Bigtmiller

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Thanks for the reply. I am currently looking for land also. but I have to sell my house first also, and that is not really going well. But I have seen some land prices starting to drop a little bit. No hurry to get cattle, but I have an opporutinity with my sons boss. He has about 200 head and with my son working there, it would work for awhile until I found the right place to purchase. But your right, even if I had say 5 head, they would not really feel like my cattle mixed in with all of his cattle. I am also looking at these begging farmer programs. I talked to program director in Iowa today. Seems like it is a good deal. And there are currently some great opportunities in Iowa to get into a good size operation and work with someone to learn the farm.

has anyone here ever got into a program like this?

Thanks,

Tom
 

Brandonm22

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I think you are doing the right thing by researching it and talking to a lot of different people about different opportunities; but I would be very very hesitant about actually jumping into this.
 

Limomike

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BigT.. It seems to me that you definitely have the passion for cattle, and I would say go for it. By talking to others to find out the best route to take is the best thing. If you can find someone to buy a few cattle for now, and share the care; then I think that would be a good deal. Selling your home and finding land are going to be the difficult parts of the equation. Good luck to ya!
 

backhoeboogie

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Everyone starts somewhere. If you are going to do it, it is best to get off to a good start. Keep asking and you'll get the answers you seek.
 

mnmtranching

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Being gone during the week, no need to have your own land now you would need to hire help. Good idea to put a few cattle in with another herd and paying for keep. Seems that most cattle producers have their herd at capacity however.
 

Starting late

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I don't know about your location, but here's how I got started along with several friends of mine. Here in Illinois there are a lot of pastures sitting empty. Farming families went to all grain operations. I run about 30 head of my herd on pasture that I use for FREE. My part is to take care of the fences, keep the weeds down, trim brush, etc. Several friends of mine do the same thing. We all help out the farmers who let us use their pastures as much as we can by mowing roadsides, cleaning up brush around the farm, fixing roads, putting rock in their driveways for them, etc. It is a good deal for everyone involved so long as both parties treat each other right. Maybe you could even offer a side of beef to the farmer for the use of his pasture? It's just a thought, but I've done it. I ended up with FREE pasture and the farmer ended up with someone he can count on to help him take care of the farm instead of letting the barns fall down and the pasture be taken over by brush. Good luck! and welcome to raising cattle again.
 
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Bigtmiller

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Thanks for all the replys. I think I will pursue getting a few head to start with and run them with another herd. I know several grain farmers that have some beef cattle just because they can't farm the pastures. They all let me hunt on their land and in return I give them all kinds of meat products from work - hams, bacon, sausage, etc. So I have a good relationship with them. So they may not charge me to much. As far as land, I will keep my eye open. I am a big follower of Dave Ramsey - he talks about living debt free. By next year my only debt will be my house. So I will be in a great position to go get a great big loan and go into deep debt for the rest of the my life, ha, ha. My plan is to start buying things I need. Like a livestock trailer. I plan on purchasing one this year. I may not need it for awhile, but I figure if I buy things little by little, when I am ready, I will have everything I need, or close to it. My wife loves the idea of living on a farm, but I think she thinks I am slightly nuts for wanting to get back into cattle. Maybe we all are, but I'd rather be crazy and having fun than sane and not.

Thanks,

Tom :cowboy:
 

grubbie

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Don't be suprised if someone counter-offers with running your cows on shares. I would love for someone to offer me this deal. I have lots of grass, lots of hay, and I am currently trying to build my herd numbers up. I wouldn't take cash though. I would rather do it for a share of the calf crop. The extra help would be great too even if it was just part time. Good luck to you.
 
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