Mountains Reign Ranch in Peyton, Colorado

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Can a new start beef cattle business be profitable?

  • Yes, if you are not an idiot.

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  • Yes, it isn't that hard.

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Diamond - W

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We are a small red angus ranch, looking to make a go of it, even though all I hear about the cattle business is that their is no money in it. From feed prices through the roof, pasture unavailable/unaffordable and the meat packers control over pricing, it doesn't sound like a great time to get into this business, but I would love to hear from those that are making it work and what it takes. Because of our small herd size, we are currently planning to keep all cattle through to finish and give a go at farm to table sales. Any and all input is appreciated. Thank you in advance for those willing to weigh in.
 

Rancher

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How many head? Any breeders or simply raising beef? If you have no pasture it's a tough road. If feedlot style you have a good chance doing farm to table as you mentioned. Feel out the customer base in your area. Figure finished price hanging halves and let the buyer slice and dice the meat.
 

Dave

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Where are you located? Farm to table requires a large enough population base to find customers. Don't quit your day job and build the cattle business on the side. That will mean some occasional long days. I know a couple very successful ranchers who started that way.
 

GoWyo

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Cattle are a good way to acquire other stuff you need and be able to expense them on taxes -- tractors, pickups, trailers, chain saws, welder, horses, ATVs, tools, etc. One thing I could never pencil was having to finance land and cattle at the same time. You have to own one or the other debt free and use it to acquire the other. The rest is finding ways to add value to each critter you sell, especially with a small herd. We sell registered angus and it has been tough to break into the business, but after 14 years we have bull buyers dropping in and buying bulls on their way to or from the big sales. The bull calves that become steers and the 1 or 2 heifers that don't breed up sell for a premium as freezer beef we feed out. In addition to research, raising good cattle and good management, it takes a lot of effort at marketing and customer service to do better than commercial prices.
 

Chevy

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No me I get loan on cattle, loan on 15 tractors, horses,Atv, tools, Ford trucks, fences, farms, lawn mower, chainsaw, trailers, farm help, buf herd go big or go home, get big loan in a huge ranch yea that will be good..... loans are your best friend mmmm ok... I got get the pay day loan, them bank loans, house loans, all them loans you can gets, vehicle loans are good too.... than what you need do is get 15 or 20 credit card to buy feed and supplies. Max them out to the full max capacity. That's good pay minimum payments. That's good. That's how you do it. Okay than open your open restaurant that be real good.
 

Chevy

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I mean maybe you could do that if you wanted too... somebody may want too. Maybe talk to a banker or finance person. Or somebody with some college degrees and money. Nobody here knows nothing about none that. If we did we wouldn't be here.
 

wbvs58

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No me I get loan on cattle, loan on 15 tractors, horses,Atv, tools, Ford trucks, fences, farms, lawn mower, chainsaw, trailers, farm help, buf herd go big or go home, get big loan in a huge ranch yea that will be good..... loans are your best friend mmmm ok... I got get the pay day loan, them bank loans, house loans, all them loans you can gets, vehicle loans are good too.... than what you need do is get 15 or 20 credit card to buy feed and supplies. Max them out to the full max capacity. That's good pay minimum payments. That's good. That's how you do it. Okay than open your open restaurant that be real good.
That's a lot of **** Shell.

Ken
 

sstterry

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We are a small red angus ranch, looking to make a go of it, even though all I hear about the cattle business is that their is no money in it. From feed prices through the roof, pasture unavailable/unaffordable and the meat packers control over pricing, it doesn't sound like a great time to get into this business, but I would love to hear from those that are making it work and what it takes. Because of our small herd size, we are currently planning to keep all cattle through to finish and give a go at farm to table sales. Any and all input is appreciated. Thank you in advance for those willing to weigh in.
If you are planning on truly being "farm to table" then make sure you are aware of the USDA requirements as well. Selling a beef or a portion thereof for processing is one thing, selling individual cuts to a consumer or restaurant is much more regulated.
 
OP
Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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How many head? Any breeders or simply raising beef? If you have no pasture it's a tough road. If feedlot style you have a good chance doing farm to table as you mentioned. Feel out the customer base in your area. Figure finished price hanging halves and let the buyer slice and dice the meat.
5 cows (4 bred) and 3 steers right now, but looking to grow in a smart way. My intent is to build the herd through cow calf operation and keep all the way through finishing, keep only good heifers, the rest are beef. I have 80 acres, but have been researching pasture lease to grow herd. I am only 20 miles from Colorado Springs, so there is a substantial and growing market here. Why let the buyer slice and dice, vice packaging?
 
OP
Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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Where are you located? Farm to table requires a large enough population base to find customers. Don't quit your day job and build the cattle business on the side. That will mean some occasional long days. I know a couple very successful ranchers who started that way.
Peyton, CO, just 20 miles east of Colorado Springs. The population is over 400k and growing fast. I already quit my day job, but I have a pension coming in from military retirement, so I can still put food on the table and keep the lights on. I intend to work long days every day, it keeps me young. Thanks for the feedback.
 
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Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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No money in cattle I wouldn't mess with them.
Cattle are a good way to acquire other stuff you need and be able to expense them on taxes -- tractors, pickups, trailers, chain saws, welder, horses, ATVs, tools, etc. One thing I could never pencil was having to finance land and cattle at the same time. You have to own one or the other debt free and use it to acquire the other. The rest is finding ways to add value to each critter you sell, especially with a small herd. We sell registered angus and it has been tough to break into the business, but after 14 years we have bull buyers dropping in and buying bulls on their way to or from the big sales. The bull calves that become steers and the 1 or 2 heifers that don't breed up sell for a premium as freezer beef we feed out. In addition to research, raising good cattle and good management, it takes a lot of effort at marketing and customer service to do better than commercial prices.
Thank you. I have already found multiple uses for the skid steer and other necessary tools of the trade. Do leased land costs exceed any profit potential in the cattle? You recommend registered with good genetics over less expensive cattle? I agree with the marketing and customer service comment, that is the backbone of every successful business. Do you work social media or other platforms?
 
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Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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Welcome.
The cattle business is something you have to enjoy doing.
Concur...raised on cattle ranches in MT, really miss it and love working the cattle I already have. It is the business end of things that will be the challenge. Making a profit and growing will be tough.
 
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Diamond - W

Diamond - W

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If you are planning on truly being "farm to table" then make sure you are aware of the USDA requirements as well. Selling a beef or a portion thereof for processing is one thing, selling individual cuts to a consumer or restaurant is much more regulated.
Good to know and the local butchers have a waiting list for over a year. This is one of those obstacles that will take a little figuring. Thanks for the input.
 
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