Do you love being outdoors? Working with your hands? Or maybe you see immense opportunity to expand in the farming sector?
Well, cattle farming may be the perfect career for you. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a rewarding one.
Not only does cattle farming allow you to provide your family with healthy, organic beef – that you know the source of – it also allows you to grow a business, even if you aren’t savvy in math, engineering, or technology. Farming is one of the most economically stable industries you can get into today.
Because no matter what the circumstances look like, people have to eat to survive.
Now changing climate conditions, and federal or state regulations can affect profitability, but in the end – if you have quality farm products to sell, you’ll remain in business.
But what if you weren’t raised on a farm?
Or even worse, maybe you were raised in a concrete jungle and don’t have a green thumb to work with?
That’s perfectly alright.
If you have loads of passion for the outdoors, and a vision for the farm lifestyle, you’ll get the hang of running your own farm or ranch very quickly.
While a love for the job goes a long way, you also need resources (or money) to get started. Like any industry, it’s very difficult to start from zero, but if you have a tiny bit of capital, land, or ingenuity, then in a short time you’ll be up and running at full capacity.
If this sounds like something you have an interest in, but little to no experience, then keep on reading. Let this article show you how to reel in funds and work your way to success from scratch in the modern farming sector.
Aside from land, you’ll need supplies, equipment, and a startup kitty to take care of operational expenses.
That can be too much to shoulder for a single person so you should consider partnering with friends or family to split the bills and responsibilities in the beginning. Preferably, find someone with not only resources, but also experience in either gardening, caring for animals, dietetics, construction or some kind of physical labor task federal regulations, or someone who is in politics. I’ll get to that in a second…
Location is pivotal in farming, and for cattle rearing.
You’ll need to think about pasture land with an accommodative climate, that’s not terribly far from your distribution partners and is also affordable/workable for you and your family.
Understanding the climate is essential for the type of cattle breed you aim to keep. Additionally, the climate can affect everything from the taste of the beef to the temperament and reproductive success of your cattle. Just like different races and cultures of humans prefer different climates to maximize their life experience – so do different breeds of cattle.
You should also keep in mind aspects such as topography, seasonal fluctuations, and the inclination of the local market.
If you’re selling something to a primarily Hindu-vegetarian population, you might want to focus more on the plants and vegetation you plan to sell – rather than different types of beef cattle. Alternatively, if there aren’t many types of beef available (because the population is Hindu-vegetarian), you might distinguish your farm as the “top beef producer in the region.”
This differentiation requires some research.
A cattle ranch is like any other business, and as with any good enterprise, a business plan could help you remain focused on the end objectives you originally set out to accomplish.
Be sure to get a feel of your overhead and expenses early on. Of course, make room for unplanned expenses because almost every business has them.
Also budget for delivering good customer service and quality control. Occasionally, you may have to give something away from free, try running an ad in a local magazine, or purchasing something nice to encourage your workers.
Consider costs such as animal feeds, animal care, equipment money, and staff salaries if you’re planning a large-scale farming enterprise.
Outline your liabilities and assets. Then estimate your income for the year to make out your profit margins. This isn’t something you’ll need to do every year, and it may not even be accurate. However, it better to overbudget and over plan than to come up short at the end of the year.
Unlike many modern businesses, farms are hard to sell, and farming is tough to get out of.
First off, most farmers live with their families on the farm. Your spouse may also be employed by the farm, and changing residence is difficult enough on its own.
Then there’s the upkeep while trying to sell the farm. Most farmers pass down the farm to their children or grandchildren for this reason.
If you want to relocate and change careers, it may be very difficult to make this transition while still working on your farm every day to keep the income steady and animals, healthy.
Aside from helping you with planning, a comprehensive business plan can attract the attention of local investors or aid the cause of getting a grant or loan.
Partnering with a politician might sound like an unconventional idea.
And it is. However, farm lobbyists can do a lot of good or a lot of damage to the farming community. If you partner with someone who “plays both sides of the fence” there will be an incentive for them to use their own leverage and contacts to work things out favorably for your joint venture.
So much revenue is lost due to federal/state regulations, and climate issues.
If you know about changes in legality early on, you may be able to steer clear of the trouble that lies ahead for your competitors.
Politicians are often trained in business negotiations, sales, and the law. Thus, a politician can also vouch for your farm if there’s a local emergency or natural disaster, and help you navigate through getting the greatest benefit from your insurance, real estate, and other tricky legal processes that might arise.
If you’ve already got a golden egg, and just need a few thousand dollars to get your farm fully operational, agricultural loans and grants are the way to go. These are your primary options for funding your farm start-up.
Grants can be a bit difficult to secure, as they often require you to meet very specific criteria.
For example, you may get a grant if you showcase how you’d like to channel part of your land for solar power production. However, you may need to have purchased the solar equipment in order to prove this. It’s a catch 22 for a farmer that needs more funding.
Nonetheless, you should try your luck if you fit the bill for any local or federal grants.
The institutions responsible for dishing these out often have excess funding at the end of the year because so few farmers apply.
There are several grants you could apply for via the USDA and other non-governmental institutions that litter the internet.
You may also seek out a loan from a financial institution. If you are deep in debt though, it’s advisable to wait until you pay those old debts off before taking out a loan. This will leave room for potential farm emergencies where you need to take a loan.
Offering a detailed repayment plan can increase your chances of a positive response to your application. Therefore, it can’t hurt to have a clear business plan at the ready.
Additionally, you can create a crowdfunding page and rally up your family and friends to donate. These, however, rarely cover the entire expense of the operation. You’ll need to show your supporters that you’ve got skin in the game. Prove that you are equally invested in the success of your farm operation by saving up capital as well, and they’re even more likely to donate to the cause.
Once you get going, there are several ways to expand the profitability of your operation.
Selling farm tours, making children’s birthday party appearances by way of a petting zoo, promoting “pick-your-own-produce” events, and offering hayrides in the fall can bring in additional revenue. Also, grabbing a booth at a local weekend farmer’s market can expand local awareness about the farm.
Complementary programs such as these don’t bring in a ton of money, but they can significantly cushion your operational expenses.
Further, they may help you to qualify for additional grants and benefits. Especially if you bring your animals to a local children’s hospital and offer a “free” petting zoo. Things like this may attract media attention, and additional opportunities to capitalize on.
Cattle farming is not as difficult as it sounds.
The key to success lies in starting small. Always do your homework, and a never lose the eagerness to further your hands-on knowledge.
Finding a partner with a completely different skill set is one useful strategy.
While finding a mentor who has mastered a similar skill set is another, equally valid way to go.
The early stages require dedication and sacrifice. Like any business, you need to work all through the week for the first couple of months. Really put the time in, and your operation will be well worth it in the long run. The faster you get the first 10,000 farming hours in, the quicker your operation becomes an enterprise.
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