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Always been my dream of becoming a rancher, what should I (20M) do now to make it come true?

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ATL4

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I’m soon to graduate from college with a degree in construction management, which I had for so long thought would be good for me. Recently I’ve decided that’s not something I really want to do, in part due to family/business (related to my father’s owned medium size construction company) events and partially due to just not enjoying the construction field. I enjoying working hard, enjoy working early early mornings (4-4:30) and even late nights (9:30-10:00), but I just don’t enjoy the content of the work. I really and have always really wanted to go into working with cattle but have been discouraged by family who’ve said I can’t make a living with cattle. We grew up with a small 25-head hobby cattle farm, so I know what it’s like to an extent, and I do enjoy it, but I’m not sure how to turn my small scale passion into a large scale dream career. Any advice or tips?
 

leanin' H

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So now here’s my serious answer. It’s tough. You may want to reconsider walking away from the construction company. Because then you could invest over time and build your ag operations slowly. If you have a small base now, it depends on lots of factors as to how quickly you can go from hobby to stand alone operation, I.e. land prices and availability, machinery costs, need for hay, etc. in today’s world, without inheritance, it’s extremely difficult to start at scratch and go without an income to keep you afloat. Now if you can convince a banker to bankroll you with little or no capital, then I’d like you to send me his number. 😁
 

jodywy

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Back in college, at the Ag college, it was said to get a ranch, it was Womb, Tomb or Ring. But I know some young guys that got a base property and put together a migratory sheep outfit, wintering on desert BLM and summering on mountain Forest Service land. They did not get to town much because basely they lived with and herd the sheep. Know another young man that built up a herd of cows and equipment and rents every acre and blade of grass he can.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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Cattle Ranching and Construction
Grandmotherly advice from MC

Ranching is all about construction
Rebuilding after unexpected destruction
I'm telling you straight, this ain't an assumption

If you want to answer the cattle call
And be in it successfully for the long haul
And roll with the punches and take a fall

Then construction you must embrace
Building with pride not falling in disgrace
And build fences with strength and brace

Build a barn and bull strong corral
Then better listen to me young pal
I ain't your mama but I know how

And all it takes on a ranch with a cow
And that more profit is made with a sow
Or egg-laying feathered cackling fowl

But the romance and lure of the cattle
Has dawn many young men into battle
Thinking ranching was done from the saddle

Our leanin H is hardworking, kind, and nice
But kindly disregard his fatherly advice
Don't marry that rich ranch sugar and spice

She won't be worth a durn working ranch
She will be at the bank withdrawal branch
She will never make a rancher, nary a chance

I ain't your mother, not even your granny
If I was your mama I would swat you on the fanny
For dreaming about cows instead of a nanny

Your mama did listen to Waylon about the cowboy
And did you a favor encouraging the construction toy
So embrace that inherited gift and live life with joy

You see ranching doesn't offer a weekly paycheck
With bennies up the wazoo and time off to heck
No evening relaxing with margaritas on the deck

One has to learn to appreciate the country gifts of life
And ignore all the world's relentless hate, war, and strife
And best ignore H and marry a poor ranch girl for a wife

Find a gal that loves construction and wearing a hardhat
Or maybe a ball cap, a worn flat brim while killing barn rat
One that's sassy and determined with a herd dog and cat

One that can run the swather and all day the hayfield mow
Not one out shopping with the girls and drinking a $5 old Joe
One that can handle a horse or a quad or knead the dough

Now, let's focus on you, you seem to have spunk and drive
Do you have what it takes for a cattle rancher to survive
How long can you tread water and stay alive

So you survive the deluge of disaster the unexpected flood
Just to get buried in a quagmire of bottomless mud
Pumpkin is our new friend and UK ranching bud

And she will tell you how such can suck the boots off your feet
While you are standing opening the gate, I don't mean to repeat
But just make you aware so you don't give up in defeat

Now old Webbie advises considering land that is leased
As a place to get started grazing your beast
Leases are a good ground-level option, to say the least

Jody talks of lots of sheep and all that wool
But since you indicated cows, calves, and a bull
Not wooly or dairy with a proverbial milk stool

I won't talk about the trials and tribulations of fleece
But a cold icy ground and zerks that need grease
The only time you look up and see migrating geese

Dos Arroyos has good advice in his word
About working on a vast cattle ranch with a herd
While your own enterprise for a later date deferred

What location asked old Alaska
Texas, Wyoming, or Nebraska
Where do you plan this fiasca

If cattle ranching was viable for me today
I would be doing it instead of walking the road by the hay
And writing all this nonsense and wasting my day

I am not suggesting you give up in defeat
But rather consider, then rinse and repeat
Then consider again so you land on your feet
 
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vaquero

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location is important no doubt, you need to live in good grass country with lease or purchase opportunities and there is a a lot of places in the west where that situation does not exist

owning a lot of good land and/or permanent leases is the only way youll ever get anywhere ranching imo.

go get a really high paying job (think big i dont mean 100k a year) and make a lot of money and marry well and buy up a pile of land and then after that see what you can do with cows thats my advice
 

webfoot

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One thing is there always has been and always will be people who will say it can't be done. I worked for a man in the 80's who everyone told it couldn't be done. That was in the early 50's when he started. He worked night shift at a sawmill and ranched during the day when getting started. It didn't happen over night but he sure built up a good size ranch. A man I went to college with in 1970 started with nothing. He delivered fuel and his wife taught school. They built a good size place. I quit the fuel truck years ago but his wife kept teaching because she wanted to do that. A man living near me started with nothing but a work ethic. He is about 50 now. Leased a small place to start. Leased everything that came up. Worked hard at anyway to make a buck getting started. Knows how to push a pencil. Now he has a lot of land both leased and deeded. And cows to fill up the pastures. Don't get in the mind set that you need 300-400 mother cows to be a rancher. There are most certainly other ways to make money (a living ) with cows other than a cow/calf operation.
 

Alaska-Rancher

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One thing is there always has been and always will be people who will say it can't be done. I worked for a man in the 80's who everyone told it couldn't be done. That was in the early 50's when he started. He worked night shift at a sawmill and ranched during the day when getting started. It didn't happen over night but he sure built up a good size ranch. A man I went to college with in 1970 started with nothing. He delivered fuel and his wife taught school. They built a good size place. I quit the fuel truck years ago but his wife kept teaching because she wanted to do that. A man living near me started with nothing but a work ethic. He is about 50 now. Leased a small place to start. Leased everything that came up. Worked hard at anyway to make a buck getting started. Knows how to push a pencil. Now he has a lot of land both leased and deeded. And cows to fill up the pastures. Don't get in the mind set that you need 300-400 mother cows to be a rancher. There are most certainly other ways to make money (a living ) with cows other than a cow/calf operation.
100% true, I started up without a car or a road to my place 60yrs ago
 

leanin' H

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One thing is there always has been and always will be people who will say it can't be done. I worked for a man in the 80's who everyone told it couldn't be done. That was in the early 50's when he started. He worked night shift at a sawmill and ranched during the day when getting started. It didn't happen over night but he sure built up a good size ranch. A man I went to college with in 1970 started with nothing. He delivered fuel and his wife taught school. They built a good size place. I quit the fuel truck years ago but his wife kept teaching because she wanted to do that. A man living near me started with nothing but a work ethic. He is about 50 now. Leased a small place to start. Leased everything that came up. Worked hard at anyway to make a buck getting started. Knows how to push a pencil. Now he has a lot of land both leased and deeded. And cows to fill up the pastures. Don't get in the mind set that you need 300-400 mother cows to be a rancher. There are most certainly other ways to make money (a living ) with cows other than a cow/calf operation.
I agree. I wasn’t handed anything. I’ve bought everything I own since me and Angie got married. I lease as much ground as I can and just keep working to put together as much as I can. It’s all about the “Want To”!!!
 

Faster horses

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We too had nothing in 1964 except for a bill for a baby who was a premie and in the hospital for 2 months.
We got some breaks, but we worked hard, both of us. I sold milk and eggs. Had a milk and egg route where I delivered to customers in town. That mean milking a cow...and having chickens. The first cows we ever bought were 5 heifer calves we paid $150 each for. Mr FH laid awake at night worried about how we were going to pay for them. The ranch where we worked offered us a lease...we could run some cows and see how we got along. Soon we got to lease the whole place and it was a good place. We raised a lot of hay. We were there for 8 years and loved every minute of it. We'd still be there except...life throws you a curve ball.
 

Evans

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It seems like most are either born, married,inherited into it. That or they are lawyers, oil and gas guys who just bought an outfit because they think they are cow man or something.
I truly believe if you have enough heart and desire for it and if you dont give up and keep working towards it that little by little you can make it happen.
The real thing might not be what you think it is.
 

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