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Becoming a ranch hand

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westernsky

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Hello, I'm a junior in high school (17 years old), I'm determined to achieve my goal of becoming a cattle rancher, its been in my mind for a while now and I think about it everyday. I know a little bit about cattle ranching through reading a lot of books and I know quite a bit about horses. I also volunteer at a horse farm because I love being around animals, and like getting myself dirty, I have a very good work ethic and I try my best in school. I plan on getting a job in the near future at a local cattle farm. I'm reading as much as I can and learning as I go by listening to other people and asking questions. I understand that ranching is a tough lifestyle (cattle come first) and its nothing like any job around my home. But I have the will to do it. Anyway I just want to ask if any ranchers could give me any suggestions or advice on what I should do now and in the future. I'm also looking into agricultural colleges and ranching internships for after high school.

Thanks
 

PATB

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Take as many business classes as possible and attend as many of the different ag related educational events in your area that you can afford.
 

lefty

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I would spend a summer on a ranch & haying crew & part of a calving season . Before I went & invested in an Ag School. Make sure that's what you want first . 1 more thing there are no Sundays west of the Mississippi .
 

kelpies4me

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I can offer you some work at my place- I have sheep, and have a lot of fence work and other livestock related work to do. If you want to learn how to fence, proper care of sheep, and handling, let me know. I am in Rhinebeck NY, and would be happy to have a motivated person who wants a future in agriculture to help toward that goal.
 

R A

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I haven't made it any where yet, have next to no cows and no land, but have the same goal as you! I'm taking the LONG LONG way around though it seems.

I never went to school for any of this or spent any time on a ranch...those things probably would of helped.

I take care of all my needs and everything behind the house on cow money...it's the only money I make. As soon as my cows are payed for, I'll be able to take over the house needs too. My wife works in town as of now. She just as soon not live like this though and it's a daily struggle to say the least....so watch for that....lol. We were pretty much city kids when we got together before this ball started rolling....lol.

Some things that I feel are helping me are....

I got jobs at 3 sale barns...I watched the crews that actually killed and hurt calves by how they sorted and the ones that the cattle seemed real calm while being worked.

I didn't even know how to saddle a horse when I bought my first one after buying my first place, so I learned to ride and break horses and broke horses for people.

I learned to team rope and then ranch rope

I learned to shoe horses

started at the first post ever made on this ranch talk forum and read my way to the present day. I need to do it again.

RFDtv

http://www.workingranchtv.com/ http://wor.magserv.com/cgi-bin/subscribe?qt=new&ot=controlled&Keyed_effort=WC300

http://www.western-horseman.com-sub.biz/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=western%2520horseman&utm_campaign=2011+MDC+-+Cowboy&utm_content=sAXEqlv2K_dc%7cpcrid%7c28716758056%7cpkw%7cwestern%2520horseman%7cpmt%7ce

http://www.eclectic-horseman.com/mercantile/product_info.php?products_id=656

So many books it is hard to list them all....like all these... http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Awestern+horseman+book&keywords=western+horseman+book&ie=UTF8&qid=1389708823

googled everything I could think of and hit youtube everyday typing in everything I could think of that might bring up something neat

studied ranch photo books. example - I have most of these.... http://www.thestoeckleincollection.com/books

Bought cattle and horse vet and health care books. I don't advise it, but I watch the vet do stuff the first time if a book and the internet can't help me feel conifent doing it and then I do it myself the next time it comes up...so far anyway.

learned from all that pops up

BY FAR my most biggest mistake so far was going out and buying almost all cows that weren't going to work for what I want to do. I didn't know what I needed to buy...I jumped in and I guess I have learned from it. I'd say it will have cost me 5 years here of going nowhere herd size wise all said and done.
 

Soapweed

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Read all of Will Jame's books, like Lone Cowboy, Smokey, Home Ranch, Scorpion, Sand, and others. They provided inspiration for one fine gentleman that I know. He hitchhiked out of New York when he was 17, came to the Wild West, and never looked back. He is a fine cowboy, ex rodeo rider, rodeo judge, hunting guide, rancher, great artist, and an all around fine man. He even named his son Will, after Will James. Incidentally I named my own son Will, after Will James.

Where there is a will, there's a way. :wink:
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Soapweed said:
Read all of Will Jame's books, like Lone Cowboy, Smokey, Home Ranch, Scorpion, Sand, and others. They provided inspiration for one fine gentleman that I know. He hitchhiked out of New York when he was 17, came to the Wild West, and never looked back. He is a fine cowboy, ex rodeo rider, rodeo judge, hunting guide, rancher, great artist, and an all around fine man. He even named his son Will, after Will James. Incidentally I named my own son Will, after Will James.

Where there is a will, there's a way. :wink:

Did you know Will James was a Canadian? :D
 

Soapweed

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Soapweed said:
Read all of Will Jame's books, like Lone Cowboy, Smokey, Home Ranch, Scorpion, Sand, and others. They provided inspiration for one fine gentleman that I know. He hitchhiked out of New York when he was 17, came to the Wild West, and never looked back. He is a fine cowboy, ex rodeo rider, rodeo judge, hunting guide, rancher, great artist, and an all around fine man. He even named his son Will, after Will James. Incidentally I named my own son Will, after Will James.

Where there is a will, there's a way. :wink:

Did you know Will James was a Canadian? :D

Yes, and his real name was Ernest Dufault. :)
 

kelpies4me

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Believe it or not, NY state is not all NY city. There is a whole LOT of farm land still in use.
 

mrj

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I know a man who also had that dream as a high school student. He did apprentice on a ranch, and his family bought a ranch, began quite a career in cattle genetics which continues to this day through one of his sons.

I wish you as much success as he had, minus all the controversy!

mrj
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Soapweed said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
Soapweed said:
Read all of Will Jame's books, like Lone Cowboy, Smokey, Home Ranch, Scorpion, Sand, and others. They provided inspiration for one fine gentleman that I know. He hitchhiked out of New York when he was 17, came to the Wild West, and never looked back. He is a fine cowboy, ex rodeo rider, rodeo judge, hunting guide, rancher, great artist, and an all around fine man. He even named his son Will, after Will James. Incidentally I named my own son Will, after Will James.

Where there is a will, there's a way. :wink:

Did you know Will James was a Canadian? :D

Yes, and his real name was Ernest Dufault. :)

He moved from Quebec to Val Marie Saskatchewan to become a cowboy/rancher before going to the US and joining the army. He led quite the life.
 

jodywy

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and if you want to ride every day (and not fence, irrigate or hay) , and get to packhorses in the mountains and sleep in a tent, then pull a camp wagon with a team of saddle horse every day or two to move to new grass. Learn Spanish and get on a big migratory sheep out fit..... most of which run 300-500 head of cows on the side .
 

westernsky

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Thanks for all the great inspiration, I can use all the information I can get my hands on. For more information, Alden, NY has a lot of farming, mostly dairy and horse farms, there's also a lot of corn fields, it kinda reminds me of Iowa or Nebraska in the midwest. Thanks for all the websites, and the book recommendations, right now I'm in the process of reading "Storey's Guide to Raising Beef Cattle", its been very informal. After High School I was thinking on possibly a Ranching Internship. What do you think about internships compared to agricultural colleges or do you think I should do both?
 

mrj

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There are lots of different ways to run a ranch, with success dependent on YOU. The business end of it gets continually more complex, so don't rule out formal ag education yet. It is a very investment heavy, with a low rate of return on that investment business, so just be aware of the real world of ranching while you learn about the day to day work of it if you hope to make a living at it.

Being a rancher also requires a lifelong commitment to learning, as changes continue forever in this business. It isn't a good place for people who hate change and having their plans interrupted daily!

The rewards of personal satisfaction can be awesome, though.

mrj
 

kelpies4me

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It depends on your finances. Internships typically do not pay well. You would do very well looking at the ranch jobs offered out west, and jump in with both boots on. This world moves very fast these days. Get experience and along the way get your education if you still want to do that. The sooner you develop good skills the better.
 

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