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cedardell

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I suppose when the border opens and you Canadians really get geared up you'll produce feeder calves just like you do feeder pigs and then flood them across the border into Cargill's feedlots at under the cost of production. Course you'll be able to do that because of all the subsidies you get.
 

Broke Cowboy

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Cedardell - perhaps you would care to list the subsidies the Canucks get as a total and then indicate how much each producer gets?

Then go to http://www.ewg.org/farm/ and compare? Look up any person in any state to see their grant money.

USDA provided over 131 BILLION dollars in ag subsidies to U.S. operations from 1995 to 2003.

Nebraska more than 7.5 BILLION dollars alone. Montana - more than 3 BILLION. North Dakota - 5.7 BILLION. And the beat goes on.

The Canucks have never received anywhere near this on a per capita average. In fact their government is withdrawing support from the ag community on an ever increasing scale.

Your thoughts are simply a misconception based upon the recent Canuck federal government money to help them survive.

There are very few Canucks who have received enough money to cover their losses.

Lets not drag this completely into the dirt over your words please. Each country uses subsidies to support their ag folks - WTO states Canucks are on the low end. U.S. folks are on the high end, but that may change as the dreaded globalization begins to come into play.

Unfortunately in ag and economics, no country is an island that can withstand the world economy - despite the best efforts of individuals it WILL come. Not my cup of tea but that is the way it will be.

Like it or not - within the next ten years - certainly before many of us are dead in the ground - we will see changes that will hurt ALL North American producers. It will be because of our own inability to adjust, adapt and improvise. Attitudes and thought proceese will have to change - or ALMOST ALL food will be imported. We are close now.

BC
 

Jinglebob

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Broke Cowboy;

If what you say is true, and I'm not saying it isn't, then is there any way for us as producers to stop or change this from happening?

I read a magazine article 15 or 20 years ago that prdicted that if a producer wasn't a "low cost operator" that you would go out of business. I think it has come to pass, more and more, every year.

Business' always try to buy at low cost and sell at high and I don't see any way to change that for us producers. But the cow/calf producer always has the hardest time of doing this because he is at the end of the production line and has no one to force lower costs onto, ie. pasture,bulls, and any other of the production costs.

I'm not whining or complaining about this, just wondering if anyone sees any changes to this scenario.
 

rkaiser

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:) Best way to change this scenerio is to change your own personal business. If you do not want to change anything, you take the Rcalf route, and attempt to keep things the way they are.

There is a lot of food industry business out there. Sure the competition is tough from the mutinationals and we could all simply talk that way and try nothing.

Or you could become involved in some vertically integrated market. These things are happening on both sides of the border, and some are quite successful.

Ranching is a gamble to start with. We at least have the choice of going broke over time in a conventional market that we all assume is inevitible, or take a bit of a chance on something outside the box. Maybe you'll be broke in a couple of years, or maybe you'll thrive. But we all seem to think the conventional way has only one result anyway.
 

Broke Cowboy

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Jinglebob

I wish to heck I had the answers. If I did I would patent it, bottle it, sell it and ranch till I went broke. Be that as it may, I would venture to say there are few on the North American continent that can compete with the cheaper producers of the world. So in turn subsidies become the order of the day.

To a certain extent, I support subsidies - if only to guarantee a food supply. A country that cannot feed itself is always at risk.

But ... The consumer is more and more price concious. Despite all the media and politicians constantly clamouring about how the economy is doing so well - there are remarkably few "average citizens" with a lot of excess coin in their pockets.

As for the cow/calf guy being at the bottom of the totem pole - could not agree more. So, I am all ears if you have the solution. perhaps we could open a bottling plant and get really, really rich? LOL

Randy

You have an honest and valid point - your personal success provides proof in your statement.

But I have some questions for you:

1. If you do not live near a major centre - how would you go about creating the system you presently ave in place?

2. If you do not have enough animals to provide a continous supply of finished animals for market - do you co-op?

3. If you co-op how do you guarantee consitency and quality?

4. If you lived an hours drive from Fairview Alberta or Winnett Montana or Wawa Ontario - how would you go about creating your style of operation?

Any other pointers would be on the mark as far as I am concerned. Please bring 'em on.

Regards

BC
 

Jinglebob

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rkaiser and BC

I can only speak for myself.

My wife and I sold cows to buy the home ranch in the early 90's. We kept the "culls" and ran some share cows. Got into yearlings and did alright the first year, but winter spring of 96/97 kind of kicked our butts. Didn't spend enough on yearlings and too much on operating and had a pretty big note to pay off that fall, when all of the yearlings were sold. Sold what few cows we had built up and went back to share cattle. Took in stockers on a per head basis and made some money so kept with that as we slowly started building a herd again. Stockers were making us money, but we kept building cows as it seemed like it was the thing to do, until a drough came along and hay cost $100 a ton. So we again sold down to just a few and have been taking in stockers. Over all theses years I finally came to realise that what I had to sell was my GRASS and EXPERIENCE. Well, duh! So now I sell my grass in the way that will make me the most money. I've caught some hell from friends and nieghbors who think I'm crazy, lazy or just plain stupid to run cattle as I do. Ever notice that when you do things different from the norm, people are a little scared of you! :lol:

Everytime I try to do what the crowd is doing, I seem to lose money. If it don't pencil, then I don't do it. I run this ranch as a business.

I would love to get into grass finished cattle and sell the meat instead of the calf or yearling or whatever. I am slowly working towards that. If I'm going to get vertical integrated, I want to be at the top and make all the money that the middle man makes. I realise that there is much to be learned and mistakes to be made, but I think there will cowboys and cattle as long as there is land to run them on. I know that I can sell my beef off the ranch and do as good or better than selling them.

I don't like some of the changes that are coming, but feel that I am mature enough to know that the only thing that doesn't change is that everything changes!

Seems funny that I am getting more and more into running cattle as my grandfather did.

So I guess the bottom line is, I'll keep doing what I am doing until I die, or the run me off or it ain't fun no more!

One of my goals is to run this ranch with only one tractor, a pickup and a saddle horse and no operating debt. I've almost got to that point. Hope I can keep on making a living at it and pass it on to the next generation at some point down the road.

If either of you come up with a sure fire plan, just let me know.

PS. I'm getting kind of tired of all the doom and gloom about this business that is being posted on this site. And I know that there are those out there who are really struggling and they have my prayers. Hope things get turned around for them. It's always darkest right before dawn!

Hell, if ranchin' was easy, everybody would be doing it! :lol:
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Jinglebob said:
I read a magazine article 15 or 20 years ago that prdicted that if a producer wasn't a "low cost operator" that you would go out of business. I think it has come to pass, more and more, every year.
[/quote

Jinglebob - You would be safe in saying that you KNOW it has come to pass, not just think it has. It almost makes me think that someone planted the seed in our minds and sat back and watched it take root and develop fruit. If we focus on becoming the low cost operator, that is surely what we will become.

But who is the beneficiary? Surely and obviously not the producer. Only those above the primary producer benefit.

Last week a local agronomist from Cargill made the most foolish statement ever heard around here. He said that if prices fall below a certain level, the cash croppers who rent land should ask the landowner to let him have the land rent-free. Someone asked the question, "Why should the low man on the totem always be the one to give? Why doesn't Cargill donate the crop inputs to the farmer for a change?

Yeah, right.

It's a wonder that someone who promotes stupid and greedy ideas like the Cargill guy made, doesn't find himself swinging from the end of some posse's rope.
 

Tom S

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Jinglebob said:
rkaiser and BC

I can only speak for myself.

My wife and I sold cows to buy the home ranch in the early 90's. We kept the "culls" and ran some share cows. Got into yearlings and did alright the first year, but winter spring of 96/97 kind of kicked our butts. Didn't spend enough on yearlings and too much on operating and had a pretty big note to pay off that fall, when all of the yearlings were sold. Sold what few cows we had built up and went back to share cattle. Took in stockers on a per head basis and made some money so kept with that as we slowly started building a herd again. Stockers were making us money, but we kept building cows as it seemed like it was the thing to do, until a drough came along and hay cost $100 a ton. So we again sold down to just a few and have been taking in stockers. Over all theses years I finally came to realise that what I had to sell was my GRASS and EXPERIENCE. Well, duh! So now I sell my grass in the way that will make me the most money. I've caught some hell from friends and nieghbors who think I'm crazy, lazy or just plain stupid to run cattle as I do. Ever notice that when you do things different from the norm, people are a little scared of you! :lol:

Everytime I try to do what the crowd is doing, I seem to lose money. If it don't pencil, then I don't do it. I run this ranch as a business.

I would love to get into grass finished cattle and sell the meat instead of the calf or yearling or whatever. I am slowly working towards that. If I'm going to get vertical integrated, I want to be at the top and make all the money that the middle man makes. I realise that there is much to be learned and mistakes to be made, but I think there will cowboys and cattle as long as there is land to run them on. I know that I can sell my beef off the ranch and do as good or better than selling them.

I don't like some of the changes that are coming, but feel that I am mature enough to know that the only thing that doesn't change is that everything changes!

Seems funny that I am getting more and more into running cattle as my grandfather did.

So I guess the bottom line is, I'll keep doing what I am doing until I die, or the run me off or it ain't fun no more!

One of my goals is to run this ranch with only one tractor, a pickup and a saddle horse and no operating debt. I've almost got to that point. Hope I can keep on making a living at it and pass it on to the next generation at some point down the road.

If either of you come up with a sure fire plan, just let me know.

PS. I'm getting kind of tired of all the doom and gloom about this business that is being posted on this site. And I know that there are those out there who are really struggling and they have my prayers. Hope things get turned around for them. It's always darkest right before dawn!

Hell, if ranchin' was easy, everybody would be doing it! :lol:


Interesting post Jinglebob.

"Everytime I try to do what the crowd is doing, I seem to lose money." I couldn't agree more! It's good to see somebody post on here that's positive and doing something about it. Kinda fun, isn't it? Good Luck!
 

Jinglebob

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Tom S
Yes, it is kind'a fun. I fully believe that I don't want to do anything that isn't fun, or at least enjoyable. But then, if you go about it right, even fixin' fence can be fun!

You sound as if you might think outside of the box yourself. Have you ever read "The Stockmans Grassfarmers Journal"? Good stories from all over the country. They have a few books with some interesting ideas also. I think you can check it out online. I know they will send a free paper to anyone who asks. I have sent them many names of people who I thought would like and appreciate the paper, and any that subscribed, caused my subscription to be added on to by two monthws, tho' that wasn't the reason I give them the names and addresses. Check it out!
 

Tom S

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Jinglebob said:
Tom S
Yes, it is kind'a fun. I fully believe that I don't want to do anything that isn't fun, or at least enjoyable. But then, if you go about it right, even fixin' fence can be fun!

You sound as if you might think outside of the box yourself. Have you ever read "The Stockmans Grassfarmers Journal"? Good stories from all over the country. They have a few books with some interesting ideas also. I think you can check it out online. I know they will send a free paper to anyone who asks. I have sent them many names of people who I thought would like and appreciate the paper, and any that subscribed, caused my subscription to be added on to by two monthws, tho' that wasn't the reason I give them the names and addresses. Check it out!

Bad news Jinglebob, you don't get your subscription extended, I've been a subscriber for roughly ten or twelve years. :wink:

One way to look at this business instead of vertical integration from the top down, or from the bottom up, is horizontal integration. With horizontal integration a farmer or rancher expands laterally, or sideways, to incorporate personal interests and related aspects to his or her various advantages. Once a farmer or rancher makes the move to focus on the primary goal of pasture improvement, this above the production of beef, they find out that production goes up, herd health improves, and the producers quality of life improves.

Sounds like your taking care of business from the ground up, I think your on the right track. It's working here very well, I don't think I could ever go back to thinking commodity beef. The calves that I do sell at market all get purchased at the high top end by some specialty feeders that sell natural beef. The switch over for selling all of ours direct is flowing smoothly, that is the grass fed , all natural calves we are raising up for slaughter. Our web site will be on line later this year, got to take some green pictures in a few weeks. I just wish I was 20 years younger :?
 

Jinglebob

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I just wish I was 20 years younger :?[/quote]

Me too, but I wouldn't want to go thru' them years again unless I knew what I know now! :lol:

I have been cross fencing and done a slight amoun of MIG and have upped our carrying capacity. Worst thing I have found with running cattle by the head per month is the worry of finding good people to work with, tho' I ain't complaining because so far all the people we've worked with hqave been real good. But i have learned a few things that I didn't know before!
:shock: :lol:

Seems odd to have all these smaller pastures, but I sure don't have ride far to find all of the cattle and the aren't too scattered when you find them! :lol:

Someone was posting on here about fly control and I had been told that if you move your cattle every 5 days or so and move them a half a mile , that you can beat most of the flies. It's seemed to work that way here and we found out by accident.

Another interesting thing I've found out is that so much of conventional wisdom, ie.. you can't do that, it won't work, is wrong. Kind'a fun to prove 'em wrong too! :shock: :lol:

If you get out this way, stop in and I'll just bet we'd have a good visit. Maybe you come out for the big Rally at Sturgis. I'm only about 60 miles from there. Tho' I don't ride a hog! But have some friends who do.
 

Tom S

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Jinglebob said:
If you get out this way, stop in and I'll just bet we'd have a good visit. Maybe you come out for the big Rally at Sturgis. I'm only about 60 miles from there. Tho' I don't ride a hog! But have some friends who do.


Was out your way last summer, but not to the bike rally, was searching for rancher. Didn't find him that time and ended coming home through SD on 212. Who knows, maybe he was at Sturgis. Couldn't find him in the Bison Bar. :roll:

The same goes to you too Jinglebob, if your ever in my territory let me know and stop on by.
 

Jinglebob

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Tom S
Thanks fer the invite. Where are you from the Twin cities? Got a son in the seminary at St Paul and a good friend who lives there too. Also another over east at Hudson, Wis. Never know when I might be passin' thru', tho the thought of driving east of here thru' all them corn and beanfield ain't too appealing! :lol:
 

Tom S

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I'm kinda on the northern edge of the field lands. About 100 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. 35 miles northwest of St Cloud. It's not like the areas you've probobly driven through to get to the Twin Cities. More hills, lakes and trees. Much more diversified here, also one of the biggest livestock and poultry raising areas of the state. I know what you mean about driving through the endless corn and bean fields. They don't really appeal to my either.
 

Jinglebob

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I've got a buddy who goes out there somewhere, to some big music festival, and he rides and patrols on horseback. Guess he had a great time and wanted me to go along, but it don't pay that great for the hours and having to haul horses that far. If it payed better, I would consider it, but then there ain't no young man here to watch things for me now as he got tired of ridin' colts and took up carpentry to pay for his upcoming wedding. Oh well, I'd probably just get a horse screwed upor somethin'!

By the way, my friend has a gal friend at St Cloud who is a veterinarian.
 

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