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If you had it all to do over again, what would you do?

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pointrider

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I have a friend who likes to have "philosophical arguments." He argued yesterday that, if I asked the question, "If you had it all to do over again, what would you do?," most of you ranchers out there would say you would choose ranching again "because that is all I know." He told me about his uncle who was a rancher in the Abilene, TX area. His uncle said to him one day, "What else would I do? It's all I know." He also said his uncle was never happy being a rancher.

I told him that I expected a large number of you would say that you would choose ranching again "because that is the kind of work that I really love to do, and a person is happiest when he/she is doing the kind of work he or she really loves to do."

But these are just our guesses. How about it? If you had it all to do over again, what would you do?"

We all know that Sandra Day O'Connor has been a member of the Supreme Court for quite a while, and has announced her retirement. And most of us know that she grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. (She wrote a book that was published in 2002. The title is "Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest." Obviously, she chose not to stay on the ranch. She became an attorney and finally a judge on the Supreme Court. There are other choices.

The Business Roundtable coalition is saying these days that the U.S. is falling behind in producing more graduates in math and science. Not only is this going to make it tough for us to compete in a global economy in the future according to them, but they are also saying things like, "Do you want your kids to get a decent job? Do you want them to have a high quality of life and opportunity? Do you want them to live in a good house? Without a renewed U.S. commitment in science and math, even successful students may never get those things because they're going to be operating in a system that's falling behind in the global economy."

The point is, whether you believe the Roundtable or not, there are a lot of good paying fields out there that are in desperate need of good people, and people can choose any field they want pretty much. Also, don't forget that you now know that we have NAFTA and CAFTA and are likely to have a lot more things like that to deal with. So, with all that in mind, once again, if you had it all to do over again, what would you do?

I think this will be very interesting. Ready? GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

HAY MAKER

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All you posted is good information,but some one has to farm and ranch,let it be me,I would'nt change a thing in my life.Like I always said Farming and Ranching may not be the most profitable work a man can do,but it is the most "Honorable"...................good luck
 

greg

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yup i'd stay with ranching its what i love just wish i could make a better living at it :?
 

Tommy

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I am with HayMaker and greg on this. I was raised on a farm and that and ranching is all I want to do. I had to work out off the farm once, and did that untill I could get a start, but had a few cows and farmed some while working.
This is where I want to die. I have told my wife and daughter, I will shoot anyone that tries to take me to town to live out my life.
 

Shelly

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I married into this life and I do honestly love it but.......evenings and weekends off and paid vacation time would be nice! My husband has said if he had the chance to do things over again, he wouldn't farm. He has plenty of experience with heavy equipment, and working up north doing that pays very well. Most families around here encourage their children to get an education, and go on to a better paying job, because there's definitely no money in this business! And alot of them do.
 

whiteface

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Not a chance in hell would I do it over and wish I taken my wise father's advice when he tried to pound it into my head over 20 years ago. Still, I'm proud and stubborn and believe with good management you really can be sucessful with anything (including cows) so my hat is off to people who are involved in cattle and are on their way to, or at the top (yes including maybe or especially the packers. The big ones that survived.)
As far as the lifestyle thing goes...
Wow are so many of you going to hate me for this,
I don't care, you asked my opinion and you'll get it. My father in law is a vice-president for a huge well-known enterprise ( sorry, just can't tell you which one, but it doesn't matter which one ) and he has a lifestyle that has absolutly stopped me in my tracks as far as this whole "lifestyle" b.s goes.
Freedom. Period. comes with haveing a job or an enterprise that makes you money. Cattle largely will not make you money at least not the kind of money some people envy because there are, simply put, places in the world that can and do produce it far cheaper than we in this country will ever be able to do again given wages, property taxes etc. etc. Big business and non-farming civilians that pay the taxes that subsidize the farmers will always have the support of the lawmakers and will always try and keep as much of the profit margin to themselves as they can. That is in a nutshell, the American dream. Freedom. To be as big, great, opinionated, and powerful as you are capable. America supports power and some in the cattle business can be power but by far most will not. If you want wealth and power, cattle won't do it. If you want people to talk to and validate your feelings when nothing goes your way (weather, borders, R-calf, whatever) talk to a farmer. I want more out of life than the cattle are providing however they do provide a few things for me that I have not been able to replace - yet and thus will keep them for a while still. But the whole lifestyle thing...
I know I'll get shot at for this but like I said, I don't really care. I have found other products other than live cattle or beef that keep up with inflation and provide me a reliable income for my family, allow me to go on vactation have stopped me from watching the sky constantly (for rain or black helicopters) and the lifestyle...
Nice to be able to have more than $12.00 in my pocket at any given time and know that more is in fact going to come regardless of whether or not the border opens or the rain comes or the crop doesn't get eaten by grasshoppers.
Lifestyle. My father in law has a pretty damn nice lifestyle and doesn't own a single cow that isn't cut, wrapped and frozen.
Been a real eye opener for me.
Like Haymaker said though, somebody has to farm, might as well be me.
I think no truer words were ever spoken. I just don't think it will be me but I am very glad that at least for a while I did and I still do have cows. Some of the people I have met along the way are priceless and I wouldn't have met them if I didn't have the cattle. Everything I learn makes me a better person and I have learned much with these cows...
Like maybe what I don't want to do.
Just my opinion, and what works for me. Not running down farmers. I love a good steak and fresh vegetables. But I also love my money and a steady supply of it which cows have a tough time comeing up with.
It's an awesome question by the way and funny enough, I was talking just yesterday with someone from this forum in person on this very same subject. That's amazing that you would come right out and ask that today.
Have a good day all.
 

YoungFarmer

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If I could do it again, I would not have done it. Too much work for too litle pay. Return on CAPITAL is too low. Farming must be the most subsidized and screwed up market. Farmers bid up land prices between themselves beyond their productive value. Farmers are price takers and how am I going to compete with someone producing cattle in
south America. If you cant beat them, Join them. I think I will salvage my capital and become a "farmer" of Tyson, JohnDeer, and Monsanto. It would be a lot less work watching ownership of these stocks on my computer screen. Hard to Justify working a full time job and coming home to work on the farm in the evenings and weekends. I think I would rather be at the lake or on the golf course. Finally thier are to many good paying jobs for university grads in Agriculture. Perhaps the next time I post it will be from the beach drinking a beverage next summer. (now its time to go cut hay as long as I can keep my eyes open.)
 
A

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First for the answer to Pointriders question. Yes I would do it again. I like the variability of the work days, the (sometimes) freedom, the interesting people that make the industry what it is, and the limitless angles of searching ways to make a buck. I spend some time everyday thinking about what would be the breakeven of so and so, or what if we did this a little differently than last time. I have been accused of going to bed with a calculator in my hand. Then there is no better place for my kids to grow up than on a ranch. Of course some days, or years even, are very trying, but it is all worth it.

I think one thing that most ranchers accept is that ranching is their lifestyle. If you choose to spend part of your day with the kids, or time on the computer surfing around in the middle of some day you can do so. A problem I have is that I have no real hobbies. Hunting is not much fun, or a lot of things that my town friends enjoy. Maybe when there is some time, I just like to relax when I am able. :D

I want to point out to Whiteface that there are a lot of very powerful people in agriculture. A man that I admire for what he has built on his own is Pat Goggins. From what I understand he started with about nothing, and look what an empire he has built up. He treats everthing as the business that it is, and seems to include his rather large family to get things done. I didn't say I agree with him as much as I used to, but that doesn't change the fact of what he has accomplished. Another example is JR Simplot. He is the Potato Buds guy. He started from scratch, and now has ranches that run on millions of acres and one of the largest feeding concerns in the NW US. How about Mr. Tyson? I am sure he got where he is from hard work. I admire the folks that get things done in the world, and make things happen. :!: I can think of a few here in our county that are worth a pile of money, and started with rather humble beginings.
 

Northern Rancher

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My accountants boy spends alot of time out here and told his mom-who is a bit high toned-that he'd like to be a rancher. Well she 'informed' me that she planned on him being much more than a cowboy. I told her there were a heck of alot more accountants that wished they were cowboys than vice versa. When I go guiding in the fall I deal with alot of rich people-you sure find out there's more to life than money. That said it's not written in stone that ranching can't be profitable-there's alot of ways to skin a cat. I wouldn't change what I do for anything-I've made friends throughout the U.S and Canada in the cattle business-got to spend thousands of hours with my kids as they are growing up-over the years we've taylored our operation to fit our lifestyle-no calving during hockey season,no haying during lake season-done a'i'ing before bow hunting season etc. etc. Are any of my four kids going to ranch-that is their decision but it looks promising. Has it all been smooth sailing-well ten dry years-then BSE have definately caused some anguish but not any more so than many city people encounter. Most people work all their life to do what they want for a few weeks a year-I do what I want every day.
 

whiteface

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My husband too, Jake, goes to bed with a calculator in his hand. Or just smoke spewing out his ears from all the calculating going on in his head. It's a good thing, something I definatly admire about the way he demands that his life turns a profit or why are we doing it? Fun? He has fun, on the lake with all his ostentatious lake toys that no way could we afford without "turning a profit" on the other things...
Really wasn't being condescending Jake and yes, I think I did post that there are definatly some in Agriculture that got quite powerful. I do agree it can happen, but I also think that those same principles applied by the guys that attained power in agriculture could have just as likely or even much more easily accomplished the same position of power in non-agricultural ventures. There are just nuts out there like my husband and my father in law and apparantly you Jake that don't sleep just calculate figures. Those guys attain sucess I think because they have the formula and work ethic. Nothing to do or not to do with cattle. Have a good night all!
 

CattleCo

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"If I could do it again, I would not have done it. Too much work for too litle pay. Return on CAPITAL is too low. Farming must be the most subsidized and screwed up market. Farmers bid up land prices between themselves beyond their productive value. Farmers are price takers and how am I going to compete with someone producing cattle in
south America. If you cant beat them, Join them"

I would agree with "Young Farmer"! I had to make a choice to pursue a racing career or go rodeo. I chose the later. After college I got hurt at a RCA ROdeo in Freedom Hall-Louisville, KY. I was never able to come back. I took over the family farm. BIG MISTAKE! Rode the 80's out and never lost an acre. During that time mid 80's had a wife involved in a major automobile accident and a son born with major heart problems. The Agriculture crises of the 80's was mild compared to the other issues my family dealt with. I finally got out of doing the actual field work in the mid 90's. My biggest regret is turning down a job Ray Winter offered me when I graduated from college. The only way I would encourage any young person to become involved in production agriculture is this MARRY IN ( provided she has no brothers) or take over the family operation DEBT FREE!!!!!!! If you can't do that RUN LIKE HELL!
 

rkaiser

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:shock: Even though I am happily married, I just love the sight and sound, and feel of a beautiful women. SOOOO If I had to do it all over again, I would have looked after myself a bit better right off the bat, had a few alterations done if necessary and become a gigalo. To hell with money and fame and all that stuff. :shock:
 

Big Muddy rancher

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rkaiser said:
:shock: Even though I am happily married, I just love the sight and sound, and feel of a beautiful women. SOOOO If I had to do it all over again, I would have looked after myself a bit better right off the bat, had a few alterations done if necessary and become a gigalo. To hell with money and fame and all that stuff. :shock:


Randy if anyone else had of said that I would have said that Haymaker thought your were already a "PACKER GIGALO" :wink:
 

Border rancher

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Hi, I don't know if I would choose to be a rancher now or not. When I committed to this way of life I was very young and hadn't had time to look and see what else was available, you know, one of those kids who "fell into" ranching because of my father's poor health. Now I am too old and tired to change.

I do think the thing that bothers me the most, and most other ranchers/farmers in my age group is the change in attitude toward people in our profession. (It is a profession, maybe we didn't attend a formal university but we learned a much harder way, by experience)

When I was young and still in school, I was taught the food production was an honorable and valuable contribution to my country. Now that attitude has changed. Mant urban dwellers don't even think about food production. There is always lots of food in the stores, food that can be imported more cheaply the we can provide it here. They think of us as a "bunch of whiners", waiting for the next taxpayer funded payout.

Maybe I should check out the beds available in the Seniors facility and take life easy for a while, they have lots of food from somewhere to eat at those institutions too!
 

pointrider

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Wow! I was right for a change. Your answers have, indeed, been very interesting! Some of you would do it again, and some of you would not. But I don't think anyone said, "because it's all I know." Most of us know that we can learn almost anything (including a new job) if we just put our mind to it. That's really not the point.

Perhaps someone is thinking (since we can't go back), "I'm too old to start something else now," or "I've got too much invested in this industry now in terms of education, money, etc., to change everything now." But I'm not so sure that even those arguments are absolutely valid. People who have done something for many years would probably make good consultants, and the consulting industry is growing. And someone who had the capacity to learn and get a college degree, etc., has certainly got the capacity to learn new things and add them to the mix.

I would hope that most of you reading this do what you do because you really love it so you can be happy. Have you heard Ian Tyson's song about Tom Blasingame? "85 years in the saddle. 85 years of looking at the world through a cowhorse's ears. If I understand (that a man's true joy is in the work that a man likes to do), Tom's a right joyous man, and Tom, here's looking at you! (because we all wish we could have that same feeling)."

Good luck, folks! Be happy!
 

Big Muddy rancher

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My high school year book said I "Wanted to ranch" . About 20 years later I ran into a fellow that I went to school with and he said your the only one doing what they said they would do. It's all I really wanted to do and about all I have done. But in ranching I have ran machinery, trucked bought cattle, emplyed people but not many as it's less stress to do it yourself. That is probably why I haven't bought more land as I like the physical part of doing it myself and not the mental part of paper work and managing people that don't think for them selves.
 

ranchwife

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rkaiser said:
:shock: Even though I am happily married, I just love the sight and sound, and feel of a beautiful women. SOOOO If I had to do it all over again, I would have looked after myself a bit better right off the bat, had a few alterations done if necessary and become a gigalo. To hell with money and fame and all that stuff. :shock:

TOO FUNNY!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: sounds like something my dad (born and raised farmer from nw north dakota) would say!!!!
As for your question, Pointrider......i, like shelly, married into ranch life and have grown quite fond of this way...yes, i too like paid vacations and DEPENDABLE paychecks (this is one of the reasons i am still a nurse :wink: ).....the hubby was born and raised on this place and was offered a full-ride football scholarship out of high school and turned it down....WHY??? he states "all i ever wanted was this ranch and the cowboy way of life...what would college have taught me that i do not already know??"
 

Denny

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ranchwife said:
rkaiser said:
:shock: Even though I am happily married, I just love the sight and sound, and feel of a beautiful women. SOOOO If I had to do it all over again, I would have looked after myself a bit better right off the bat, had a few alterations done if necessary and become a gigalo. To hell with money and fame and all that stuff. :shock:

TOO FUNNY!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: sounds like something my dad (born and raised farmer from nw north dakota) would say!!!!
As for your question, Pointrider......i, like shelly, married into ranch life and have grown quite fond of this way...yes, i too like paid vacations and DEPENDABLE paychecks (this is one of the reasons i am still a nurse :wink: ).....the hubby was born and raised on this place and was offered a full-ride football scholarship out of high school and turned it down....WHY??? he states "all i ever wanted was this ranch and the cowboy way of life...what would college have taught me that i do not already know??"


Could have learned how to drink BEER FROM A FUNNEL....
 

nr

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pointrider said:
Wow! I was right for a change. Your answers have, indeed, been very interesting! Some of you would do it again, and some of you would not. But I don't think anyone said, "because it's all I know." Most of us know that we can learn almost anything (including a new job) if we just put our mind to it. That's really not the point.

Perhaps someone is thinking (since we can't go back), "I'm too old to start something else now," or "I've got too much invested in this industry now in terms of education, money, etc., to change everything now." But I'm not so sure that even those arguments are absolutely valid. People who have done something for many years would probably make good consultants, and the consulting industry is growing. And someone who had the capacity to learn and get a college degree, etc., has certainly got the capacity to learn new things and add them to the mix.

I would hope that most of you reading this do what you do because you really love it so you can be happy. Have you heard Ian Tyson's song about Tom Blasingame? "85 years in the saddle. 85 years of looking at the world through a cowhorse's ears. If I understand (that a man's true joy is in the work that a man likes to do), Tom's a right joyous man, and Tom, here's looking at you! (because we all wish we could have that same feeling)."

Good luck, folks! Be happy!

Would you agree that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to finding an occupation one is happy with (any occupation, not just ranching) is fear? Fear of trying something new. Fear of change. Fear of checking something new out in case it might be better and would demand changing?
The older I get the more I see how fear is often the deciding factor in youngsters' choices. And in adults' choices. I have to double-check myself when I turn down some opportunity: Now did I say "no" because it was a rediculous and inappropriate idea? Or did I say "no" because I was a scaredy cat?
 

ranchwife

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Denny said:
ranchwife said:
rkaiser said:
:shock: Even though I am happily married, I just love the sight and sound, and feel of a beautiful women. SOOOO If I had to do it all over again, I would have looked after myself a bit better right off the bat, had a few alterations done if necessary and become a gigalo. To hell with money and fame and all that stuff. :shock:

TOO FUNNY!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: sounds like something my dad (born and raised farmer from nw north dakota) would say!!!!
As for your question, Pointrider......i, like shelly, married into ranch life and have grown quite fond of this way...yes, i too like paid vacations and DEPENDABLE paychecks (this is one of the reasons i am still a nurse :wink: ).....the hubby was born and raised on this place and was offered a full-ride football scholarship out of high school and turned it down....WHY??? he states "all i ever wanted was this ranch and the cowboy way of life...what would college have taught me that i do not already know??"


Could have learned how to drink BEER FROM A FUNNEL....

He learned that in high school.....it was one of the required courses to graduate!!! Funnel Guzzle 101 :D :D
 

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