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

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Maple Leaf Angus

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nr said:
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?



Would you be referring to the "fear" that would sit me bolt upright in bed at night when I decided to go to college at the age of 47? After not finishing high school?

But I did it and now if I think about quitting, the same fear hits me! :lol:

It would have been easiest to not go. But I did. And I love it. In 1-1/2 years, I'll finish my B.A. in counselling and then move on to the next step in hanging out my shingle for an occupation that hopefully will be centered around corporate mediation or counselling. So I am beginning to get a glimpse of what I want to do.

Not that the farm life was all bad. I don't think that I would have gone into farming though if it wouldn't have been dumped on me at a young age. You know the setting: last kid at home, who else is left to take Mom and Dad's place.

However,no better place to raise a family, if you discount the lack of money, return on investment . . . the pressure and frustration that comes from too high a level of expectation and performance with too little reward.

I have always said that people eat cheap because farmers love to farm. It is a way of life that gets into your blood and makes you keep on going no matter what.

Well, almost anyway. . . . . .
 

rkaiser

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Good for you Maple Leaf. I went back to college myself at 34. Had a divorce and decided it may be time to change a whole bunch of things. Pyshc class was fun as most of my class mates were nursing students. Hard on the neck however. After my second term though, I met an instructor in the hall and he asked me "what are you doing here". He meant right there, right now. I replied "Learning about life, and learning that I really belong on my little ranch".

I don't regret it. I love the cattle, and the out doors. I've moved a few times trying to juggle the "find enough cash do do this" with some real estate ventures. Looks like the next move will do it for me. 44 years old, and I should be able to now live where I next move to for a lot of years and my little established purbred cattle market should more than sustain my wife and my needs.
 

Clarence

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To be honest, I really don't know. I enjoy the outdoor, and I like to work outdoors, well most of the time anyway. It seems when you are outside you are more with it. I like working with cattle. I like to see things growing, I like to make hay, and to feed it in the winter.

Even so, circumstances had a lot to do with my becoming a farmer and rancher. I am the oldest in my family, and the only one still in the business. While I suppose that my brothers and sister would not agree, I felt that I had the responsibility of holding things together. My father was a hard worker, while he did not always have perfect health, in his prime, he could probably work circles arround me even in my best days. Still he could not have kept things together without help from the family. My brothers and sister did their share, but still it seems that myself and my youngest brother were the ones who provided the stability.

When I look back at the previous generations of my family I sometimes wonder why they came to America and became farmers. My great Grandfather on my mothers side was a bricklayer, and construction contracter in Baveria. It seems he was quite well off there, he sent his children to private school, and from the little of his writing that we have it seems he felt he took his wife away from more comfortable living conditions here than she had there. I think the idea of land ownership, and the opportunity to produce food, offers some sense of stability. His years in business in Germany would have been from about 1869 untill 1883. These were years of war and unstable governments.

When I started in business, if I had made a mission statement, I would have said that I wanted to help provide food for a starving world. While there is still much hunger in the world, few people in the US see that. We are to far removed from the days when hunger existed here. With todays welfare and entitlement programs, few people if they have a sensable life- stile need to go hungry.
 

mrj

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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??"

{ranchwife, I know a young "cowboy kid" who, when asked by his uncle, "what are you going to be after you get your degree", replied "well I guess I'll be a cowboy with a degree". That was an excellent answer, IMO. And I really do believe that in todays' world, that degree is ever more important TO THOSE CAPABLE AND WILLING to use it to enhance their ranching abilities.

MRJ}
 

Stub

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Yes, I would do it over again. Unless you work for your self, you are at risk of having nothing at the end of your productive years and who cares? Maybe a reduced pension or none and no way of recouping your lost years. If you have land, it will take care of you if you take care of it, maybe short fare, but a place to lay your head.
 

whiteface

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Absolutly, you must work for yourself and I believe land will usually take care of your retirement if you don't lose on loseing cows in the meantime and Denny that was just hilarious and made my whole day that drinking beer from a funnel comment...thanks!
And yes I know that was a real good example of a run-on sentence so all of you who think my formal education didn't do anything for me are dead wrong...
See, I learned all about run-on sentences! Think it did one darn bit of good for me? I'm still waiting to find out too! Have a good day all!
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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Very interesting posts,
Got me to really thinkin, my answer would hafta be yes and no at the same time. There's always little things that you would change along the way but in the overall picture of things, no I wouldnt change what I do. I was born n raised around cattle. Always in my opinion as a kid we didnt have enuff of em. Mom and dad more or less "piddled" in the business all the while dad worked a full time job. But it planted the seed. I've always loved bein around cattle and when I married never thought that dream would be reality. Hubby worked in the oil fields of west texas. When the bottom fell out of that and he decided we needed to move to east texas it was the best choice we could have made. We moved here to land that's been in his family since the 1850s. All of his ancestors were either cattle ranchers or farmed. We lived here 5 years before I finally sat him down one day and told him, "here we sit on all this land, why dont we put it to use?" We started out small, took 10 years to build a decent size herd. Never borrowed money from the bank for anything more than a used tractor here and there. Until last fall we bought a herd of 34 mama's n 30 calves and 2 bulls. He still works a full time job, with benefits and paid vacation. Which we dont often take. Usually if he takes vacation time it's to get somethin done on the ranch that we can't get done in the evenin's or on week ends. We have two kids. 19 year old son that has shown no interest what so ever in the ranching business...which I've stated many times "it's his choice" you can't force someone to "like" this business. He's in college and I told him to study whatever he wanted. but to make sure whatever degree and job field he chose that it was one that he ENJOYED!!! because if you dont like yer daily job...what's it all for???
Our daughter is 14 and has her heart set on becoming a large animal vet, which I intend to do everything in my power to see that it happens for her. She's up to her eyeballs in the ranch business. I can't leave the house without her goin with me to help do whatever it is we are doing.
Even thought our son don't really participate too much in the ranch scene, I think he appreciates being able to live out in the country and do things that he wouldnt otherwise get to do if he lived in the city. Kids raised in the country just seem to have better values instilled in them than city kids. I dont know if that has to do with the slower pace or what. But he's told me many times how much he loves it here. (haha sometimes I wonder if it's really slower or not but)
I didnt choose this lifestyle for the money, I chose it because it's somethin I LOVE to do. Too many people these days choose a job field for money reason's only. I think if there were more people doing what they love to do there'd be less unhappiness overall in general.
 

whiteface

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If you have money, you can do a lot more of what you love than what you don't. Have a good day all!
 

Faster horses

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My answer would be that we would do the same thing over again. My husband is a rancher. He loves it, enjoys it, and imparts to others his love of ranching. He has helped others learn to slow down, look around, and ENJOY today what you are doing today. So many hurry to get this done so they can go do something else. Today is the first day in the rest of our lives, we need to live it; not just get through it to go on to the next thing. My husband doesn't know the meaning of time (for me, that gets aggravating), but for working with livestock, that has real benefit. He hates hurrying, he hates wrecks and there IS a reason why he just doesn't have problems working cattle. There are some who have picked up on this and have absolutely changed the way they do things, and are enjoying ranch life more as a result. His whole attitude is, "what's the hurry?" He doesn't talk about it, he doesn't try to convince anyone, he just LIVES it, everyday. Our lives have a certain amount of serenity as a result.

Our old neighbor in W. Montana was so happy to be right where he was, I think it especially had meaning for us. He had never been out of Montana, ever in his life, yet was totally content. To be satisfied, or content with what you do, what you have, and where you are is remarkable. How many people can say that they are happy doing what they are doing and content with where they are?

My old boss put in the paper once, "The two most important things in life: who you marry and what you do."

I have thought of that a lot the past several years and what he says really has merit. There are a lot of ranchers/farmers that are in that business just because it was expected of them. That is sad. There is a big world out there.

I wasn't raised on a ranch, yet I always wanted to marry a rancher. I'm glad I found the right one!
 
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Faster horses said:
My answer would be that we would do the same thing over again. My husband is a rancher. He loves it, enjoys it, and imparts to others his love of ranching. He has helped others learn to slow down, look around, and ENJOY today what you are doing today. So many hurry to get this done so they can go do something else. Today is the first day in the rest of our lives, we need to live it; not just get through it to go on to the next thing. My husband doesn't know the meaning of time (for me, that gets aggravating), but for working with livestock, that has real benefit. He hates hurrying, he hates wrecks and there IS a reason why he just doesn't have problems working cattle. There are some who have picked up on this and have absolutely changed the way they do things, and are enjoying ranch life more as a result. His whole attitude is, "what's the hurry?" He doesn't talk about it, he doesn't try to convince anyone, he just LIVES it, everyday. Our lives have a certain amount of serenity as a result.

Our old neighbor in W. Montana was so happy to be right where he was, I think it especially had meaning for us. He had never been out of Montana, ever in his life, yet was totally content. To be satisfied, or content with what you do, what you have, and where you are is remarkable. How many people can say that they are happy doing what they are doing and content with where they are?

My old boss put in the paper once, "The two most important things in life: who you marry and what you do."

I have thought of that a lot the past several years and what he says really has merit. There are a lot of ranchers/farmers that are in that business just because it was expected of them. That is sad. There is a big world out there.

I wasn't raised on a ranch, yet I always wanted to marry a rancher. I'm glad I found the right one!

FH- No use in getting in a hurry getting any job done- because when you finish that one there are always a dozen more to do...And you will never get them all done :wink: ....
 

Red Barn Angus

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Faster Horses...what a terrific response and how lucky you really are. I was raised on a farm and loved it while my dad was a farmer because he felt he had no choice and told me from the very beginning that I would get an education so I could get away from the farm. If I wanted to have anything to do with farming or ranching I would have to do it on my own. So I got a business degree, worked in the banking field for 30 years and following a divorce 15 years ago, I purchased a small ranch and put together a nice herd of paid for cows on a night and weekend basis. I am now doing pretty much what I always wanted to do and enjoy it very much. My only real regret is that I have no one to share it with. There is just nothing like going to the pastures and checking the cows and the calves grazing in tall, green grass. I do feel a great deal of pride in knowing that I did it all myself with nothing given to me and very little borrowed. It may not pay the best but it is truly fun trying to figure out what to do to improve the herd, to figure tax angles and just generally make the business grow and prosper. It will never be a big ranch but it sure is a fun one. It has taken a lot of years but I truly and doing what I always wanted to do...and working a lot harder doing it!
 

Faster horses

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Thanks, and I really feel I (we) have been lucky, blessed, or both. We have been married 42 plus years now.

Red Barn, I think I understand where you are coming from. Sometimes it means more when you have to WORK to get it. We never had any financial backing but we had a lot of moral support. We had a baby that was premature, only weighing 2 lbs. 8 oz and that was back in 1964. She was in the hospital 2 months and when the bill came, we thought we had inhereited the national debt (no insurance.) But we got it paid off, little by little. Of course, today it would have been IMPOSSIBLE.

It is so hard for young people to get a start ranching now. If a young couple asked me what I thought about them getting in the ranching business, I don't know what I would tell them. Starting with nothing back when we did, was tough enough, but not impossible. The FmHA was there to help young people get started and they made 100% loans. There is still some help in the form of Young Farmer Loans, but the price of land and machinery is so against them. It would be our desire, to be able to help a young family get started when we are ready to retire. I hope we can do that. It has been my opinion that if there were some way the government could give a tax break to elderly, retiring age ranchers and farmers that helped young people get started in the business,it would be a really simple way to reduce the price of the land. After all, it is the young people who really pay the taxes in the form of inflated land prices. The retiring people cannot help young people and be responsible for the tax burden, too. I always have thought simply, and this is a simple solution, IMHO.

Anyway, Red Barn, I am glad your dream came true!! I love good cattle as well, so I appreciate your remarks and your chosen way of life. :)
 

whiteface

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What a beautiful story Red Barn! And I mean that absolutly sincerely. I will admit that haveing known very many wealthy and independant people in my life there are few I have found that are as genuinly happy as some farmers ( the ones that don't gripe non-stop about all the things they feel they have no control over ). I have yet to meet more than a handful of very sucessful entreprenuars that were actually moved by a beautiful sunset or a wobbly new calf or the sheer beauty ( and to have it genuinely show on their face ) when their wife or girlfriend was covered in hay or cow **** just helping new life get started. Way more are appalled at cow poop, detest the control that needy animals have over them, completely scorn a girl that is less than "perfect" at any given time. I've seen far more that were all facts and figures (my husband, SH and probably Agman are in this category) that were only concerned about truth, reality, interest rates, bottom lines and black ink to be any fun to be around whatsoever. Tons of money, no fun and often ending up very rich and very lonely. Sorry, just what I've seen. While I promote wealth and prosperity I also emplore people to have a balance or be bitter and/or dead long before enough time is given to them to even enjoy their millions. I did say my father in law was a real eye opener for me, but I made him blink once or twice also. Balance is a good thing. You know Red, when I was a kid, that's all I ever wanted too was cows and a good man to share them with. What I have now is cows and a good man, but they don't go together. Your post brought tears to my eyes, where were you 20 years ago??? Hope you find a good girl to share it with who really appreciates you. I probably wouldn't at this stage in my life after haveing met the man I'm married to but once upon a time that is all I ever wanted. Now...
I like where Randy's heading...
Might have to give him a call.
SH, at any time you can accept my challenge to show me you're more than just facts and figures and arguements.
Have a good evening all!
 
A

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Those were great posts Faster Horses, and Red Barn Angus.

One thing I think can be the best asset OR the greatest detriment to a ranchers success is a good banker. Sandhusker might agree too.

We have had some great guys (and one gal) to work with during my time on the ranch. The one that we worked with during the high interest rates of the 80's, was sure the most thrifty of the bunch. With good reason of course. The ones we have worked with most recently have been real pro-active. They realize that todays world requires growth, and have helped us in that direction. I know everyone on this board doesn't agree with that, but how many businesses in the rest of the world are successful without growth? I will not agree with those here that think you have to be debt free to make it. How many ranches that ran 200 cows and made a good living 25 years ago, could still say that today? Just a fact. I didn't say I liked it, but it is true.

This may be off topic somewhat, but I am equating this to long term happiness. And that is nothing more than sustainability.
 

Red Barn Angus

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Thank you very much Faster Horses, Whiteface and the real jake. I have to admit I have been eavesdropping on you all for some time and finally decided to join in. You all have a terrific forum here and I really enjoy it. Sometimes it gets me to thinking about things I could do differently or things I should be doing but have not been. One of the things I truly enjoy is that folks have a lot of respect for each other and the different ideas suggested. Sure there is some fun poked at various individuals but that is what makes it fun. Actually I'm kind of wondering just what Whiteface was doing 20 years ago. She is a pretty sharp cookie...wish I hadn't missed her !! Maybe she has a twin sister that likes to get hay on her and step in the cow sh*t. Another thing I enjoy about this forum is how positive folks are and that most truly love what they are doing. It just doesn't get much better than that.

For years I loved the banking business as I was always involved in ag banking. It was a way I could stay attached to the business even though I couldn't directly participate. Unfortunately in this area we have many lenders but no ag bankers except for Farm Credit. The country clubbers just aren't interested and don't understand the business. At the end I was about the only ag person in a commercial bank in our town of 30,000. By that time I had my own cows as well. I'm glad to be retired from banking as it has changed so much over the years but it did feel rather good that almost the entire ag portfolio in that bank left and went somewhere else when I left, mostly Farm Credit. That was a very significant part of the bank's total loan portfolio. It was time for me to retire as new management didn't have a high regard for agricultural business....until they watched it go out the door ! I strongly agree with jake that ranching, or any business for that matter, must have good bankers behind them. Most rural communities that prosper have good banks that want to do business. Didn't mean to rattle on so.
 

whiteface

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Looking forward to sharing more ideas, laughs and common ground with you Red! Have a good night all!
 

Faster horses

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Glad you joined us, Red Barn!! And a pat on the back to you for you for being an 'Ag Banker'. They are getting to be a rare commodity in many areas. Montana has lost a lot of their Ag bankers, I'm sad to say, due to the influx of people and money from other areas.

I'm glad you posted about the importance of bankers, Jake! I fully agree with your comments. We have had some good bankers, but the one we had during the 80's and right up to a couple of years ago, was the one that really taught us a lot. I wish we had known him sooner, as he educated us somewhat as to how money works. He wasn't a rancher, but he was so INTERESTED in what we did. He passed away suddenly at 54 years of age and we really felt the loss. We still bank at the same bank, and they do really good by us, but it isn't the same.

You just can't say enough good things about someone that understands your situation and has faith in your ability. A good working relationship with your banker is a MUST in this business, IMO.
 

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