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Questions for those "in the know"

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Zilly

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Hello, I have a few questions for those living/working the ranching lifestyle, but I suppose I should tell you a little about me first.

I'm 31 and due to things slowly changing, I find myself HATING my corporate job here in NJ. It is a technical job and unfortunately my skill-set is not widely needed outside of a corporate world. I grew up involved in agriculture and thought that is what I wanted to do until the opportunity of less hours and more money was put in front of me, and I took it. It has provided a good life, but not a fulfilling one.

Before I took the job I was working on a dairy farm, worked on them for 5-6 years and even helped with the morning milking for a few years after going to work for the Corp. I never enjoyed running the equipment (unless for doing hay) and always took the jobs that dealt with tending to the cows. I was happiest when tending to them( shoulda been a vet) and to be honest, miss going to bed from exhaustion, and not because it's time to sleep.

So now that I am seriously considering getting back into ag, I'm thinking ranching would he a good fit for me, love cows and horses. It just isn't going to happen in NJ $$$, so a move would be in order. Here comes the questions:

Is it really a solitary life on western ranches? I ask because, while I'm no social butterfly, I do like people and volunteering. Living on a ranch with no outside contact for weeks would drive me nuts!

If you have an employee, do you allow them vacation time when it's slow? I love to see and experience new places. I may have been spoiled when I worked on the dairy farms, but the owners always took vacations and allowed us employees vacation time also.

Well that's enough of a novel for now. Thank you in advance for your replies and time!
 

LCP

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I think vacations, getting involved in the community, spending time with family, having hobbies, etc. all can be compatible with ranching. Its just a matter of setting priorities. Its really easy to see all the things that "could" be done...just have to figure out what NEEDS to be done and how it all fits together. Some guys I know don't hardly go on any vacations, work all the time, have no hobbies, and love every minute. Some of it has to do with specific production practices. Our neighbor runs about 150 cows and hardly ever sees them because he works a full time job in town too. Another neighbor runs the same cows and stays busy with them all the time. Just depends on how you do it, or how the boss wants you to do it!
 

Zilly

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Thank you all for the welcome and the replies! I appreciate it.

Kevin
 
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Like LCP said, a lot of it is what you make it. I will say that living close-in like we do now (Northeastern US Farm, 15 minutes to town, 2 hours to the big city) is a lot harder in many ways than driving 45 minutes just to pick up your mail (like where we used to be in Canada).

Having worked at all kinds of places you can certainly find a place that will suit you. My husband worked in a place where it was an eight hour drive to the nearest "town" (this was in Australia) and that might have killed you if you need to see a lot of people in order to be happy. On the other hand, he worked at a place in S Dakota where the boss gave them Friday nights off and all the cowboys went into town and hung out at the bars, etc.

Head out to Montana sometime, you'd be surprised how many ranches are a reasonable distance from big cities like Bozeman or Helena.
 

flyingS

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I think anyone with some ambition and common sense can fit into a ranching lifestyle. As far as time off I have always looked at it this way, if you get your work done I have never said anything about time off. I had an intern that I never had to watch over and worked 7 days a week so he could go see his girlfriend once a month for 3 days. I never asked him to, I just told him if he put in the time he could leave when he wanted as long as he let me know when he was going and coming back. I also never had to worry about any surprises, he was alway comfortable telling me he was leaving.
 

High Plains

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There are a lot of ranches that aren't too far from town. If you have enough energy to work a ranch job all day and be social in the evening then you can probably figure out a way to have human contact and be involved in a community. Working 7 am to 6 pm has a way of wearing a body out to where a trip to town loses it's appeal.

I'm sure if you're commited to the idea of working in agriculture then there will be a place for you. Might as well come on out west. There's never a lack of jobs in agriculture, just a lack of workers. Like Chris LeDoux said in one of his songs, "There's plenty of work, but there ain't too much pay." Bad news is there's more money working for a farm than a ranch, most of the time. A lot of folks on ranches take some of their pay in scenery. :wink:
 

mrj

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I'm guessing if one is young and single, or any age and single, there might not be much of a social life for that person in small ranch/farm communities. But, for married people with kids, there most likely will be as much 'social' life as you can stand, what with volunteers needed for school, churches, and community organizations. Towns often are small, but quite a few people manage to get in 'from the countryside' pretty often.

Climate might be a limiting factor, too, especially in the west, whether north or south, depends on your tolerance for heat, cold, windy, wet, or dry conditions of all extremes.

mrj
 

Pertnear

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Welcome I think nj and milk cows is a goo spot for you.
 

kelpies4me

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Kelpie and Collie: I did a double take on your handle! I am from NY and that's my handle too.........

Zilly- you don't have to move clear out west to live the life you like. If your goal is to run a ranch, or work on one, and not own land, you can certainly do that in the east- the outback of NY for instance, you can even get CHEAP land and lots of it. Make of it what you will.
 

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