You dream about wide open spaces, sprawling green fields, the peace and serenity of the countryside. The hustle and bustle of your current community just isn’t your speed. Perhaps you are interested in buying a cattle ranch. Owning a ranch can be a rewarding investment, one that comes with pride and that gratifying feeling you get when you accomplish something with your bare hands, but runnning a ranch doesn’t come without its difficulties.
Before purchasing the property, be sure get all the information regarding the following:
- Access to the roads
- Zoning and land restrictions
- Flood potential
- Presence of hazardous waste
- Groundwater contamination
- Neighbors and population growth
- Hunting and fishing in the area
- Low pH levels
You’ve looked at farms and ranches for sale. Now you must take the time to consider these next questions to determine if you are ready to take on such a serious task.
How much time will I need to put into this?
Small ranches require over 20 hours of labor per week. If you don’t have the time to manage your ranch, you will need to hire someone. Keep in mind that your overall profits will be decreased by labor costs.
Where can I buy livestock? What is a fair price?
It is very common for new buyers to pay too much for poor quality livestock. Talk to people in your area that you can trust, particularly trained professionals.
What kind of equipment will I need?
Essential equipment you will need to get started includes: a pickup truck, livestock trailer, tractor, handcarts, manure spreader, corral system, cattle feeders, water tanks, weighing equipment.
How much of a profit can I make off a cattle ranch?
The typical gross income per cow is somewhere between $190 and $340, and annual costs per cow are between $300 and $400. Therefore, the likelihood of profit is fairly small. If you are interested in owning a cattle ranch, you probably aren’t in it for the money; it’s more likely that the lifestyle and the nature of the work appeal to you.
Ted Turner broke the mold when he bought his 100,000-plus acre ranch in Montana for $20 million. The ranch is currently used for bison ranching, as well as commercial hunting and fishing. Chances are you don’t have the resources Ted Turner had. What you do have in common, however, is an appreciation for the farming life.
While Montana’s population is expected to increase, employment of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers is expected to decline by 2% between now and the year 2024. That isn’t to say that farms and ranches are becoming obsolete, but know that this is only a lifestyle for the most dedicated and passionate of ranchers.