Venturing into a new business can be a daunting task, cattle farming isn’t any different. Many people inherit or buy land as an investment but end up failing. The secret is to plan your new found venture like any other business. Below are some steps to use as a guide. Buying from someone with a track record helps as most of the highlights below will be taken care of.
#1 Write a business plan. If you do not have the expertise nor the time, find a professional who can do it for you at a reasonable rate. A good business plan should include a SWOT analysis of yourself and the cattle industry you will be entering. Try to aim for being a low-cost producer, as that is the safest way to make money at the beginning.
#2 Choose your area and start shopping around. This is important as you will have to stay at this location for many years to come. Doug with Freshwater Landholdings knows Saskatchewan land. From the topography, the soil, farmers plus more. Check out his website for a list of all the areas where he has sold land.
#3 Get your funds sorted out. You may need to invest in a down-payment. If you are a first time farmer, there are loans specific to new farmers that you can access.
#4 Get details of the land. Make sure you don’t make an uninformed decision. If you chose to work with Doug, he will provide information such as soil type, vegetation, stocking rates and carrying capacity for pastures (tame grassland) or rangelands (native grassland), cattle market demands, etc. In some cases, he will put you in touch with the previous farmer. Who better to learn from than the person who knows the land?
#5 Purchase the right equipment for your type of farming. Your business plan should analyze your operation and your financial situation to see what you need in terms of equipment and machinery. Fencing, watering facilities, feed bunks/troughs or bale feeders is priority above all other assets needed. A tractor, haying equipment, trailer, handling facilities and other buildings are also important.
If you have chosen a dairy operation, you will need multiple buildings and a milking parlour with stanchions to be able to run your operation. You might also need calving facilities, a calf barn, and a barn to hold cows when they’re not being milked.
#6 Choose the type of cattle farming you want. Most cattle farmers choose beef or dairy. Keep in mind that raising dairy cattle is much more time consuming and costly than with beef cattle. The cost is also higher due to more equipment requirements for dairy than beef.
#7 Determine the type of breeds you want based on your pocket, size of ranch and goals. If you decide to go with beef production, choose a breed with a proven record in the area.
#8 Know your Limits. It is best to start with a number you can handle and then add more as you go.
#9 Look at the ratio of Land to cattle. Do you need to separate your grazing from hay land? Are you going to be buying hay or making your own? Keep winter grazing in mind?
#10 Keep detailed records.
This includes finances, purchases/sales, health/vaccinations, breeding/calving, health/vaccinations, purchases/sales, and all other assets. The most important records being your financial records, including your profit & loss statement. In most places, it is mandatory that you have records of all the animals and breeding.
For any questions regarding buying ranches for cattle farming, please contact Doug with Freshwater Land Holding Co Ltd