They say everything is bigger in Texas and when it comes to cattle farming there's no exception. In fact, Texas is the number one cattle producing state in the nation followed closely by Nebraska and Kansas.
While your ranching operation may not be to the scope of major producers, being part of this agricultural economy is a great way to eat fresher food, get back in touch with nature, and potentially save a lot of money on taxes.
But do you have what it takes for owning a ranch? There are hundreds of small tasks you will have to do every week. But the reward will be the satisfaction of knowing you produced what you needed for sustenance yourself.
If you're considering purchasing a ranch and want to know what will be involved, read on.
When you choose a ranch property, you should consider how much land you can manage as well as whether you want rivers and streams running through. Many people love to choose properties with rivers because they are scenic and offer the opportunity for private fishing.
But if you buy a property with a river running through it, you have to consider if the public will have access to fishing or boating in that area.
Another location consideration is how far you want to be away from civilization. You may think you want to be in the middle of nowhere but quickly realize isolation isn't for you.
Unfortunately, if you want to buy land within two hours of a major city, the cost will go up significantly. But, it will also hold its value.
You should also consider who owns the mineral rights beneath your property. While you might think you own your land all the way down, it's possible someone else owns those rights and may drill on your property at some point in the future.
A final ranch specific concern for purchasing a property is choosing if you want to take part in a conservation easement. If you choose to restrict some of your land as protected from development, then you can receive tax benefits and it may improve the value of your land over time.
In order to properly maintain a ranch, you will need to hire some ranch hands and potentially a ranch manager. These people are knowledgeable in things like agriculture and irrigation. They can prove a valuable resource for someone new to the game.
If you hire a quality staff, your ranch should generate plenty to cover the cost of management, so don't fret too much about this cost long term.
If you want to have a passive working ranch, you should consider leasing out the rights to grazing and hunting on your land. This is a straight-forward way to generate income that you can even run from out of state.
Running a ranch requires a lot of maintenance. Everything from keeping the buildings in tip-top shape, to making sure all your machinery works.
If you hire ranch hands and a manager, then they will take care of this for you. But, if you want to do some things yourself, there are plenty of books out there to help instruct you.
At a bare minimum, you need to make sure your equipment is in working order and that it has the oil, grease, and gas it needs to perform.
If you are considering purchasing a ranch for the first time, you may be nervous about the idea of making it fully operational. It's true, keeping up with a ranch is a lot of work and will take up a lot of your time. But it's worth it.
The idea of taking on the care of animals and trying to get them to market may be overwhelming. But, it's important that you do your best to keep grazing cattle on your land. This is because your property may be eligible for agriculture and wildlife exemptions.
These kinds of exemptions need you to have cattle on your land consistently for a period of years, typically six or more. If you maintain the land for agriculture, then the federal government will issue an exemption.
Another benefit to having animals on your land is the opportunity to teach your children about where their food comes from. Let them know they should be an involved part of the farming process and show them how to raise the food which sustains them.
The only way you will be able to secure the proper government subsidies and tax exemptions is if you can prove you use your land for agricultural purposes. This means you need to have exhaustive records of all the money you spend to maintain your ranch for agricultural pursuits and the efforts you make to keep it running.
This information will become invaluable if you are ever audited by the government. It's also good to keep records for whoever will run the property after you. If they know the last time maintenance was performed on certain outbuildings and equipment, then they will know when to service it next.
Owning a ranch is a great way to create a more sustainable living for yourself and your family. While running it will be a challenge, hiring the right people will go a long way towards making the purchase an enjoyable one.
When you're ready to buy, check out these properties and find the ranch of your dreams.