How to Be a Rancher: 9 Tips for Running a Successful Ranch

Are you looking to buy your own ranch? Learn how to run a successful ranch with these 9 key tips for how to be a rancher.

Are you interested in a rural lifestyle? Have you inherited a ranch from a family member?

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to learn how to be a rancher, there are a few things you must know if you want to be successful at it.

How to be a Rancher and Win

How to be a rancher

Anyone can purchase a piece of land and grow crops or raise cattle, but it takes a number of factors to get it right and turn a profit. 

Here are some guidelines from successful ranchers, so you don't have to learn the hard way. 

1. Know Your Priorities

How do ranchers make money? By prioritizing their ranch, land, and livestock.

When you're thinking of becoming a rancher, you need to change your mindset around luxury items. When you're a rancher, you'll learn to distinguish between need and want very quickly.

A brand new pick up truck is a temptation that you must resist if you want to make money ranching. Luxury vacations can become a thing of the past.

Every season, every month, and every day has its own set of tasks when you're farming. 

2. Fix It First

A new tractor may look good in your shed, but appearances come at a high price in the realm of farm equipment. 

Purchasing shiny new equipment is tempting when you're starting out. You'll soon learn that the cost associated with paying off the latest model far outweighs the pros. 

Learning to repair your old machinery is a vital skill when you're ranching. You'll be able to apply basic mechanical principles to a wide range of implements, saving loads of money in the long run. 

3. Assemble a Good Team

You'll have your hands full keeping things running at an optimum on your ranch. Get expert help where you need it.

Having a livestock nutritionist, agronomist, tax accountant, insurance broker, and banker on your side is key to maintaining a successful ranching operation.

Professionals who understand the ranching business will save you a lot of money and anxiety.  

4. Get Your Partner's Buy-In

Even a recreational ranch is going to take up a lot of time. You'll have to spend money on the upkeep and maintenance of the property too. 

You'll need to make sure that your partner is okay with this. This support will be helpful to keep things running at home while you are busy on the ranch.

Many ranchers spouses play an active role in not only managing the household but also with record-keeping and correspondence. 

5. Foster Friendships

Rural communities are tight-knit and built on support and fellowship. Staying on good terms with your neighbors can be vital to your survival. 

They'll help you out when it comes to fighting fires, getting through bad times, and as a source of advice and companionship. 

Try to spend as much time as you can with experienced ranchers in your area. Their advice is invaluable when you're starting out, and you'll learn more from them than you will from any book.  

6. Save Wherever You Can

Ranching is an enterprise that depends on the whims of nature, who can be a cruel mistress. Set aside some of your income from a good year for lean times.

Drought, fire, flood and livestock diseases can arrive unannounced and will ruin those who are not prepared. Always plan for the worst.

Always calculate costs versus revenue. While planting forages for your cattle is often a good cost-saving initiative, that isn't always the case in drought-prone prone areas. The cost and risk of planting and maintaining a forage crop in these places can often outweigh the cost of purchasing forages. 

7. Set Priorities 

While you may get away with putting off undesirable tasks in the world outside of ranching, it doesn't work like that when you're a rancher. 

Failure to plan in ranching is a recipe for disaster.

Set up a schedule for important tasks and stick to it. If you detest certain tasks, hire someone to do them for you rather than put them off until it's too late. 

While some chores may seem unimportant, the little things add up. For example, avoiding fixing that leaking tap can waste 2,082 gallons of water a year. That's water that your livestock needs to produce good yields.

8. Sweat the Small Stuff

Be on the lookout for ways to improve every area of your ranching operation. Small cost savings across the board often add up to more than saving a lot in only one area. 

Many aspects of ranching have a snowball effect. For example, spending a little more time on managing your pastures can lead to a huge increase in beef yields.

When you make mistakes, take some time to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid getting the same results again. Ask for advice from folk who have been in a similar situation. 

Besides looking for things you can do to improve, pay attention to things you should stop doing to help you increase profits. For example, if you run a milking herd that is not bringing you significant profits, you could consider crossing those cows with beef bulls to produce calves for meat instead. 

9. Invest in Your Livestock

It is a well-known adage that if you take care of the land and your livestock, they'll take care of you.

Spend time learning as much as you can about your herd. Not just from books and experienced acquaintances but by being around them. 

Study the genetic information available to make informed choices when it comes to AI, and always invest in the best bloodlines you can afford. Well bred, well-fed livestock will repay you many times over. 

Invest in as much land as you can afford and give your animals space to roam. Overgrazing will destroy your farmland; don't increase your herd beyond what the available space can bear.

Manage your pastures meticulously because they are the lifeblood of your business. Conserve and preserve your water any way you can.  

Have You Got What It Takes?

There's no better way to find out than by investing in a piece of prime farmland and getting started. The best way to learn how to be a rancher is through hands-on experience.

Get in touch today and set your journey in motion. We have access to prime farmland and excellent ranches to get you off to a good start.