Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ranching isn't for sissies, a discussion of the realities.

This is the time of year that's hard.  REAALY hard.  The weather is tough, the costs are high & the finances are low.  Is also the time of year that most of us farmers & ranchers make our farm payments... (can you hear the scary music?)  And all of that creates tons of stress for all of us farmers & ranchers.

First, the weather.  Right now, I'm sitting inside in my jammies watching it blow ICE & snow horizontally.  Yes really, horizontally.  Earlier, covered in 80million layers, I was outside feeding & watering all the animals.  And again in an hour, I'll be covered in 100million layers & feeding & rolling out fresh hay so everyone will be cozy & safe for the night.  But I love it!  I really couldn't imagine a day like this without going outside & choring (&playing) in this weather.

The costs.  This time of year, we have to feed almost all of our animals.  Feed is really expensive this year.  Its the second highest corn prices in history; and most other feeds follow the corn pricing.  We don't feed much grain, but we do go through more than usual in the winter to keep the energy in the calves.  We are feeding hay to most every bunch of animals on the ranch.  We do have a large group of calves that are still stockpile grazing, but the ice will probably stop that for a few days in the next week.

Finances.  If you've been following along for any length of time, you know I'm not scared of any topic.  Even finances.  When you're a rancher, you typically make your money one time each year when you sell your calves, & get to hold your breath & pennies the rest of the year.  Most people look forward to tax returns.  We get to pay Uncle Sam for the privlidge of living & ranching in the great US & State of Iowa.

Then we get to talk about farm payments. Dum, Dum, Dum! (thats the scary music) Since most farmers & ranchers make most of their money once a year, we get to make all of our payments once a year.  Let me just put this in perspective for you.  Take your mortgage payment, then double it, add 2x your insurance payments, your vehicle payments & all of your montly expenses and that is our Farm Payment. Huge huh? But that is our reality, and the choice that we have made.

That being said, we do choose to think differently about most things.  This year, we're trying to keep all of our calves & not sell any at the sale barn.  We'd like to sell all of them as Beef, Bulls, or heifers.  So, I'm offering all of our beef for sale now and harvested beginning in May.  This will allow us to make our farm payment (if we reserve enough calves) without selling any of my calves at the sale barn.  We're also saving plenty of heifers to offer as Bred Heifers next year, or a calf for the kids to show this summer.  We have a couple of bulls for sale too.

So, I ask you this, if your freezer is getting low on beef, give me or your local rancher a call now.  Reserve your beef in advance, & help a rancher make the cash flow & farm payment a little easier.

Thank you from all of us farmers & ranchers out there braving the snow.  If you'd like some beef.  Check us out on Facebook.