By Cody Bradley
Special to Tiger Media Network
What is your passion? Everyone has one whether it is saving lives, building things, or being a cowboy. A passion to do something means that you are not in it for the money or the benefits, it is because of the joy and the excitement that it brings to someone’s life every day. The passion that I want to talk about is raising beef cattle.
Some ranchers are born into raising beef cattle, and some are not. For example, Jake Pannbacker of Pannbacker farms didn’t intend to make a career out of ranching, but later found out that beef cattle ranching is in his blood. Jake grows his cattle on grassland which almost all ranchers do for most of their cattle’s lifespan. There is a lot of history for ranches that have multi-generation families running them. With all of this in mind, it is really fun to work on a ranch as it is tough work, but really exciting at times.
The daily chores in a beef operation are usually simple ones like feeding and checking the water, but also there are other busy times depending on the time of the year. For example, calving season occurs most often in the spring which adds greatly to the workload. The awesome part of ranching is that you work with your family to achieve goals for raising beef cattle so that you can produce beef for the world to eat.
People often see westerns and watching the cowboys go to work and if they are seeing what I am seeing, then they are seeing all the responsibilities and all the fun that is in a beef operation. I have always wanted to have my own ranch so I can look out the window every day and see all of the beautiful qualities of a ranch: the sunrise, the animals, hearing the wind go through the trees, seeing the sunset at the end of the day and lastly, giving the opportunity to bring new life in the world for those animals so I may produce food for families across the globe. This is my passion that one day I will hopefully achieve in the future. One will find that most ranchers see the same thing, and this is what keeps them going every day on the ranch.
According to the USDA economic research website, about 35% of the 2.2 million farms in the United States have 10 cows or less. Most farms are small, and this is the size that I would like to have so that I may have a career in agriculture and then raise beef cattle on the side.
One thing to consider about ranching is how much money that person is making. As ranchers sell their beef cattle to packing plants, they will look at how best to sell the cattle so that they can possibly make more money through premiums or by avoiding discounts. There is a business cycle for everything and for beef cattle, there are certain seasons that will affect the business cycle tremendously. One aspect is how long and how much their daily gain affects them. As the cattle are ready for market, the rancher should take them there as soon as possible because afterward, further feeding will often be a waste of money. The rancher should always look into his or her profitability so that they can further make money and expand the ranch.
Lastly, I would like to talk about keeping the ranch in the family. There are a lot of multi-generation ranches being sold because the next generation does not want to continue ranching. With this being said, I encourage everyone to look more into the family business and keep the history going. People may find that it just gets more interesting, and their passion was raising beef cattle all along.
Cody Bradley, a 2018 Liberal High School graduate, is a senior majoring in animal science at Fort Hays State University. He is the son of Todd and Karla Bradley, Kismet.