How many of you are cattle ranchers - & cattle farmers ?

ARCaveman

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Oct 22, 2019
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100
Location
Arkansas
We have around 150 head right now after selling calves in Sept. Not a huge operation but enough to keep us busy. We run Charolais and Saler. Hopefully proces will go back up to where they were a few years ago, but I’m not holding my breath. The problem with beef prices in stores is that production was really hurt by all the shutdowns. And around my neck of the woods every processor and small butcher is backed up at least 6 months with orders.
 

Tac-O

Formerly 'Ryan Tockstein'
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
428
Location
Sandy, UT
I'm pretty ignorant of how the cattle industry works. I've been trying to figure out a new career path and my wife has mentioned SO many times I should learn to become a cattle or bison rancher and we can start doing that someday. She's always had a thing for ranchers and cowboys haha.

Anyway, in discussing that with her, she mentioned that it is not legal for a rancher to have a butchering/processing operation. I assume this is just to protect the jobs of processors and the current system, similar to how the brewing industry had been set up in many states for so long with the brewery/distributor tier system.

So I was wondering if it would be possible to have a guy own a ranching operation and his wife own the processing operation and sell direct to consumer?

I saw this thread and was just curious
 

ARCaveman

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Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
100
Location
Arkansas
There may be laws about that but I’m not aware of any (in Arkansas at least). As long as the butcher shop is inspected and goes through the proper channels I’m not sure why they would have those laws in place.

I do know of a butcher shop that does their own beef and hogs in the summer and then deer in the winter. But it’s a big multigenerational operation. It may be that the dad owns the butcher shop and his sons own the actual farm.
 

DJ Fergus

Formerly 'djfergus'
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
2,091
There has been some family owned meat processors around here with their own cattle. But I'm not sure if one family member owned the cattle and another family member owned the meat procession business or not. I always assumed that it was all under one ownership.
 

bigngreen

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Nov 24, 2008
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8,215
Location
SW Montana
Grew up in ranches and work with them every day right in the heart of the big cattle country!!

The prices SUCK but the issue is so complex I don't know if there is an excellent way out of it. You have the government involved in so many levels from price control to leasing to regulation and many other layers of CRAP, there was a trade there back in the day that kept family farm and ranches in business and smoothed out the volatility of being in an open market but with that they gave up the ability to really be in the market and innovating opening up new markets.

In my area the biggest thing they've really done is natural beef and marketing it that way does bring some premium, there is some push for LOCAL processers to come back since all this Covid stuff and that would be super awesome, instead of buying from a huge feeder/packer.

The costs are crazy, the tractor that cost $30,000 30 years ago now is $180,000 calf prices are lower, that math don't work and then your penalized for making and saving money.
I know quite a few that have made the deal with the devil and sold the land rights to Nature Conservancy and groups like that, all that really does is let them ranch as a family but loose the decision making on the ground which basically ruins it all but I wouldn't want to be in their position to deal with the devil and stay or sell out what your family has done since before MT was territory, I know families that traded with the local Indian tribes they've been here so long and now, well it is what it is!
 

birdiemc

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Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
863
Location
San Antonio, TX
The issue of ranchers processing their own cattle is nothing to do with whether they can own both operations or not, it's a matter of the gov overregulation. In order to sell to the public the animal must be butchered in a USDA inspected facility and the guidelines to set up such an operation are cost prohibitive for a small operation that might only serve the ranchers in a small community. All the regulation probably started out with the right spirit, the whole Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle got the government interested in ensuring safety and all that, but like anything the government touches they screwed it up so bad you have to run 30,000 head a day to make it worth it (maybe a bit of exaggeration but you get the point) my boss used to work in the meat industry and he always tells a story about taking his folks over to see the "big plant" any time they got to crying about being overworked, says that plant had 2 lines that ran several thousand hogs each per day, for some reason the number 15,000 sticks in my mind.
 

bigngreen

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Nov 24, 2008
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8,215
Location
SW Montana
The hard stop for local butchering of cattle is the kill floor, I ran a USDA inspected plant and we would buy box beef and pork then process specialty meats like sausage, jerky, snacks sticks things like that and we could do well and stock local stores even into local Walmarts and it was not a deal breaker but the kill floor is what is the killer for local retail.
Cutting a beef for the owner of it does not require the USDA since your cutting privately so smaller shops make it on that box beef without much issue.
We have everything from the cow calf to finished feeders but from there they have to go to a kill plant and even after that it will come back local to get finished as box beef.
 

ARCaveman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
100
Location
Arkansas
The hard stop for local butchering of cattle is the kill floor, I ran a USDA inspected plant and we would buy box beef and pork then process specialty meats like sausage, jerky, snacks sticks things like that and we could do well and stock local stores even into local Walmarts and it was not a deal breaker but the kill floor is what is the killer for local retail.
Cutting a beef for the owner of it does not require the USDA since your cutting privately so smaller shops make it on that box beef without much issue.
We have everything from the cow calf to finished feeders but from there they have to go to a kill plant and even after that it will come back local to get finished as box beef.
Is that how the guys that will come to your place and slaughter your beef on sight are able to do it without running into issues? Because they are slaughtering the owners animals?
 

308win

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Joined
Aug 10, 2017
Messages
67
Yes sir, cow/calf operation here in Central Texas. All of my offices (pickups/Rangers) are equipped to dispatch pesky vermin at any given time or range. Blessed to be able to step out and try my luck and experience on an unsuspecting rock/coyote/pig just about whenever I want too.

Took this young lad at 361yrds two weeks ago one morning while I why checking water. Had 4 of them come out in front of me and was unable to get a shot off (out of the pickup). Circled back around the direction they were headed (about 2 miles) and figured I could catch up to them out in the open. Found only one and missed the first shot estimated (with Huntstand app) at 450yrds. Hit just low and blew rocks up into him. He yelped and ran like something had bit him. Finally calmed down and went back to his morning routine. When he stopped for his morning constitution, I let him have it. $150 pawn shop special 270win with 130gr SST, Vortex Viper. My pickup gun, works great for this kinda thing.
 

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Steves1911

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
21
Location
Hedgesville, WV
We take ours to a usda processor 15 miles away and pick it up when its all done. From there we sell it right at the farm. Im in the mid Atlantic and local raised/processed grass fed beef is all the rage right now. We can't get them processed fast enough. Processor is currently booking dates 8 months out so carefull planning is needed.
 

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