Wouldn't it be great going back in time, enjoying a little country air, sleeping under the stars, roaming around those open plains, watching cattle littered all over the fields, grazing and just being one with mother nature? It may seem effortless and undemanding, but cattle farming takes a lot of time, sweat, blood and tears, and has some pressing backbreaking chores. Cattle farming, typically also known as cattle ranching, is known as some of the most large scale businesses in the US. Although there seems to be a little confusion between "cattle ranching" and "cattle farming," as we'd discussed in the previous article, ranches are for raising animals and farms are for food production. In this article, we'll be talking a little about what is involved in the "cattle farming" business and some of the top dogs in the industry.
When it comes to taking care of a herd of cattle, there are a lot of factors that come into play. The duties of a farmer vary from feeding, veterinary care like being on the lookout for any illnesses, helping with the calving, waste management, maintaining equipment, baling hay, marketing the animals, maintaining the facility, and so much more. One of the most critical questions is: How many cows per acre is acceptable? Or how many acres of pasture do cattle require? Here's the tricky part, you need to find the perfect balance between the land available for grazing and the number of livestock you own. When it comes down to the mathematics of deciding how much land livestock requires, many factors come into play, such as the size of the animals, the length of the grazing season, the yield of your pasture per acre, and the land available for grazing. There's also a simple rule of thumb to follow if the mathematics of it all confuses you, to feed a cattle pair for 12 months, it takes 1.5 to 2 acres of grazing grounds. A cattle farmer needs to work closely with livestock veterinarians to maintain the health of the cattle. They need to oversee the daily activities on the farm, including maintenance of equipment and organizing employee shifts and so much more. They work long hours, and their shifts aren't restricted to just weekdays. Depending on the situation, they work on the weekends, even during the holidays and extreme weather conditions. "Ranchers are environmentalists — stewards of our water, soil, and grasslands. They are leaders at feeding, breeding, raising, and caring for animals in ways that reduce stress on all resources — the land, the water, and the animals themselves," says Bill Thoni, vice president of cattle procurement for Cargill Protein.
Now that we've covered the basics of what a cattle farm entails let's talk about some of the largest farms in the US. The owners of these beautiful sprawling lands are not restricted to cowboys and farmers, but it looks like business owners who spend their time in conference rooms are dipping their toes into this slice of Wild West heaven.
This family-run operation, based in Wellington, Colorado, is recognized as one of the largest cattle businesses and cattle breeders in the region. The three generations of Leachman brothers, sons, and grandsons are known for their superior cattle breeds with a variety in genetics, cattle supplies, and mare breeds as well. This beef cattle operations market around 2,000 cattle per year.
Blair Brothers Angus, a multi-generational business, is probably one of the largest family cow farms and ranch operations in the United States and is recognized as one of the premium quality beef suppliers in the region. It is located in Vale, South Dakota, and they are known as one of the founding members of US Premium Beef. "We aim to breed cattle that will excel in the pasture, feedlot, and on the dinner plate," Rich Blair, who oversees herd selection and marketing side of the business.
Another family cow farm based in Wauneta, Nebraska, is run by the father and son, Jack and John Maddux. The 3,000-cattle-head-beef operations cover around 40,000 acres, and they supply some of the most premium beef cattle in the US. Throughout the years, they've made some humanistic and scientific contributions to the livestock and beef cattle industry.
Not only is the Padlock Ranch, based in Wyoming simply a ranch but they are known for their cattle farming expertise in the industry. They've been in the business since the 1940s and have expanded over the years. Today, they run a 11,000 beef cattle operation that covers about 450,000 acres of the Montana-Wyoming border. Many come here to ride and get a little taste of the wild West, including roundups, cattle drives, brandings, riding cattle herd, and so much more. They also deal with horses, as well as cattle. As a result of their stewardship, they won the 2013 National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Region Five Environmental Award.
True Ranches, located in Wyoming, initially began with 35 resident cows and one bull when Dave and Jean True purchased Double Four Ranch. However, over the years and increased expansion, today, True Ranch owns seven different Wyoming-based ranches, two cattle farms, and two feedlot operations. The multi-generational business is recognized in the West for its Angus, black baldy, Hereford, and Charolais cattle. It is known as one of the best cow/calf operations in the region, with more than sufficient grass for grazing, adequate water, and the best hay meadows.
This family-run operation has been in Texas since the 1830s. The Kokernot heirs are currently in charge of the cow-calf operations on the ranch. It is located in West Texas near Alpine and Fort Davis, it covers about 278,000 acres. The 06 ranch not only runs a cattle beef operation but they also provide hunting leases and excursion services, like hunting, horse riding, ATV tours, and so on.
This cow/cattle operations, located in the West of Wichita Falls, near Red River, Texas, encloses an area of 535,000 acres. It is best recognized as one of Texas's heritage sites and is well known for its thriving cattle/cow farming and oil operations. Thirty cowboys and overall 120 individuals manage the services on Waggoner Ranch, with about 14,000 cows and bulls as well as 500 horses.
Although some of these magnificent cow/calf operations are known for their large number of premium livestock and the acres they cover, there are lots that occur behind the scenes. It takes a lot of resources, time, and effort to take care of the lands and the animals, especially when you have cows and cattle grazing. Here at Land and Wildlife, we have wide varieties of the best ranches and farms for your business, depending on the size of the herd of cattle, cow or horses, and your requirements in terms of lands with enough grazing and water resources