How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business?
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How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business?



Simple answer: income greater than expenses and needed reserves. Makes running a beef ranch seem simple.This was the problem I encountered when I took over farming. Most (and we still do, at this ...

Simple answer: income greater than expenses and needed reserves. Makes running a beef ranch seem simple.This was the problem I encountered when I took over farming. Most (and we still do, at this point) maintain a second job away from the farm. Because (as "everybody conventionally knows") you keep farming until the money runs out. It's that second job which pays the costs of farming when the crop doesn't.It's the commoditized base of farming which is keeping dirt-poor farmers dirt-poor.



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    How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business? How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business? Document Transcript

    • How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business?Simple answer: income greater thanexpenses and needed reserves. Makesrunning a beef ranch seem simple.This was the problem I encountered when Itook over farming. Most (and we still do, atthis point) maintain a second job away fromthe farm. Because (as "everybodyconventionally knows") you keep farminguntil the money runs out. Its that secondjob which pays the costs of farming whenthe crop doesnt.Its the commoditized base of farming which is keeping dirt-poor farmers dirt-poor.We studied this over and over and kept coming up to the same conclusion. Getting big doesntmake your farm more profitable. Studies show that about 300 acres is the max on cost breakswith the income/expenses leverage. More acres above that and you are doing longer hourswith the same basic cost per acre. Its how many acres can you farm to replace your day jobincome. Not less hours or easier work.Now you have to get smart about what you are doing. We really have nothing bad to say aboutcorn-fed/lot-finished beef (other than it has no taste, really). But if you are selling a lot ofbland burgers at a discount price, this is exactly what you want. And that is the commoditybeef business. Why packers are vertically integrating to cut out middleman costs.Our difference with them is that when we started crunching numbers, we found that our bestprofit point was to get away from corn-fed beef entirely. Half our annual crop was going to payfor feed costs. The next year we made more money simply selling them as feeders (justweaned) and stayed in the warm house more often than filling grain feeders in the middle ofwinter and fixing broken/frozen water lines.The next breakthrough was learning we could almost double that by simply selling them asyearlings (one year old) to other people who had feed lots with cheaper corn and hated stayinginside all winter. Kept my weaned calves on hay with the other cows and calves and we still Visit for more information.
    • stayed in the warm house more.The next point was finding that if we manage our grazing and have leftover tall grass in thepastures, we can make less hay and so take my expenses even further down. Thats becausewere moving to grass-fed beef with managed grazing (ultimately right on up to ultra-high-density stocking aka "mob" grazing) . Funny thing is: the more naturally we raise our beef, the cheaper it gets to raise it. So farm profits rise. Its not "buy more land and work longer and harder", its "manage what we have smarter and work less". Of course, the next up from that is where you come in. Where we sell directly to the client, and keep them happy with what they get, we can make more than we would when we send them to the auction. Not a lot more, but it will make our farm more and save you a lot more by getting you to buy higher quality beef that you can inspect yourself for much less than you would pay else where for similar or lesser quality. If you buy the whole cow direct from us, we can get you 600 pounds of beef for about $2.00 a pound (right this second, anyway - prices change all the time). And thats the average price of the Gawd-knows-where-it-came-from-or- how-it-got-here variety hamburger in the supermarkets. And you get steaks and roasts and filets-mignons all forthe price of that questionable hamburger.But all that beef wont fit in the average home freezer. And its a huge chunk of cash to spendat once. So we use a local marketer to find clients and we sell the beef to four people at once.They each drive off with about 150 pounds. But it costs them a little more per pound so thatthe marketer makes enough to keep selling this stuff, and our farm still gets a little abovesending it all to auction.The answer is still the same. We keep figuring out how to help Nature do what She does best,and She rewards me in the marketplace with more of this funny green stuff that cattle wonteat and bankers will.Thats how our farm stays in business. ---- For more data on raising pasture fed beef, as well as other information on prime beef as health food – visit Visit for more information.
    • About Worstell FarmsOur family goes back on both sides withfarmers. As far as we can trace.And that tradition came to Mexico,Missouri around 1960 to purchase thecurrent farming operation.Jim and Laura Worstell established aworking farm there and then, and raised abig family of 8 kids, along with severaldogs, cats, and an occasional pet squirrelor raccoon. And dont forget the llamasand peacocks...In 2000, Robert Worstell returned to thefarm to take over operations management(as well as the day-to-day chores) andshares these duties with his mother and sister (well, not the chores, so much.)On approximately 250 acres of land, which is mixed hillsides, bottom, and woods, we raise acombination of annual row-crops and also our beef. Typical of this area, we have marginalland which is better suited to cattle than cultivation (which is typical of most cattle-farming).Weve found that where we run our cattle actually improves the soil and its health - as long aswe pay attention and actually manage how long and when they graze where. As we continue tostudy and learn about and from our cattle, our daily lessons help us to improve the quality andquantity of beef we raise.We practice managed grazing and are transitioning over to ultra-high-density stocking, as this is even better for the land and actually requires more cattle peracre to keep up with the lush growth and pasture renovation.All our beef is from local stock. Mostly black Angus cross-bred cows, with our current BeltedGalloway bull named "Gene Autry" is servicing these well.Ordering Our BeefWe only take local orders, so contact us via the website or call directly. Due to Federal laws,we cannot sell our beef out of Missouri – youll have to buy it here. Generally, our beef isspoken for well before its ready for processing. However, contact us for what we have comingup and we can give you an estimate on when the next one is coming available. We are also offering La Cense beef, which is USDA inspected and can be shipped anywhere in the US. Please see for details. Visit for more information.
    • Related Articles from the Worstell Farms Web Site: • Worstell Farms – Finest Missouri Grass Fed Beef • Raising Missouri Pasture-Fed Beef • Whats All-Natural, Humane, Pasture-Raised? • How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business? • Why our Missouri prime beef is striped... • Missouri Beef: Heathy is as Healthy Eats • What are "CLAs" and "Omega 3 and 6s"?!? • How Missouri Beef is Your Best Health Food • Missouri Grass Fed Meat For You to Buy • The Surprising Taste of Grass Fed Meat • Dry Aged Vs. Wet Aged • What are the beef cuts?About the Author:Dr. Robert Worstell retired from a corporate career in graphic design to the much calmer andhealthier American Midwest, to inherit running the family farm. His constant work andresearch has been to improve the sustainability of this Missouri “beef ranch”. The results showthat grass fed beef, locally and directly marketed is the route to profitability, not followingcommodity trends.Dr. Worstells training in web design has helped him move the operation more online, as wellas giving him new networking opportunities to promote Worstell Farms beef products. He isalso a prolific author and has recently completed research into the all-time best self helpbooks, with his “Freedom Is – (period).” Out of the 7 books published this year, hes alsoproduced a fiction work, “The Dreamer Dreamed” - itself a breakthrough use of fiction toexplore the metaphysical aspect of dream meaning. All of these are available athttp://midwestjournalpress.comDr. Worstell may be contacted through his several blogs and websites for interviews andappearances. Visit for more information