how to run a successful cattle farming business
Nelson runs a small family farm in northern Uganda. They have mainly focused on commercial cattle farming. The farm has rapidly grown over the years with no signs of slowing down. They now have six full time helpers and a very large part time staff.
The Nelsons recently have become large enough to even construct their own onsite processing plant now the family can save that money they were outsourcing to slaughter houses. This is especially remarkable given they were formally not farmers.
Nelson explained to me why he wanted to start with cattle. Well I love cows hanging out with them in the pastures on a quiet afternoon to hear them chewing the cud and to be out there in the middle of them, it’s wonderful experience.
Nelson Cattle Farm is a working family farm Every member has a job and they are expected to pull their own weight. They also cut loose and have lots of fun as a family too but having young children presents some unique problems at harvest time. It’s just a part of our life; it is just a way of life.
I had someone the other day ask “how do you teach your 8 year old to axe down and cut down a tree?” I thought to myself it is nothing we taught him, that is just something he has been doing his whole life. As far as farming, this is all they know, they know we raise our own meats to eat.
Lillian goes on to share about some of her experiences with having children work with her on their farm. It is an adventure, they think it is such an adventure. Every morning they want to get through their home school work super-fast just so they can get down to the barn and start working, which I think is really amazing.
Now when they are teenagers, I am not quite sure they are going to think all this farm work as amazing. So you know what? So some of them might want to stay on the farm and keep farming and some of them might want to do something different, and that’s totally fine.
The other area the family excels really at is community outreach. The family does outreach by helping out some of the local humane society. Most people in the country know exactly who they are and what they do. They even put on a farm heritage day and invite everyone to come.
Instead of competing with their neighbors, they instead invite them to show off their farms too. I think the best way is to open up the farm for people to come see and once or twice a year we have a day that we just tell all our neighbors, friends and customers, hey come out and see what we got going on.
They just want to promote their Cattle Farming business and also support all the farmers that are doing their best to survive and at the same time provide food for their families, and we invite all our farmers’ neighbors out here. Just give people an education of what it takes to eat.
Joan was quickly hit with reality of cattle farming. I didn’t realize that when we bought the farm, we really bought the farm. It was a whole new lifestyle and it was no more vacations, No more trips to town because you got a 1000 mouths to feed. No more good night sleeps because you are worried some might get out or some might be sick.
So it is a whole new ball game. She found out that simple things like taking a vacation were a huge ordeal. Before we bought the farm we would go to missions a couple times a year and vacation. Now it is pretty much impossible for the whole family to go anywhere together. We have to leave someone here to look after things. We do have good help but it is still not the same as having your family member here to take care of business.
cattle farming for beginners
Their son Anthony shared a warning about cattle. One of the biggest things is you’re really going to need to love it. in order to be able to do it, Because if you don’t love it, you are going to be giving up a good steady paycheck for a bunch of nothing for a while, so if you plan on doing cattle you better love it.
He also shared some advice on how some new farmers avoid making mistakes when starting out cattle farming. Well, one of the biggest is electric fence along the highway. During the middle of a storm, when power goes out, you always got to worry about the cows running out into the road.
Another thing is, you really need to watch and manage your money very well. Makes sure also when you are breeding cows have a low birth weight bull. A low birth weight bull means a lot. You want to make sure you throw a lower birth weight on your calf.
When we first got into cattle farming, we bought some bred cows that were bred to a high birth weight bull and the calves came about anywhere from 100-140 pounds we ended up having to pull a lot of calves that year. You want to try and stick somewhere between 60-80 for most of your cows especially for when you have a heifer who has never had a calf. So that will really help out.
Their elder son spent most of his life on this farm and is now struggling if he wants to leave. Well, it’s a blessing to grow up on a farm. It’s something that not a whole lot of people get to experience. Since I was 11 I have been here and the Lord has truly blessed it. I have been praying whether it is his will to leave or to stay. I’m waiting for an answer and as soon as I know we will go from there, but for right now this is where I am at.