What it Takes to Be a Ranch Owner


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So, you saw a large ranch for sale for a great deal and your imagination started to run wild. You start imaging life on a Nebraska ranch or perhaps some sort of horse property or guest ranch. You see the guests going on trail rides, your ranch hands mucking the horse stalls and children running in the grass while the sun shines and the breeze blows gently across your corn field. Sounds like a great life, right? Well, buying a ranch comes with a lot more than sunny days and profitable activities. Just because you see a large ranch for sale doesn’t mean that you should buy it, no matter how much of a steal it is. Here are some things you should know about running a ranch before you jump headlong in to what could potentially be the worst mistake you’ve ever made.

It requires a strong work ethic.
Running a ranch goes way behind getting that large ranch for sale; that’s the easy part. Once you own the ranch then you will have to work night and day to get it running. You have to be able to put aside any desire for personal time; you are now 100% committed to your ranch. All of your savings, dreams, desires, ideas, hobbies, time and efforts must go into your ranch. You may not be able to afford ranch hands right away so you could be doing all the manual labor yourself and you can’t call in. Calling in sick would be flushing your life down the drain. Rain or shine, in sickness and in health you have to be up before the sun, working the ranch. There are a lot of jobs to do whether it be administratively or physically.

It requires a lot of time.
Your ranch isn’t going to run itself right away. In fact, it may never run itself. But, especially in the beginning, you’re going to have to make sure that you are the one doing the running. You likely won’t have a lot of spare time. Once the jobs of the ranch are done for the day you will either be running to town to buy supplies, going to another farm or ranch to meet with livestock owners or settling down to work out your budget, profit and loss statements, projected income sheets and plenty of other records that you will need to keep neat and organized for when tax day comes. It may not be a whole lot of fun at first but if you can stick it out, running a ranch could become a very satisfying and rewarding way to live your life.

It requires a lot of money.
Buying a large ranch for sale in and of itself requires money of course but even after you own the ranch you will need to buy livestock, feed, equipment, machinery, tools, supplies, seed, ranch hands and more. Then of course you’ll need to check the ranch every day and pay for and do any repairs or maintenance that need to be done not only for the animals but for your equipment, living quarters or fencing. Running a ranch is much like running any time of business, there’s a constant incoming and outgoing of money. The difference is, you aren’t ever guaranteed anything. The price of livestock varies so much that if that is what you are relying on for your income, you never can be sure how much you are going to make.

It requires patience/
It’s going to take a long time. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be exhausting. At first. After a while, as you get used to the lifestyle and the way it all goes, running a ranch will get easier. But you will still have to have a lot of patience for your employees, family, yourself, your animals, your guests, your crops, your land and your ranch overall.

So, think long and hard before you go making any purchases. It’s an absolutely wonderful and successful lifestyle if you do it right. But, it could be a horrible and financially devastating mistake if you do it wrong. Talk with other ranch owners and find out what it really takes to run a ranch.

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