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Feedback From Kijiji

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the Kijiji ad that I posted. The feedback was interesting. One rancher pointed out that “The cost to purchase cows or calves is only a small part of total cost, example; fuel, feed, range fees, horses to handle cattle, equipment to feed and handle cattle”. Another said “a sticking point however, will be giving the beef farmer value for his or her participation in a timely manner ie while he is supplying the pasture, water, fence maintenance, animal care etc., long before there is any beef to sell to anyone. access to cash and cash flow is a big issue for beef farmers”.

Those are fair comments. I understand that there are hidden costs in a business, and that part of success in a venture entails nailing down the hidden costs.

Some of those costs would vary depending on what we end up doing. A couple ranchers advised that growing a herd is time consuming and labor intensive. One suggested buying dairy cow bull calves and raising them. I actually did that years ago in Central America and it worked fine, but I’m not sure about the application here. When I did it the calf ranged over a 14 hectare fenced parcel and required next to zero care.

It seems clear that the first step is to decide whether we’re building a herd or just raising some calves. Unless I learn differently I’m leaning toward raising calves. Assuming they are born around, say, April, and we raise them for 18 months, we could start next spring and slaughter them in the fall of 2015.

The next question is where we raise them. It seems that we can raise cattle on a single acreage, or raise them with a combination of privately held acreage and open range. I’m also not clear if we can buy calves and turn them out onto open range without their mothers.

Open range entails range fees, and those fees would have to be factored into the costs. Range feeding allows acreage to be used for hay cultivation for the winter, while raising cattle on a single piece of land would restrict that, leading to higher feed costs (I assume). I’m not sure which method is best, so I’ll need some input on that.

Another important question is how many cattle to raise. Costs are fixed and variable. Generally speaking, the more cattle we raise the lower the per unit fixed cost. However, there are upper limits. We need to determine a workable number.

It is important to note that this project does not involve raising cattle to sell. Rather it involves bringing partners together to raise their own cattle for their own use. Rather than investing with an eye to turning a profit in the future we would be figuring out the initial cost of buying the stock and costs of raising them. The advantage to the primarily consuming/urban partners is the meat. The benefit to the rancher is security and a potential hedge against the market.

I’m posting this in order to start a dialogue with interested parties, and if you’re reading this there is a pretty good chance you’re one of the people who responded to my original Kijiji ad. Feel free to direct feedback directly to me at rob@robchipman.net or in the comments below.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around renaissance man based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, playing guitar and hockey, real estate and the Chilcotin. My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.


One Response to “Feedback From Kijiji”

  1. grant smith, balmoral farms says:

    hi rob, thanks for including my feedback in your summary above. yes, I am interested in this idea, so where to next?? grant smith, balmoral farms,sorrento bc

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