December 1, 2015

Have a Business Plan for your Cattle Operation

Whether you have a large cattle herd that is your full-time job or just a few cows as a part-time venture, it’s important to treat your farm or ranch operation as a business.

Jeri Donnell with The Noble Foundation outlines the benefits and the components of a good business plan at

What do you think? Do you have a business plan for your ranch?

Comments from other readers...

  1. Bapasi Mphusu says:

    Iagree with you about having a business plan for such a venture. I am a starting cattle farmer but I do not have a business plan. I want to specialise in weaner production but I have no clue on how to start a business plan. How can you advise?

  2. Victoria Buxton says:

    Hi Bapasi,
    I too am a starting farmer in weaner production. However, in a former life my job was to develop business plans for companies so I do have one!!
    If you would like some help let me know.

  3. Robert Fears says:

    Hi Bapasi,

    The best way to start a business plan is to sit down in a quiet place and start putting your ideas on paper. Initially they don’t need to be in any particular order. Jot down ideas about why you picked this business and what you want it to be. How much profit do you want to make? How much time do you want to devote to your business? Describe your desired product and business quality. Once you have all your ideas on paper, then start fitting them into the business plan outline. You will probably have missing parts of the outline and you need to seek information for filling in the blanks.

    Another method for starting a business plan is to sit down with the family and other stake holders for a brain-storming session. Have someone take notes from which to build the plan. Some people hire a facilitator to lead the brain-storming session. A good facilitator helps keep participants focused and has the ability to ask questions that create thoughts and ideas.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to send additional questions.

  4. Duriel Harris says:

    Where can I get samples of Cattle Business plans for a Hobby or Small Breeder.

  5. Felix Sepp says:

    Dear all,
    We are very much at the beginning of the development The existing land (currently rented out) belongs already to the family.
    I understand what Robert Fears is saying and how to start a cattle ranch business. But it would certainly help a lot to have a tested frame of a business plan. Could Victoria Buxton share her business plan with us? Would be highly appreciated.
    Many thanks,

  6. A Chimienti says:

    Hi Victoria,

    My husband and I are starting a cattle company. His family has been in farming and cattle ranching for over 60 years. We are looking to apply for financing to start our own opperation and could use some help developing a business plan. We have written a business plan in the past for a different business, but were unsucessful in getting the financing we needed. Could you offer some advice or possibly an emaple of a business plan you have writtien that we could use this time around as a frame of refference?

    Thank you,

  7. H. Perkins says:

    Hi Victoria:
    I’d like to piggy-back on Angie & Felix’s request.
    My family have basically run a 100-acre cattle-farm business for decades, mostly on a subsistence basis. They are not able to manage this any longer and we the younger ones are taking over by starting from scratch, and wish to put a lot more energy and capital (with some financing) in the business. Mr.Fears is absolutely correct but a more detailed access to a plan that can be tailored to our circumstances would go a long way.
    Can you provide further detailed help in this regard?


  8. Josiah Russel says:

    Hi Victoria,

    I am interested in starting a cattle operation, taking over a family business which as been dormant for sometime. I am also looking at financing options and would appreciate you sending me a sample buiness that you may have developed that may assist to initiate plans and actions.

    Thank you


  9. Victoria-
    My 10 and 13 year old children are looking to start in cattle via our 4-H program. They will begin with bottle calves and feed them out. They do need to write business plans to get their start up financing. Can you help us with some basics for my beginners?

  10. Help.
    Isn’t there a business plan out there for a 100-acre cattle farm that I can review/utilize and then amend to suit my particular circumstances.with all the language and terminology?


  11. terry davis says:

    i to am at loss, as how to write a buss. plan. i have no idea, as to what it includes. any help would be appreciated. thank you terry

  12. If you have a sample business plan for a small cattle farm, I would be grateful if you could share it. Thanks in advance!

  13. fred myers says:

    think about your costs the land taxes, cattle purchase their vet care, the feed the salt licks the hay the mineral blocks the equipment truck tractor cattle trailer the chute your wages gasoline any help you may have to hire out the vet run and tagging the log book the protein additives the hay cutting raking bailing equipment the insurance on your cattle land vehicles the auction % costs etc where you see your company going in 5 10 years and do not show a profit until the 3rd year or you will not get funded

  14. Kelli McCall says:

    I have a livestock cash flow projection (fill in the blank) form if anyone would like it. It is at least a place to start. Email me at

  15. I too am at a loss for a business plan. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  16. mwansa .f says:

    am requesting for a business plan for cattle management and ranching.

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