South Dakota Angus Producer Gets Creative in Jump-Starting Dream of a Registered CowherdTue, 28 Mar 2017 17:17:35 CDT
The price of land and cattle these days can be discouraging for young people trying to get a foothold, but a South Dakota Angus rancher says dreams can come true.
“I think if you're realistic with what you want to accomplish, really anything is possible whether it's a club calf operation or registered Angus operation, a feed lot,” said Brandon Peterson, of Peterson Angus near Alcester, S.D. “Take your time, build slowly, build off the life experiences you either have or gain more and grow yourself into it. Doors will open the further you get into the industry.”
Now at the helm of a 350-cow registered Angus operation, Peterson says it started when his father agreed to start the purebred enterprise while his son worked off-farm jobs.
“My dad was home - I could hire him or pay him yardage to feed our cattle,” he said, “to take care of our cattle, put him in those pens, put him in the pens that I grew up playing in and doing other things when I was a kid.”
It’s an option that could work for other young people, he says. Family may have no long-term interest, but if they can get it started, the next generation can step in later.
“It gave us that opportunity, it gave us that place without having to own lots of land,” Peterson said. “It gave us that ability to get chores done without having to own a tractor, it gave us something to grow into, something to expand from and to really just get going, get that foothold, whether it's selling one bull a year or one hundred bulls a year it gave us that foothold in the industry to build a customer base and continue to test the waters and see if it's something that we can do.
For Peterson, it was just what he wanted to do. He credits much of the success, however, to a focus on carcass quality.
“You've got to begin with your end in mind. You need to know who your customer is but not just who your customer is. It's not the person buying that bull, it's who's the end user, it needs to trace back through the chain, our product needs to be delicious, needs to be safe, and we need to be able to repeat it time and time again, so we need to start with the consumer, even if we're selling two bulls a year,” Peterson concluded. “At the end of the day everything we do is going to get consumed by someone and it needs to be a positive eating experience in order to drive beef demand and help all of us out or pretty soon we don't have a place in this industry because someone can and someone will do it better.”
To watch a video featuring Brandon Peterson, of Peterson Angus near Alcester, S.D., talk about ways to get creative when starting a registered cowherd, click or tap the PLAYBOX below.
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