It's a good time to be in the cattle business. I hear or read that statement a lot these days. And it's absolutely true. Cattle, even not so good cattle, are worth a lot of money these days. And there are a lot of people making a lot of money in quite a few different ways in the cattle business right now. And I think that's great....well, I'd be hypocritical if I said anything different now, wouldn't I?
But to be honest, money isn't why I ranch. I coined a phrase the other day that pretty much sums up my thoughts on the deal. "Some people ranch to make money. I make money to ranch." I don't care nearly as much about having money in the bank as I do those cows out there making it. I would do what I do if I didn't get paid to do it. But of course, you can't do anything without the money to make it happen...that's just the way the world works. It takes a lot of money to make it happen too....so don't think for one second that I don't get how the world operates or that I don't like the things money can buy. I absolutely do.
I can't say it isn't nice when you get that paycheck for a load of calves that did well. Because it surely is. But seeing those calves from the time they are born until the day they get on that truck, to me anyway, that's what makes my job worthwhile. Seeing that first calf heifer that I bred and raised, spit out a calf and jump up and go to mothering it, makes my heart swell with pride. And seeing that calf grow up and become a good, big, soggy calf that is the type I'm trying to raise, knowing that's the genetics and the planning that I have done.....well, I sometimes get tears in my eyes when I look at them. Matt says I get a different smile on my face when I am looking at my cattle. I don't doubt that for a second.
Of course we have land payments and feed and all sorts of other big expenses, that if you aren't in the cattle business would probably make your eyes pop out of your head when you see the big checks we have to write to pay for things. Things aren't cheap and I don't suppose they will get any cheaper. Unlike cattle, which, will probably get cheaper once supply catches up with demand. It's how economics works. Not much you can do about that.
But those of us who are in it for the long haul, whether it's because we love what we do or we love making money, or both, it doesn't really matter. We will tighten our belts if need be and do what we need to do to keep doing what we want to do. Make no mistake, there are those who will get out...either just at the right time, or too late, for the money making. Some are in this business strictly to make money and more power to them, I guess. Some people love money. I just love what I do. There's a peace that a person gets when they know they're where they're supposed to be doing what they're supposed to do. My days aren't always peaceful, but at the end of the day, when I lay down to sleep, I have that peace. I am content. It's a good feeling.