Ranching has a long history in the USA, and has influenced everything from the way we eat to men’s fashion trends. Ranching has faced tough times and an uncertain future for about a decade now, but according to the USDA, ranching operations are proving tough to push over – and in some cases, are even growing. There are new opportunities for men to find their way out in the wilder parts of the country and start rearing their own livestock herds – if they have what it takes.
The first thing to consider is, of course, the monetary cost of setting up a ranch. There’s a big competitor in the modern ranch and land industry, and that’s private citizens – the opportunity to buy huge tracts of lands and use them for luxury secluded housing, is something not lost on the super-rich. It’s why, according to USA Today, Jeff Bezos is the USA’s biggest landowner. Ranches remain affordable, however, especially when considering subsidies: the federal government continue to pay money to help would-be ranchers afford the cost of their land, in exchange for raising crops and livestock.
The cowboy lifestyle
Farm work is hard but rewarding. The WWF covered a day in the life of one new rancher in South Dakota, and the work is difficult. It’s physical, tiring, and often lonely – you can find yourself without any company for miles around, completing some much-needed maintenance on the frontier of your ranch. Being physically and mentally prepared for the challenge is important.
Better than the city?
Ranchers face an entirely different set of problems to city-dwellers. A 2019 study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that farmers typically reported stress for practical reasons: financial difficulties, climate variability, and poor physical health or injury. Conversely, many of the problems facing urban dwellers are more esoteric in nature. The lifestyle on a ranch is completely different, and will come with its own set of absolutely valid pressures; those looking to make the switch should be aware of this and prepare properly.
If you have the physical strength, the resilience of mental health, and the financial resources, there have been few better times to become a rancher. Ranching is difficult work, but in huge demand at the current moment. You have the opportunity to make a real difference.