Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

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Adam Freeman
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Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by Adam Freeman » Sat May 16, 2020 12:26 pm

Greetings. Just wanted to let everyone know how things are going with our new Ranch. My name is Adam Freeman and with my wife Ashley and our 3 girls and 1 boy we are getting into this new adventure full bore. A little Background. I am a soon to be retired 20 year vet from the Army. After these last 20 years I wanted to get back to my roots and become a farmer/rancher. We looked into it and with the help from my family we applied for the FSA's New Farmer Loan program. There was a ton of paperwork and we had a lot of great help from our local FSA agent Kevin. He answered all of our questions told us when we were dreaming to big and helped us to get started with something that would work and wouldn't break us financially. We ended up applying for and getting approved for funding to purchase 160 acres of land in north central Kansas near my hometown of Bennington. We were able to buy the land for 1575 an acre which was pretty much in line with the market. The FSA was also able to help us get started with an operation loan to go out and purchase our cows and bull as well as erect a Barn/ machine shed, bring power out to it and purchase a tractor. We couldn't have done any of this without the help of Kevin or our real estate agent Chris who is also a farmer.

So far we have spent the last month checking and making minor repairs to the fence as well as tearing out some old catch pens. We have been out cutting hedge post and getting ready to build fence around our eventual homesite as well as update and enlarge the remaining set of pens in order to be able to work our cattle efficiently. We ended up buying Our registered Angus bull from Gairdner Angus Ranch. We went to the local sale barn in Salina and we were able to purchase 11 cow calf pairs as well as 12 more heavy bred heifers and one older heavy bread cow. As a gift I also received a heifer from my mothers farm to help get us started. So in the end we ended up with 25 head plus 11 calves with 13 on the way and a bull.

We have the electricity being brought in by the power company this week as well as the dirt work getting started for the barn. Cows are all purchased and happy with their new home. Only thing left to do is get a decent tractor and finish out calving the remainder of our heifers. One spot of bad news so far has been the loss of one heifer that we found this morning. We are going to try and investigate what happened but there is no telling what it might be. The kids were sad about it but they all understand how life works.

If anyone has any pointers or is from the area and would like to discuss cattle or anything else I am always open to learning and helping out. I am trying to attach a few pictures from our adventures as the kids call it. Hope you all enjoy and have a blessed day.



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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by _H Ranch » Sat May 16, 2020 5:09 pm

I am happy for you. Very exciting.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by SBMF 2015 » Sat May 16, 2020 5:17 pm

Congratulations!
Your right, there is TONS of paper work with the FSA. But they sure are helpful when your trying to get started.
Never fear them, but ALWAYS respect them.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by callmefence » Sat May 16, 2020 5:47 pm

Adam Freeman wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 12:26 pm
Greetings. Just wanted to let everyone know how things are going with our new Ranch. My name is Adam Freeman and with my wife Ashley and our 3 girls and 1 boy we are getting into this new adventure full bore. A little Background. I am a soon to be retired 20 year vet from the Army. After these last 20 years I wanted to get back to my roots and become a farmer/rancher. We looked into it and with the help from my family we applied for the FSA's New Farmer Loan program. There was a ton of paperwork and we had a lot of great help from our local FSA agent Kevin. He answered all of our questions told us when we were dreaming to big and helped us to get started with something that would work and wouldn't break us financially. We ended up applying for and getting approved for funding to purchase 160 acres of land in north central Kansas near my hometown of Bennington. We were able to buy the land for 1575 an acre which was pretty much in line with the market. The FSA was also able to help us get started with an operation loan to go out and purchase our cows and bull as well as erect a Barn/ machine shed, bring power out to it and purchase a tractor. We couldn't have done any of this without the help of Kevin or our real estate agent Chris who is also a farmer.

So far we have spent the last month checking and making minor repairs to the fence as well as tearing out some old catch pens. We have been out cutting hedge post and getting ready to build fence around our eventual homesite as well as update and enlarge the remaining set of pens in order to be able to work our cattle efficiently. We ended up buying Our registered Angus bull from Gairdner Angus Ranch. We went to the local sale barn in Salina and we were able to purchase 11 cow calf pairs as well as 12 more heavy bred heifers and one older heavy bread cow. As a gift I also received a heifer from my mothers farm to help get us started. So in the end we ended up with 25 head plus 11 calves with 13 on the way and a bull.

We have the electricity being brought in by the power company this week as well as the dirt work getting started for the barn. Cows are all purchased and happy with their new home. Only thing left to do is get a decent tractor and finish out calving the remainder of our heifers. One spot of bad news so far has been the loss of one heifer that we found this morning. We are going to try and investigate what happened but there is no telling what it might be. The kids were sad about it but they all understand how life works.

If anyone has any pointers or is from the area and would like to discuss cattle or anything else I am always open to learning and helping out. I am trying to attach a few pictures from our adventures as the kids call it. Hope you all enjoy and have a blessed day.
Congratulations.. a fellow might have a fighting chance with good land that cheap. Be willing to have to make income off your land and equipment, not just selling calves. Hunting, is only one example of many possibilities.

I always cringe a little with folks starting out with heifers. Do your homework and research and be prepared. Get your heifers as easy to handle as you can and don't make the common new guy mistake of overfeeding.
It's not usually hard to pull a calf, but you do need to have a clue. make sure you do.

Good luck.
Support your local hardworking white boy.




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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by TCRanch » Sun May 17, 2020 7:52 am

Congrats on the progress and the Gardner bull! You're a couple hours north of me. If you plan on leaving the bull in and calving year 'round I'd make sure to have shelter for our patchy, brutal winters - calves with frozen ears don't do well at the sale barn.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by BFE » Sun May 17, 2020 7:58 am

Congratulations to you and your family! My wife's sister and her husband recently bought a house and a few acres near Bennington, so maybe you and I can get together when we make it out to Kansas for our visits. BIL manages the Scoular elevator in Salina, SIL works for the Kansas state Department of Agriculture.

I have friends in Emporia at Badger Creek Ranch. Glen Woodrow is from my area, knows cattle very well (bred the Simmental bulls Rendition and Trademark). His son Clint manages the ranch, Glen works there in his "retirement". Glen will shoot you straight.

Without seeing your operation, my only advice is to get set up for some type of rotational grazing. The grass will go much farther, and it will be better for the soil. Also, look into unrolling hay to build soil, you can do this with a UTV or four wheeler with the right unroller.

Enjoy it. You'll make plenty of mistakes along the way, but use them to learn, and keep your head up. It is a labor of love, or insanity!

Edit: thank you for your service to our country!

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by MurraysMutts » Sun May 17, 2020 11:18 pm

Congratulations and welcome aboard!
Love it when a plan comes together.
It's nice to hear from someone new with a passion to go get em!
Crossbred for high bread vinegar....

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by BlondeD » Tue May 19, 2020 12:56 am

Progress so far.....great to hear. Research a lot on this site......then research again. Be ready for the ups and downs, both weather and herd health wise. But quickly learn to grow and manage grass......that's you main resource...IMHO

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by Adam Freeman » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:11 pm

Been a busy few weeks for us. We got hay stored and the new Barn built. Finished the fence around where the home place will be and got most of the junk and old crap cleaned up. Next is building a windbreak/ shade for the cattle and working on electricity installed throughout the barn . I will be doing all the interior then have a pro come out and hook it to the main line. We are also working on the design and building of our working facilities as well. I found a guy that has 12 foot long telephone poles to use for my post. at 7 bucks a pop that is a pretty good deal. Trying to decide between sucker rod or continuous fence panels for it as well. As for the cows everyone is doing great and we have a total of 17 calves on the ground with 5 more to go. these last 5 and the one we had two days ago are from my 6 registered angus heifers. Trying to decide if we should keep the heifer calves or just sell them next spring. We are still sitting at 23 cows and a bull plus the 17 calves. Have not had anymore losses since that crappy two day spread where we lost the heifer and calf while calving and the other calf to coyotes. Hope all is well with everyone else and praying the markets come back some by next spring.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by farmerjan » Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:17 pm

Glad to hear that you are progressing along and that things have gone pretty well.
You have plenty of time to decide what to keep/sell as far as replacements go. Registered is nice..... but a good cow that raises a good calf is priceless. Unless you are thinking purebred replacement cattle.... a registration paper is not a guarantee to "making money"... It is a nice extra in some cases. Realize that there are also ......LOTS and LOTS of people with "registered bulls " for sale all the time, so that is not the market for you to be pushing for, until and if, you get some years and a good reputation behind you.
Please understand, I am not trying to discourage you. But there seems to be a mindset with some "new farmers/ranchers" that selling a few purebred bulls is a way to "get rich" in the cattle business. Yeah, there are bulls that sell for 10-15,000 dollars and do make some money, but it is reputation that sells bulls and it takes a bit to develop them too. There are several good breeders here and they can tell you all about it.
All that said, it sounds like you are doing a good job of trying to put this together right, and doing what needs doing without getting yourself blinded by shiny equipment and all that. I applaud you for trying to build from the ground up. And having family to "help" is great too.

Coyotes are the scourge..... we have lost a few calves over the years too. And everyone has had a problem heifer at some time in their life. Just glad that you also realize that you do the best you can, but it is part of life. You try to minimize that "part".

Since this craziness with the c-virus and all, you might want to explore the possibility of "freezer beef" to sell as a good way to make a little more profit from the operation. We run a pretty good sized operation, and are not hearing too promising a future late this fall or next year. We are exploring our options at this point too, and may be selling calves off a little sooner this fall; and keeping some for beef sales as we are getting all sorts of inquiries. With slaughter dates a full year off now, it is scary. I think that I am going to schedule at least one a month for the rest of NEXT YEAR.... there will be plenty of people to take any cancellations.

Hope that you are getting some rain and that your pastures are holding up. We are in a pocket where it has been dry, with some gully washers, in a 10-25 mile area around us. Hay has been light for first cutting in some fields, hoping for better 2nd if we get some water. Best of luck with the remaining heifers.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by Adam Freeman » Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:47 pm

Farmer Jan thanks for the input. We are definitely not going to try and become a purebred breeder anytime soon. But saying that I could not pass up a good deal on some papered first time heifers from a good ranch here in Kansas. We are not in the position to really keep anything back this next few years but if we get lucky we might keep the heifer calves off those 6 papered girls. this first calf is a beauty and came out just dandy. So time will tell.

As for the freezer beef. I already have a few co-ops asking when i can get a butcher date and bring them in some beef to sale. I have been looking into it and doing a fair bit of research on it. I already have 2 cows marked for cull and depending on the market they will be going to the butcher if prices don't come up. One produced a small calf and she doesn't seem to be making much milk either and the other is the one that abandoned her calf and the yotes got to it before I could get back out there. Got my name on a list for an opening next spring for beef so that is a ways down the road.

We have been doing great with the rain the pasture is looking very well and green with lots of grass. So far we have got 50 bales of Oat and 50 of Brome stocked up for the coming winter. Found a lead on some Prairie Hay as well and I am on the list when he cuts it sometime in the next few weeks. Hopefully I can get some land rented and put up my own hay next year but time and finances will tell.

Coyotes are my main target this fall when trapping season opens and we always have a rifle in the truck. I don't see them on our place much just tracks in the mud after a rain and hear them at night have heard three different packs going nuts at night while out there working. also have several other farmers that want me to come set up their places and try to knock them back some they are thick out here saw 3 in one da driving the 7 miles from town out to my place.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by farmerjan » Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:22 pm

Our cull cow market here has been up, in the $.50-75 / lb for cows going through the market. That isn't too bad a return, if she is in good flesh 60's and 70's has been common. I would ship them now, and either replace with another cow or 2 or just let the extra grass accumulate in case of drier conditions. And congrats on getting the registered heifers. They are probably a nice group to work with if they are that "pampered". Except that my friendly heifers are a PITA to try to drive anywhere.... gotta have a bucket. Most of the time that is good though.

Biggest problem you might have with retaining some heifers, is having enough places....and space between.... to keep them and the bulls far enough apart when everyone starts feeling their "cheerios"....

Sounds like you are doing great. Keep us up on things.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by Groundup » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:06 am

Awesome post! I am a little east of you in Geary County currently working as herdsman at a local dairy. You said you are about to retire from the Army are you stationed at Riley? I got out a couple of years ago my wife is still in but is going to ETS after her tour in Korea we are looking to start our own farm/ranch in either Saline or Dickinson county have you found any services that are geared towards vets trying to get into Ag in the area? Sorry for the long post pretty excited to hear someone relatively close accomplishing what I am trying to do myself.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by Adam Freeman » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:34 am

Groundup I have been looking at the SAVE Farm program there in Riley County. They work mainly with vets getting them into farming and ranching. You can use your GI Bill for it and it gets you some certs and classes they are working with K-State as well as Manhattan Tech. I was on recruiting Duty my last 4 years before that i spent 3 years in Alaska and 7 at Riley and 6 at Bragg. I have been looking for work while on Terminal Leave and debating school as well but with Covid not sure how well that will work. I have been also looking into Cloud County CC they have some really nice programs as well. Also North Central Kansas Tech has a good Ag equipment repair program I have been looking at to possibly work at an ag dealership as well as on my own equipment. if you need more info or would like to shoot the breeze let me know. What was your MOS I am 13B Artilleryman by the way.

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Re: Progress so far with the FSA and our new Ranch

Post by Groundup » Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:41 pm

Nice i was a 12W I heard of that SAVE Farm we hired a guy out of that program to help milk he lasted a whole hour and left lol. Im using my GI bill to major in Ag business through Fort Hays its online so I can still work at the farm. I looked at cloud myself and will have to check out North Central I dont get much wrench time with my current job.

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