See advice on starting a Florida cattle ranch from the South Florida Beef-Forage Program Article-of-the-Month.

Florida is a major cattle state, operating mostly as a cow-calf state. The Sunshine State has a unique environment that means starting a cattle operation in Florida will be different than most other states. The South Florida Beef-Forage Program Article-of-the-Month offers advice on starting a Florida cattle ranch. See the details below.

Steps to Starting a Florida Cattle Ranch

The following steps to starting a Florida cattle ranch are from the South Florida Beef-Forage Program Article-of-the-Month:

  1. Conduct market research and build a business plan: Carry out thorough market research on the industry, including the types of cattle that thrive in Florida’s climate and soil type, the market demand, and the necessary regulations for operating a ranch. Create a detailed business plan outlining your goals, strategies, and budget. Do not blow off doing a business plan. Your disgruntled family, your meager bank account, and your (working) retirement years could be daily long-term reminders of a poor decision.”
  2. Find Land: Look for suitable land to purchase or lease. Consider the location, soil quality, past use history, access to water sources, and zoning restrictions. Florida’s sandy soils and dry winters can be a challenge for growing forage to feed your herd. Attend UF/IFAS Extension training offered through South Florida Beef Forage program,, and use evidence-based resources that address winter supplementation, forage management, herd health and other cattle management topics.”
  3. “Build Facilities and get equipment: Construct the necessary facilities for your ranch, including barns, fencing, watering systems, and cow pens for handling cattle for health treatments and for sorting. This will require working with contractors and obtaining necessary permits. Plan well. Be creative. Share facilities and equipment with like-minded ranchers. Not everyone needs a squeeze chute or a livestock trailer, especially at start up.”
  4. “Purchase Livestock: Select the appropriate breeds that are well-suited for Florida’s climate and for your purpose. Purchase healthy reputable stock. You get what you pay for, like most instances in your life.:
  5. “Plan for how work will get done: Will you or your family do it all or will you need to hire day workers when needed? Make sure time demands and employment legal issues are planned in advance. Make sure the ‘who will do the work?’ question is answered and that your spouse, children, 3rd cousin or neighbor agree if their name appears on the list.”
  6. “Market Your Products: Develop a marketing plan for your animals or your meat products. Make sure processing facilities are available if you want to sell value-added products. Determine if you will sell to institutions or direct to consumer. Understand FDACS regulations. How will you establish connections and develop a brand and reputation? Sales and Marketing take time and money and social skills. Who on your team has these skill sets?”
  7. “Be a continuous learner. Attend industry conferences, workshops, and educational programs to stay up-to-date. Continue to consult with those Extension specialists, consultants and experienced ranchers mentioned in paragraph one.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions -or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.