In regards to the starting out post.
I am certainly considered a youngster at age 28 and while Cattle aren’t my only source of income I’ve been very blessed the last two years, largely in thanks to Bud and thinking about things in a world before cattle futures, FSA loans and disaster payments. I have no debt on either land (don’t own any) or cattle and this past year all my Cows were paid for out of retained earnings.
May I also recommend two books: “Knowledge Rich Ranching” and “Pasture Profits with Stocker Cattle.” Allan Nation, the author, is a smart man, he called Bud Williams a genius and the same can apply for Gordon Hazard, the man profile in the Pasture Profits book.
Cattle are amazing animals, a Cow can survive and raise a calf on pastures that other animals cannot utilize, the greatest advantage to someone is to therefore try and make this their unfair advantage. Field crop residue, so called waste land, seep land, CRP fields coming out of the program, these can all make excellent and very cheap Cow forage.
A young person could also try and partner with an older operator who has the money, land and resources but maybe not the energy or the desire to implement management practices. How much more productive can most pasture land be with grazing and animal management? How much money can a person nearing retirement age make on a bank CD versus what they can make loaning money or partnering with you? If you can prove your ability to work with cattle, especially weaning and starting calves I would think you would be a valuable commodity since almost no one anymore seems to want to do this or know how.
I actually think the barriers to entry in ranching/cattle are very low, there are lots of nice folks, few young people it seems and lots of resources available.