No Risk Ranching: Custom Grazing on Leased Land
Greg Judy was forced to liquidate his cow herd to pay debt in 1996. By the end of the following year he was dead broke and figured the family farm was history. A quote from Allan Nation, editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer magazine changed his whole view of ranching. Nation said, "Your sole purpose should be not to own the land, but to make a living from the land."
Inspired by that approach, Judy started looking for idle, non-developed pastureland. By focusing on leasing rather than owning land, his grazing operation grew from 40 stockers to 1100 head. By custom grazing on leased land he was able to pay his entire farm and home loan within three years. Today he has four farms and leases 12.
No Risk Ranching, Custom Grazing on Leased Land describes how he found and managed his first and subsequent leases. He offers a detailed guide for other graziers to follow on how to find idle land to lease; calculate the cost of a lease; draft and write a land lease contract (with examples included); develop good water and portable fencing on leased land; promote wildlife and improve timber stands; keep accurate records and more.
No Risk Ranching was written to help other graziers from making the same mistakes Judy made. He writes, "I am convinced that in the USA our pastures are one of our most underutilized natural resources. I am not against land ownership. I just feel like it is an awful hardship on a new blooming grazing business."
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