Schemes for Surviving Low Cattle Prices
A couple years ago I purchased my first herd of cattle. The market was booming at the time, and I spent my days counting my calves, twirling my mustache with a greedy grin, and imagining myself becoming a wealthy and powerful cattle baron.
However, before I could purchase a golden scepter befitting one of my noble standing, the bottom fell out of the market. Cattle prices plummeted, and suddenly I wasn’t so much of a baron as I was the pox-ridden peasant that cleans out the royal chamber pot.
After several sleepless nights fretting over my half-price herd, I decided to face the problem head on and come up with a solution to recover my lost profits. Preparing for an all-night brainstorming session, I brewed a pot of coffee, fired up my laptop, and put on my Writing Pants.
(Author’s Note: Writing Pants = No Pants. The greatest perk being a writer is the ability work untroused. And to think, my father wanted me to be a lawyer. Who’s the disappointment now, Dad!?!)
What follows is a list of moneymaking schemes I wrote during that sleep deprived brainstorming session. You’re welcome to use any of these to help supplement your own cattle income. However, the author is not responsible for any legal, physical, or emotional damages that might occur while implementing said schemes.
11:14 PM + 1 Cup of Coffee
Scheme #1: Marketing Strategy
Marketing is like a pair of brass knuckles on the fist of business. Your business may pack quite the punch on its own, but you’ve got to slip on the cold, unfeeling metal of marketing if you really want to knock out some teeth.
(Author’s Note: The teeth would represent your customers, I guess? The analogy kinda got away from me there.)
A simple shift in marketing strategy may help you turn a heftier profit. Capitalizing on whatever health craze is currently sweeping the nation has always been a tried and true marketing strategy.
For instance, grab a pair of clippers and shave all your cows. Voila! They’re now marketable as “Hypoallergenic and Dander-Free.”
Or just walk into the field and inspect your cows. Are they made of wheat? No? Then congratulations, you can proudly advertise them as “Gluten Free Beef.”
For a more aggressive strategy, cut out the middleman and sell your beef directly to the grocery stores. Then, late in the night break into those stores and use a label maker to remove the letter “g” from all the Certified Angus Beef products. Soon, you’ll be outselling one of the most successful beef brands in history.
12:11 AM + 3 Cups of Coffee
Scheme #2: Advertising
Billboards have been around since the first industrious caveman hung a sign that read, “Hot Deals at Grog’s Fire Factory!” And they’ve changed very little since, only becoming flashier and more annoying. That is, until now…
I give you, The Bullboard!
Think about it. While cattle are lumbering around grazing and pooping, each one possesses several square feet of prime advertising real estate on their sides that’s just going to waste. You could simply rent that space to companies and slap their ads right on the side of your cows.
This idea could even stretch into the show ring. NASCAR drivers have corporate logos on their cars, and they drive too fast for people to even read them most of the time. It should be a cinch to get sponsors to advertise on slow moving show cattle.
Mark my words. One glorious day you’ll see a bull led into a show ring with “VIAGRA” printed in big bold letters on his side.
1:22 AM + 5 Cups of Coffee
Scheme #3: A Dude Ranch
People are always forking over good money to be miserable, just look at your local gym or Red Lobster. Why not cash in on some of that sweet, lucrative misery by opening a Dude Ranch?
A dude ranch is a place that charges customers of questionable sanity for the experience of working on a ranch. These usually involve cattle drives and other cowboy stuff, but I don’t see why you couldn’t run a similar business-plan/scam on your smaller farm. Just imagine people paying you just for the privilege of working. Hey, if it works for the U.S. Government, it could work for you too.
You could even market it as a summer camp for children. Parents will gladly cough up some dough to ditch their little burdens for a week or two as long as you promise to teach their kids the value of a hard day’s work. Sure, the children’s tiny hands and lack of tractor driving skills may cut into the efficiency of your cattle operation. However, those plucky kids will more than make up for that with their boundless energy and complete ignorance of child labor laws.
2:04 AM + 7 Cups of Coffee
Scheme #4: Running of the Bulls
Giving back to your community always feels nice and certainly doesn’t hurt business. Why not bring a little culture to your community by starting your town’s first annual Running of the Bulls? It wouldn’t take much overhead since you already have the livestock. You wouldn’t even have to advertise it much. Just release the bulls in town square, and I guarantee your fellow citizens will join right in with the festivities. Running from bulls catches on pretty quickly like that.
Unfortunately, some folks can’t recognize the makings of a grand tradition when they see it, and some of the fussier and less spry of the community may ruin the Running of the Bulls for everybody.
(Author’s Note: You’re always foiling my schemes, Grandma!)
But fret not, you can salvage the day by segueing into my next scheme…
2:32 AM + 8 Cups of Coffee
Scheme #5: Bank Robbery
If watching dozens of sappy westerns has taught me anything, it’s that stampedes make fantastic distractions while robbing banks. If your cattle are in town from the botched Running of the Bulls, most of your work is already finished.
I’ll admit, I haven’t exactly worked out the logistics of this scheme, like where to hire a gang of banditos or how to roundup your herd once all the thievery and stampedery is complete. To be honest, this brainstorming has slowed to a brain-drizzle. I probably just need more coffee.
2:59 AM + 11 Cups of Coffee
Scheme #6: Innovation
INVENT CAFFEINATED COWS!
3:26 AM + 11 Cups of Coffee + 3 Laps around House + 1 Soft Cry into Pillow
Scheme #7: Time Travel
Time travel is pretty complicated, so you’ll need to befriend a mad scientist or Time Lord. Those sorts can usually be found driving DeLoreans or hanging out in blue phone booths. After gaining his trust and hopefully a sweet hover-board, implement a clever ruse to steal his time machine.
(Author’s Note: I’ve heard stampedes are great for thievery.)
Once you’ve procured a time machine, paint a calf gold and travel back in time several thousand years until you find some Hebrews wandering the desert. Eventually they’ll get bored and start worshiping the golden calf. Sell to them for a hefty profit. Watch out for the guy coming off the mountain though. He might throw a stone tablet at you.
4:45 AM + 13 Cups of Coffee
Scheme #7.5: Time Travel Again
Upon further reflection, conning Biblical figures may be construed as a frivolous use of a time travel, if not downright evil. So, restart the time machine, then just travel back to when cattle prices were high and sell your entire herd. Of course, that’ll mean future you no longer owns any cows, leaving you no reason to steal a time machine and thus making it impossible that you traveled back in time in the first place. This will create a paradox causing the very fabric of time to rip and the universe to implode in on itself.
This probably won’t improve your profits much, but at least you won’t need to worry about low cow prices anymore. Plus, maybe then I’ll finally get some sleep.
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