How do ranchers make money?

If you are interested in animal agriculture, you may wonder: How do ranchers make money?

In short, ranchers raise livestock to sell. A ranch may raise cattle, pigs, sheep, ducks, goats, and more. Usually, ranchers make money from the sale of each cow or other livestock.

Ranchers can predict how much meat each cow will produce by determining the hanging weight vs live weight. The hanging weight is the weight of the cow carcass after a butcher has slaughtered, cleaned, and processed it. It is usually around 60% of the live weight of the cow.

ranchers make money selling cattle

How to sell meat to the public

If you want to sell meat from your farm or ranch, you’ll need to pass USDA inspection. You must have the meat properly slaughtered, processed, and labeled according to USDA specifications. Some states require additional licensing for selling meat to the public.

The University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources website offers a comprehensive guide for selling meat.

But selling cattle and meat aren’t the only available source of income for ranchers. There are many animals ranchers can breed for products other than meat.

Most Profitable Livestock

  • Cattle
  • Chicken
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Pigs
  • Pekin ducks
  • Honeybees
  • Rabbits

The most profitable sheep breeds include Dorper, Suffolk, and Romanov.


How do ranchers make money? More sources of income

There are additional income streams for ranchers. These include processing milk products like goat milk, sheep’s milk, goat cheese, and yogurts, offering ranch tours and agriculture classes, selling fresh eggs and honey, and producing wool and down. Ranchers can even rent out their goats for lawn care services.

Can you sell deer meat?

You can sell meat from the livestock you raise, but not from game you hunt.

For example, you will not be able to sell deer meat. Selling venison you procured yourself is illegal.

Once you have passed inspection and properly labeled your ranch products, you can sell direct to consumer with a free Airmart shop.