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Starting a Livestock Business

Starting a Livestock Business

By Ayoola Olaitan
Shippers Guide is the learning page of MMS Plus newspaper. Here you learn the 5Ws and most important ‘H’ on various aspects of shipping. This week, we would take you through a detail process of how to Start up a livestock business in Nigeria. Enjoy it:
Animal husbandry or livestock farming is the business of raising and breeding farm animals for agricultural purposes and it’s thousands of years old. Animal husbandry is the breeding and raising of livestock for agricultural purposes. Consumption is the primary purpose of husbandry, with many farmers using every resource available from each animal.
Some invest in cattle for their milk production and/or to make and sell cheese, while others invest in poultry for their eggs.
Crops and animals are two primary sources of food which is why many choose to start a livestock business because of its growth potential. However, just because there is a constant demand for raised livestock and the resources these animals produce, it doesn’t mean that every attempt in livestock business will always be a success.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the growth of a livestock venture. While it is a very profitable business, it can also be one of the most taxing and demanding ventures. Before fully kick-starting a business in livestock, here are a few things to be  consider;
Know your purpose
For a livestock business to be successful, it helps that you know exactly what you want. Decide early on which animals you are starting with and which ones you will eventually be adding if things go well. This detail is essential in starting livestock farming because your purpose will determine your business needs such as equipment, location, and market.
Find the perfect location
A livestock venture, just like every other business, tends to begin small and will take time to develop. Finding a location for your business ultimately depends on whether you are aiming for a small-scale livestock business or a large farm with various animals. In choosing a location for your livestock farms, you have to consider its accessibility by transport, climate, seasonal variances and most of all, size, especially if you’re thinking of eventually adding a shearing shed for sheep or a three-sided shelter for pigs.
Examine your own abilities
The success of your own livestock farm ultimately depends on your own abilities. To be an efficient livestock farmer, you need to have a good understanding of the business practices, management strategies and techniques, and the ins-and-outs of livestock production. Attending formal training or helping in an established livestock farm before starting your own will help you gauge your own capabilities in the livestock venture.
Get your livestock equipment
Livestock farming takes more than just the perfect farm location and a fully-capable owner. The chance of your livestock business to thrive also depends on having all the required equipment in order to run your own business. Feeding equipment, water tanks, manure spreader, and livestock trailer are just some of the essential items for a fully-functioning livestock farm.
Market your products
Producing high-quality products should be your top priority but having a good marketing strategy should be a close second. Now that you are committed to this business, you need to believe in your own products, advertise, and make people aware of your business. Customers will not find you, you have to seek them. Just like every other business venture, your livestock farm will greatly benefit from a website, promotions, and advertisement.
Establishing a livestock farm requires total dedication and the ability to properly feed and care for animals. While you may enjoy being constantly with animals, livestock farmers need to be outdoors in all kinds of weather and perform physically strenuous work. This career path is not for everyone but for those who really want to do it, it is ultimately very rewarding.
Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
What are the startup and ongoing costs?
Who is your target market?
How long it will take you to break even?
What will you name your business?
What are the costs involved in opening an animal husbandry business?
As mentioned, it’s important for aspiring animal husbandry business owners to conduct thorough research regarding land availability. The size of your land, soil, and natural feed will all play an important role in the types of animals you can successfully raise. Each type of animal requires a different type of fencing, amount of land, and grass to graze on. Your county’s local extension can assist you with any prior land information that is on file. When choosing your land, it’s also important to consider future goals. While you may decide to start out small, with just a few animals, quality and quantity will define your overall success and profits. Make sure your business plan and land investment match prior to making any commitments.
Start-up costs vary depending upon a number of factors and is, therefore, difficult to define. Land and labor costs will consume the bulk of your budget, both initially and ongoing. Once you have purchased your farm, there are a few items you may need, depending upon the livestock you raise:
Tractors, fertilizer, heavy duty mower, plows, and herbicide equipment – To reduce initial start-up costs, consider purchasing used. Research will determine the specifics of which equipment is needed for your husbandry venture.
Fertilizer and herbicide
Animal feed
Animal feed bunks/troughs and watering facilities
Your land must be properly irrigated and must have enough facilities to handle the business’ operations
Refrigeration and storage for goods prior to shipment.
Managing a farm requires a great deal of running capital. Business owners are urged to explore every option when it comes to funding.
What are the ongoing expenses for an animal husbandry business?
Ongoing maintenance of a farm can prove quite costly at times, while other years your maintenance budget could be slim. Fences and buildings should be properly maintained, as should your land’s natural resources. Routine maintenance on machinery and vehicles will help reduce costly breakdowns and should be regularly budgeted for. As the business grows and needs change, some buildings may require costly renovations. For farms that raise cattle, feed costs comprise over 25% of an annual budget. Payroll expenses and insurance are also important budgetary costs that must be considered.
Who is the target market?
Target markets for animal husbandry businesses vary depending upon a number of factors. When developing your business plan, conduct thorough research to identify local market needs. Approach markets, restaurants, and health food stores.
Speak with individuals in the area. What is your region lacking and how can you fulfill those needs? Can any of your products be sold online and shipped? If so, this significantly expands your potential client pool. How will you reach each of these groups?
How does an animal husbandry business make money?
Animal husbandry businesses make money through the sale of their farm raised livestock and/or the resources the livestock produces.
How much can you charge customers?
Again, there are a number of factors that go into determining your product prices. Your fees should be based on three data points: cost of production, required profit margin, and what the market will bear.
How much profit can an animal husbandry business make?
While many farmers enter this industry to turn their passion into a business, profits can be significant. Annual profits depend upon a number of variables, including animals raises, products offered, region, size of farm, and market needs.

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