Betting on Bessie
For someone looking to jump into the beef industry, now might be the time. In Alberta, calf and cattle prices have fallen significantly, dropping around 40 per cent since last year. That’s bad news for current cattle producers, but for an investor looking to buy low, it’s an ideal opportunity to take stake in the Alberta cattle industry. And you don’t have to be a farmer to do so.
An investor can purchase cattle and have a farmer manage them at their feedlot for a fee. Or, an investor can purchase a percentage of cattle owned and managed by a cattle producer, like Ryan Copithorne, a fourth generation Alberta rancher west of Bragg Creek. Copithorne runs Cows in Control Marketing Group, a network of cow-calf producers. “I have partners that work with me where I run cows and calves,” he says. “They are passive investors.”
Despite current low prices, cattle can make for a lucrative investment. Cattle are a liquid asset that can quickly appreciate in value each year if an investor purchases a cow and a calf. “She is going to produce a calf every year,” Copithorne says. “She is a cash-flowing asset.” While there are many nuances to the cattle business, simply investing in livestock is not that complicated. “You just have to find the right manager to look after them for you,” Copithorne says.