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Farmers for the future: Cowboy connection

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 4:26pm

A cowboy, some horses, a herd of cattle, and wide-open spaces. There is a place in Hyannis, Nebraska, where all of these came together thanks to an agreement between a retiring rancher and an aspiring cowboy.

"In ranching it takes so much money to get started that the average young couple can't do it. They can't go out and buy or lease a ranch and stock it without really getting in way over their heads," says Don Klase, owner of Bonnifield Cattle Company.

"By setting up this arrangement with Russ and Cheryl Anderson, it gives them a chance to buy in slowly over the years," says Don.

Even though Don and his wife, Lily, have four children, their daughter, Amy, was the only one who showed interest in the business. She'd begun buying shares from her parents but decided to leave the ranch about four years ago.

At that point, Don began looking for someone else to buy a portion of his 450-head cattle company. Hearing about the opportunity, Russ approached Don.

"The funny thing is, Don told Russ he was thinking about calling him," says Cheryl.

"Russ had grown up on a ranch and had the experience," Don says. "But I also had to have someone there whose shoulder I didn't have to look over all of the time."

The Klases and Andersons agreed to a trial period in which the young couple would work on the ranch to see if they liked it or not

"You've got to like this life to do it," Don says. "We looked for someone who liked it. Russ was raised with it and understood what the life was like."

After about six months, the foursome agreed it was a good fit.

A cowboy, some horses, a herd of cattle, and wide-open spaces. There is a place in Hyannis, Nebraska, where all of these came together thanks to an agreement between a retiring rancher and an aspiring cowboy.

Don had the cattle and equipment appraised, and a legal agreement outlined the arrangement so everyone was on the same page.

"It is a great place to raise a family. We felt like we were teaching our kids good work ethics. I think it's good for kids to have some work to do," says Don.

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