Cows and Cattle
Dairy farming is a very hard occupation, and I wouldn’t suggest anyone who is considering an agricultural life. My article on dairy farming can be found here
Everyone Shout Moo
If one has the pasture, one could start small with beef cattle. If you have no experience with cattle, it isn’t something you learn on the fly. I’d suggest you spend a year studying under someone with experience. Learn what they do and why. There are long periods of time when you don’t need to do anything with them, but when you need to do something with them you need to pay attention.
The fencing and equipment requirements for beef come at a high price. You don’t want you beef escaping, nor do you want to handle their hay by hand.
You need to understand their herd mentality. You need to be able to translate their body language. You need to physically assess their condition.
Fortunately beef cattle don’t need shelter. In fact they get sick when confined indoors. They need to be outdoors in the heat, cold, rain and snow.
What they need is lots of forage and water. Grain is an option because some cattlemen are selling grass fed beef. Grain will fatten beef. This is why beef are often put on grain a month before they are sold for slaughter.
If you plan to get into beef production you will be able to sell a run of the mill steer for a couple thousand dollars, but if you get into better breeds like Angus or Limosen you can see your profits increase dramatically. There are also small breeds you can get into but they don’t return much money at all.
There is a lot to learn in the beef industry, and unless you have someone to guide you through your first two years, you may want to consider a different investment.