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Starting on a Path of His Own

Bradyn Ward begins building his herd and his future.

It’s 3:00pm, and Bradyn Ward (Cheyenne River Sioux) is getting off work at his full-time job in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Instead of going home like most people, his passion is driving him an hour away to his second job – a beef cattle operation. After working on his stepdad’s cattle operation most of his life, Bradyn took the leap and began his own operation early this year.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. We’d been talking about it for a couple of years, and my stepdad was going to give me the grass to do it,” says Bradyn.

Utilizing a loan from Akiptan as seed capital, he purchased 26 head of bred cows from a dispersion sale as well as a stock trailer to transport the cattle.

“It was a pretty easy process,” Bradyn reflects on working with Akiptan.

Bradyn’s first calving season began in April, and he says it went really well. He plans to keep back the heifers so his herd will be all home-raised, rather than purchasing more cows at the sale barn. For now, his cows are on his stepdad’s range unit, but as he continues to grow his herd, he expects to move to his own tract of land within the next 5-10 years.

“Right now, I’m getting my own start. I’m going to keep growing and hopefully get my own range unit and build a little homestead – my own place,” says Bradyn of his future plans.

Bradyn’s dream is to retire from his regular job and become a full-time rancher. He sees this being possible within the next 20 years as he grows his herd to 150 head. Beyond that, his end goal is to run a successful 200-250 head operation.

“Now that I’ve bought my own cows, it makes me want to do it more. I like seeing stuff grow. I want to be around it all the time,” explains Bradyn.
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