What are some of the things to consider before deciding to start a ranch? I have previously heard that the type, location, and size are important considerations. What is the least amount a farmer can spend?
Consider what your end goal is and start small. Do you want to raise dairy cows or beef cows? Is this going to be a cattle and/or sheep operation? Are you going to board horses? Will you run it as a vacation place for the city folk? Your expenses will depend on what you're planning to do with it. In my opinion, I think beef cattle is the easiest to start with, but that's what I grew up doing so maybe I'm biased.
The size and types are very much depending on the number and types of cows you want to have. Some other things you might also want to think about is having a nice containment system. It’s very important especially because of the dirts that dairy farms always create.
I'd add that geographic location does make a difference as it can change how many animals a pasture (if used) can sustain on it's own. There's big difference in animals/acre between what I've seen here in the southeast, what can be done out in the the southwest, and even in the upper midwest.
Decide what you want to do before anything else. Then, look at what you can afford. Remember, income doesn't happen immediately, only expenses. When looking for land, consider the weather, suitability for your purpose, marketing distance, and happiness. If you're happy, your animals are probably going to be content as well. Best wishes.