* Trusting your investment to someone else, often in another state, can be cause for worry and headaches. So finding the right feedyard and manager who has the same philosophies and ideas as you can be challenging.

* Check references and visit the managers of possible feedyards. Visit with other customers of a yard, and then plan a visit to the feedyard. Visit with key personnel and evaluate the facilities. Are there sufficient wind and weather blocks, is there proper drainage, are the pens in good condition and the bunks clean?

"When you trust your money to someone else, you need to have a comfort level with the people you are feeding with," says John Cranston, general manager of Halford Cattle Co. in Colby, Kan. "Communication is vital in this type of partnership."

* Select a feedyard with similar climate. Even though cattle can adapt to their environment, a sudden change in conditions can greatly increase health problems and death loss.

* Know what a feedyard charges. Jerry Peterson, general manager of Circle E Feedlot suggests that you find out if the feedyard will finance feed and, if so, at what interest rate. Do they charge yardage, or is it billed through the feed? What is the cost of the ration?

* Ask the feedyard manager to give you an estimated cost of gain and a projected breakeven when the cattle close out.