Originally Answered: What is the approx. cost of starting a beef cattle farm?
I'd look for a farm that is already selling as a beef-cattle farm, that way it saves on buying facilities, building a new house, and purchasing and building fences because they're all there already and it'll all sold with the land. It's going to cost you up into the multimillion's if you get into the point of homesteading on a new ranch-type property.
You can do one of two things: research the breeds that are selling well in your area, or find a breed or crossbreed that will work well with the type of operation you and your better half plan to manage. In NC/Virginia Angus is very popular, no doubt. Those black-baldies that someone else mentioned tend to also be very popular, but may also work better for a newbie like you, depending on what breeds they are mixed with. However I'd go with a breed that is docile and easy to manage, like Herefords, for instance. You're going to be chasing your luck if you go with commercial black-baldies, especially if those black baldies are not the crosses you are lead to believe they are. The most commonly known cross for BB's are Hereford and Angus. But now with many other breeds chasing the black fad, you can have BB's that are Simmental, or Angus-Simmental cross, Gelbvieh-Simmental cross, Maine-Anjou-Simmental cross, Simmental-Hereford cross, Gelbvieh-Hereford cross, Limousin-Hereford cross, Limousin-Simmental cross, the list goes on. With those many possibilities you can have Black baldies that are huge cows that throw big calves, cows that are a bit high-strung that you (or even I) would like, cows that need pampering (i.e., grain along with their hay/grass diet), etc. I'd go with Herefords, simply because they are the best and most docile breed to work with, plus they cross great with other breeds like Limousin, Angus, Gelbvieh, Red Angus, etc. to get calves on the market you want to target.
Don't start with 500 cows right off the bat either. Start small, with only a handful of cows to begin with, then you can start increasing your herd size little by little with heifers that you want to keep, or with more cows you wish to purchase. And don't start with heifers either, get yourself started on cows with more experience with calving, like bred cows or 3-in-1's (preg cow with calf at side). With the little experience you have right now, it's best to start "better safe than sorry" and not run into a train-wreck on your first few years of raising beefers.
With cow-calf, don't get into the purebred breeder stuff, as this will be a bit too much for you. It's totally fine to purchase registered females and use them in your commercial operation. Seedstock producers have to have much more experience with marketing and finances and even breeding the right stock to the right stock than you can even imagine. So I recommend you start out as a commercial cow-calf producer; it'll be easier planning and selling your excess stock.
There are other options to pursue as well besides going cow-calf; you can start off with backgrounding steers for the summer then selling them off in the fall. This way you gain a bit of experience with handling cattle without all the other pressures of when breed your cows, when the cows are going calve out, when to wean the calves, etc. Having stockers on your place for the first time (or however long you want) will also get you to get a feel for what to expect when buying/selling and raising/caring for cattle. Then you can decide if you want to go cow-calf or not.