The urge to return to the land and make a living in some type of farming or ranching endeavor is an increasingly popular one, particularly among America's younger generations. In fact, according to recent information published by the agricultural industry, the millennial generation is expected to step in and fill the void left as 80 percent of the older baby boomer generation begin to age out and retire from farming and ranching. If you are one of these up-and-coming farmers and ranchers of the future, here are some tips for helping you find the right property for your needs.
Sufficient cleared and improved acres of pasture for grazing livestock should always be a prime consideration when the intent is purchasing ranch property. Land that can offer lush, resilient grazing for the number of livestock your operation will need to maintain is the key to cutting feed and supplement costs while still being able to produce the number of cattle for sale needed to earn a profit. The seller may be willing to offer you information on their current stocking rates and how weather and other factors typically influence that number. If not, you should be able to find average information for the area through the county extension office.
In addition to stocking rates for livestock, you will also need to learn as much as you can about the soil quality of each ranch you are considering. In addition to any available soil testing data, it is important to have information such as:
- when the soil was last fertilized
- the type and amount of fertilizer and soil amendments that have been used
- whether the land has previously been or could be made suitable for organic farming certification
If the land will be used for grazing cattle or other large livestock, it is also important to obtain information about any known soil issues that may affect the health of animals kept on the property.
The recent droughts experienced across large areas of the nation are have made water availability a topic of concern in the agricultural community, especially for those who are currently looking for ranch land to purchase. If possible, buyers will want to choose properties that have a mix of potable water sources, including drilled or artesian wells, springs, year-round creeks and streams, lakes, ponds, and water catchment infrastructure.
Shopping for the right ranch property can be a long, difficult process. Opting to work with a real estate professional who handles ranch land sales is an excellent way to improve the process and your chances of success.