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Old 03-25-2009, 05:26 PM
 
Location: MIA
1,335 posts, read 3,320,035 times
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There has always been something in me that wanted to move West and enjoy life on my own private corner of the world.

I would like to eventually own a ranch, move my gun collection to the ranch, buy a couple big trucks, maybe start a herd of some kind, and simply enjoy life. How can I better research what would best suit my interests in Wyoming?

As stated in the OP, are there tracts of land for sale that have pasture, prarie, forest, and even creeks or rivers running throught them? Are the nicest lands in Wyoming all taken up by national parks? Can I buy an awesome ranch for like $500-$2000 an acre?

Thanks,

Cuba L.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,728 posts, read 18,794,477 times
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Yeah, you could get some pretty nice land if you're willing to pay $2000/acre for 1000 acres. Here's one 240-acre "ranch" that I know of. The asking price works out to $2,631/acre. No streams, but it would make a nice "gentleman's ranch". Devil's Tower acreage
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:36 PM
 
Location: MIA
1,335 posts, read 3,320,035 times
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That looks beautiful. Even though I am currently a city dweller, my background lies firmly in rural life/culture. 4x4 trails, snowmobiling, and "shootouts" used to be my favorite passtimes. Grilling meat, drinking whiskey and fine wine, and enjoying nature...

Are there any local real estate web sites I can browse through? I don't think realtor.com is as thorough or complete as local real estate databases may be.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:50 PM
 
Location: In a city
1,392 posts, read 2,898,833 times
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have you tried remax.com ? they usually have a fair number of listings.
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Sheridan, WY
357 posts, read 1,478,963 times
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You'd be best served to just start reading a LOT of listings in all areas of the state. What you'll find is that most ranch and ag lands have been bid up to levels where they cannot be supported by ranching with cattle, sheep or anything else. Any place with a live stream running through it has especially been bid up to absurd levels by people who want to fly-fish.

The thing you must look for is water. In the west, water is more important than land, or how much land you have. Land without water is useless - to you, your livestock and your pocketbook.

Generally speaking, with cattle prices being what they are, you need to be able to get land with water for less than about $1500/acre to make it pencil from the returns of cattle ranching. If you buy a place where you have to haul water to the cattle, you'd better get it cheaper than that.

You also need to budget enough land (and water) to put up enough hay to get your herd through the winter, unless you're running a feeder/stocker operation.

There are alternatives, eg, Sheep convert grass into meat more efficiently, and can return more on your investment than cattle, but you'd have much more work than with cattle (eg, you don't have to shear cattle every year).

The one ray of hope is this: If our fearless leader finishes turning the current economic downturn into a depression, then we might see some ranches owned by absentee owners come on the market as they down-size their lifestyles. I'm already seeing some places come down in price around Sheridan by 8 to 10% or more - they're still unreasonably high in price, they're just no longer "you're smoking crack cocaine" high.
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:22 PM
 
Location: MIA
1,335 posts, read 3,320,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NVDave View Post
You'd be best served to just start reading a LOT of listings in all areas of the state. What you'll find is that most ranch and ag lands have been bid up to levels where they cannot be supported by ranching with cattle, sheep or anything else. Any place with a live stream running through it has especially been bid up to absurd levels by people who want to fly-fish.
Will do. Then I will check back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NVDave View Post
The thing you must look for is water. In the west, water is more important than land, or how much land you have. Land without water is useless - to you, your livestock and your pocketbook.

Generally speaking, with cattle prices being what they are, you need to be able to get land with water for less than about $1500/acre to make it pencil from the returns of cattle ranching. If you buy a place where you have to haul water to the cattle, you'd better get it cheaper than that.

You also need to budget enough land (and water) to put up enough hay to get your herd through the winter, unless you're running a feeder/stocker operation.
Interesting... I know little about the vast expanses of wilderness out there, much less how to use the land to my advantage to turn a buck. My farm experience is limited to horse stabling in the Chicago suburbs. We currently own a 70 stall horse operation on 40 acres, and we ran out of hayfields by building more pastures, arenas, and stables. It is hard for my mind to wrap around the concept of so much land.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NVDave View Post
The one ray of hope is this: If our fearless leader finishes turning the current economic downturn into a depression, then we might see some ranches owned by absentee owners come on the market as they down-size their lifestyles. I'm already seeing some places come down in price around Sheridan by 8 to 10% or more - they're still unreasonably high in price, they're just no longer "you're smoking crack cocaine" high.
Hopefully it won't have to happen that way. Hopefully prices will come back to normal 2000+/- levels without more hardship.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:21 PM
 
11,369 posts, read 47,095,928 times
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The larger parcels that I know of with live water ... and no water rights, just the streams flowing through, and "forested" and a bit of pasture/prairie ... are all in the $3,000 per acre range.

You will not be able to buy an "awesome" ranch in the price range per acre you've indicated unless you're looking at really large ranches ... typically in the 6 section and up sizes. Some will have a lower price/acre, but you might even be looking at 10 sections and up to 100 sections (these are rarely for sale, but they're out there).

Be careful when you look at Wyoming real estate ads ... many "ranches" list a substantial acreage, but only a portion of it is "deeded" (that's what you own), and the rest is "leased" land from the Fed or State, or both. If you look at what you actually buy, the price/acre may be significantly higher than the price ranges I mentioned.

Ag land with irrigated water rights and functional water supply typically will bring AT LEAST $3,000/acre, so that portion of a ranch may be exceptionally valuable.

Be aware that the pasture acreage to support livestock around here is totally different from your riparian experience back east. It's not uncommon to need 100+ (perhaps 120) acres per cow/calf unit. Many ranches will advertise that they've run "400 head", but they don't mention that it's for the summer/fall only ... you're on your own with supplemental feeding for the rest of the year. "Oh, that's when we take the cattle down to our "winter range", this is the "summer range"." You'll need as much ... if not more ... acreage to run horses on pasture here, and supplemental feeding on all that timothy hay growing in your sub-irrigated meadow may be needed to get through a winter.

In my experience in SE Wyoming, cattle pasture cannot pay for itself if over $300/acre. If you pay much more than that, you've got a "hobby", not a business. And an expensive one at that.

What NVDave didn't mention on this thread ... as it's been very thoroughly discussed on other WY threads ... is that you cannot just buy good tillable land and then buy water. Out here, it's a whole different game. If you need ag water, you must have either (1) an adjudicated water right specifically for the piece of land and water applicable to no other piece of dirt, or (2) water shares for your land in an irrigation district that bought water rights many years ago. With the current water shortages and oversubscription of WY water to other states, there's also a big difference between "owning" a water right/share and actually having functional water. Some water districts have literally run out of water, even for municipal and domestic water use in the last few years, and some surface water rights have not been fulfilled for awhile. You can "call" for water all you want, but if it isn't there ... your water right won't irrigate your crop instead of the actual water. It definitely pays to investigate actual delivery of water history instead of just reading the documents .... Keep in mind that there is a long waiting list ahead of you for an agricultural water right anywhere in this state. IF you buy ag land without ag water, it will be dryland ... you'll not be able to buy any water right for it.

Your entire paradigm of acreage and water from IL doesn't begin to register in this area. Water is a very precious commodity here, people have bought it all up since the 1880's ... and very jealously guard that water. Make no assumptions about having it and using it. You will definitely pay dearly for any water right and water you get here ... perhaps even more than the cost of the land per acre for which the water is adjudicated. Do not take the wonderful words of any realtor or representations made by them regarding water ... "it's OK" is not an answer when asking about availability and quality, or potability. TEST and VERIFY before putting any money into a property around here.

In buying larger acreage, you'll also want to see if all the parcels are contiguous ... sometimes, they're divided by public roads (paved) or highways, or by other tracts and you're separated from your pasture by another property, or the prior owner split off a parcel for a family member which has since been sold to other folks. As many properties were measured out in sections, a 1,000 acre property may be an "odd" size of lots of parcels in various locations near to each other.

Ranch property that has direct access to public lands of hunting and fishing or recreational value will also carry a premium price. Even more so if the public land is essentially landlocked by the private lands around it.

If this is your primary residence, than be sure that you've got good year-around access. Again, don't take a realtor's word for it, ask the locals. You'd be surprised how many places aren't accessible during the winter months, which can be 5-6 months out of the year ... or at least, very difficult for months when a decent snowstorm blocks the roads into the area.

Last edited by sunsprit; 03-25-2009 at 10:37 PM..
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:07 PM
 
1 posts, read 13,051 times
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Default Wyoming the wonderful and the Wild

Wyoming is truly a wild place, but has changed a good deal over the past few years. I'm glad Sunsprit mentioned the water issues. There are so many fights, and gunfights here in Southern Wyoming about water rights.
Wyoming is a great place for dreamers, as long as you've got your feet on the ground and out of the clouds. Isolation is a common "problem" here. Although most of us who choose to live here like that particular atribute, most out of staters don't like it much when winter comes and you can't go more than 20 miles from home.
Visit during the summer, winter and mud season to make sure you can handle Wyoming. It would be a shame to leave your home and discover the grass isn't all that green here. In fact, depending on the time of year, the grass isn't green at all.
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:48 PM
 
Location: MIA
1,335 posts, read 3,320,035 times
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With such a sparse population...just over 700,000... and 98,000 square miles - twice the size of Illinois - why is there such a battle over water? Is it because Wyoming prostitutes its own people by subsidizing water to neighboring states? Why? It's not like you guys are a desert... You are in the middle of the American Rockies! You guys get umpteen feet of snow every year, why can't you "corral" some of that water??? <insert pun>

Or is it an ecological issue? Is Wyoming's climate dry? Or is it that the rain that falls in Wyoming gets quickly dispersed to other states by Wyoming's high speed rivers?

Why can't I drill a well of infinite depth in my pastures and enjoy the benefits?

Cuba L.

Last edited by cuba libre; 03-28-2009 at 11:00 PM..
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,728 posts, read 18,794,477 times
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I think much of the run-off water is tied up pretty tightly by other states' water rights. That goes back to the 1800s.

Drilling deep costs LOTS of money, and pumping it out from a couple thousand feet down isn't cheap either.
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