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Diversified ranch for sale---no offers yet.

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littlejoe

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HELENA - The sprawling Broken O Ranch, which spans three counties and includes more than 20 miles of the Sun River near Augusta, is for sale for $132 million.

The 123,000-acre ranch was assembled during the past 20 years by William and Desiree Moore, founders of the Kelly-Moore Paint Co. After William Moore died in 2004 and his wife passed away last year, their children decided sell the property, according to ranch manager Dan Freeman.

"Their heirs that are taking this on are in a different age bracket with different interests, so they decided to sell," Freeman said. "We hope that whoever buys it will continue the legacy and not cut it up."

The ranch extends 26 miles from east to west and 12 miles north to south, and is located about 10 miles east of Augusta. Freeman said it's a well-diversified operation, including cattle, farming, irrigation and a feed lot.

Mike Swan, the managing broker of the Bates Sanders Swan Land Com. in Bozeman, said the property was listed for sale on Tuesday. He said he's seen larger ranches sold in recent years, like one in New Mexico, and more expensive parcels, like ranchettes in Jackson Hole, Wyo., but never one like the Broken O.

"I don't know of another ranch this size and scale that's been on the market in the last 10 years that compares to this," Swan said. "It's an extremely unique offering of a Western landmark, a ranch of this size and scale and production capabilities in a location as spectacular as this one. You just don't see these on the market."

The asking price includes 4,500 head of cattle and Montana's largest block of irrigated land - 13,000 acres - that historically averaged 25,000 tons of alfalfa hay and 700,000 bushels of small grain crops. The property includes 108,670 deeded acres and another 14,600 acres leased from the state of Montana and Bureau of Land Management.

"It's not the largest ranch in Montana but it's in the top 10 and it's the largest irrigated ranch," Freeman said.

It's also home to a wide range of wildlife, from the occasional grizzly to large herds of antelope, mule deer and whitetails.

Augusta resident Linda Wolfe said people are a little nervous about the sale of the ranch, mainly because change always makes people uneasy. She said the Moore family made considerable positive impacts within the small community, and that while people are sorry to see the family sell the ranch, they wish them the best.

"People are always scared of change and the Moores have been so supportive of the community, so I think people are a little nervous about what will happen," Wolfe said. "But I'm sure they were scared when he bought it and he turned out to be a really generous man to the community, as have his children.

"I think there's also a feeling out there that it's so much money that nobody will buy it right away, especially with this economy."

Wolfe pointed to the community center on Main Street as a symbol of how important the Broken O Ranch is to Augusta. The center was donated by the Moore family and now serves as the senior and youth center, but also is a gathering place for a wide range of activities.

"This building holds funerals, weddings, has the food bank, a clinic every other week. The Girl Scouts meet here, 4-H does too, they hold aerobic classes here and elections," Wolfe said. "This building is the community hub, and that's due to the Moores."

She said they've heard all sorts of rumors that the property already was sold, but those are only rumors. What's somewhat of a relief to the community is that the 25 to 30 employees will be kept on to run the ranch at this time, and they hope new owners will retain the hired hands.

"Even if somebody else buys it, they still need someone to run it, and these folks know the ranch," Wolfe said. "So we're not really scared that they'll lose their jobs."

Swan said he's received a lot of interest in the ranch, which is being marketed as a single parcel, but no offers yet.
 

gcreekrch

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Justin said:
bverellen said:
Maybe we could all chip in and do a group buy;)

bart. †

better keep those hired hands on then. we'd just end up running the place in the ground. :wink:

We could just use H's pocet change and use it for a testing ground for all of our ideas. :lol:
 

JF Ranch

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What should this land sell for?

$132 million is a lot of money, but depending how you price the irrigated ground, I came up with between $1176 and $1244 per deeded acre. I did not figure any value for the BLM.

Recently a sandhill ranch along the Niobara River, with a number of pivot irrigation systems and quite a bit of lease ground brought just under $1000 per acre. The scenic value had a lot to do with that sale. The Broken O Ranch is surely far more scenic than this sandhill ranch.
 
A

Anonymous

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I've ridden for the 'Broken-O'...and while I would'nt quite call it 'scenic', I would say it's a large, sprawling-outfit in a nice location that's 'away' from the fast-paced urban-environment surrounding Malmstrom AFB.

Last time I breezed through there (looking at a ranch-job elsewhere in Augusta) it did'nt seem like too much had changed, except that Dan was'nt running 3000 head of buffalo, which made my 'short-visit' there a rather interesting one, to say the least..especially when it came to working the sometimes 'twitchy' critters in the rather heavily 'modified' feedlot/corrals quite an experience.

It'll likely remain a working-ranch...but I think it'll appeal more to the 'grain-farmer' type, rather than a cattle-man...

...unless Ted Turners 'handlers' hear about this, which (by now) I'm sure they have.

BTW, Merry Christmas everyone ! ! !
 

myersfarm

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IF I could just sell my 440 acres....for $300,000 a acre....I could buy it....anybody interested in a small farm at that price
 

Silver

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If this were in my area I would hope it would be broken into several smaller parcels that several families could buy and make a good living off of. Just my opinion, but I always think it's nicer to see more families making a living off the land than these bigger outfits on huge parcels of land. Guess I'm just old fashioned.
 

Doug Thorson

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unfortunately the only way anybody could make a living on it is to have most of it paid for. Split up or not at payments of $1.50 on every gross $, it takes cash to buy yourself a living(job)
 

Soapweed

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PATB said:
Will this be the new soapweed west unit? :D :D :D

Soapweed is still trying to pay for the soapweeds he already has. :cboy:

Silver said:
If this were in my area I would hope it would be broken into several smaller parcels that several families could buy and make a good living off of. Just my opinion, but I always think it's nicer to see more families making a living off the land than these bigger outfits on huge parcels of land. Guess I'm just old fashioned.

I would agree with this statement, Silver.
 

Doug Thorson

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I will also stand by my statement though. If land brought what it was worth instead of what it brings several families could make a living off of it. I expanded a while back and my payments are $868 per cow I can run on that piece. Add taxes and it is a good thing I can supplement that purchase with other land.

That being said, I knew what I was doing and would do it again in a heartbeat. The only way land will go down is if there is no money to buy it and that wouldn't be a very good deal either.

By the way, most land didn't work in the 50's either but some big places got put together.
 

John SD

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This discussion reminds me of an old saying that I'm not sure I'm remembering correctly. Roughly, this is it: A family ranch operation needs to double in size every generation to remain viable long term.

The biggest problem I see for family operations to continue is the competition for land from interests outside agriculture such as hunting/recreation. Large non-ag/out of state interests have deeper pockets than most mom/pop ag operations.

Not necessarily saying that it's wrong, but just the way it is.
 

Roundup

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I think in many areas the recreational value of land has exceeded the ranching value. At the same time an economic unit of cattle has become a larger number. Makes it tough to expand a ranch, but can be an advantage when it comes time to sell assets and retire.
 

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