Our blog will help keep you informed about news and information related to the farm, ranch and rural real estate markets. If you share our desire for wide open spaces and investment in the land, we hope you will subscribe, read and discuss the stories we find and develop here. More than just an investment, ranch, farm and rural real estate evokes a type of lifestyle that was born over a century ago and still provides a certain romance and passion for those who embrace the pioneering spirit from those days gone by.

Beautiful Montana Ranches for Sale

Hall and Hall’s current inventory of Montana Ranches for sale is as comprehensive as it has ever been in our company’s 68-year history. From massive legacy ranches to recreational properties and cattle ranches, our selection of Montana land for sale is the best in the industry.

The IX Ranch is a legacy ranch – it is huge, has a long history of stable ownership and a is highly respected reputation in reputation ranch country.  Its central Montana location is 87 miles northeast of Great Falls and adjacent to the town of Big Sandy.

The 19,419 acre (18,139 deeded) Willow Creek Ranch is located minutes from Livingston and is accessed by a county road which traverses along the east and north boundaries of the ranch and dead ends on the Gallatin National Forest.

The 40,014± acre PN Ranch lies 55 miles north of Lewistown at the confluence of the Judith and the Missouri rivers and includes approximately 14 miles along the south side of the Missouri and nine miles of both banks of the Judith.

The 1,652± deeded acre Daisy Dean Creek Ranch is a mountain ranch. Three ranges are in clear view, including the towering 11,000-foot peaks of the Crazy Mountains, which are snow-capped most of the year. The ranch also physically borders the one million acre Lewis and Clark National Forest of the Little Belt Mountains, with its hundreds of miles of trails.

Is Now The Time to Buy Land?

By: Scott Shuman

Recently while cleaning out an office drawer I ran across a Landowner newsletter article from 1998. Yes, I’m a pack-rat or at the least I need to clean my desk more frequently. Anyway, the article is titled “Is land starting to price itself out of the market again?” It talks about land prices in relationship to earnings called the “value/rent index”, which is figured by dividing USDA’s survey price of cropland and buildings by the current cash rental value. It sites an example: $2,500 land renting for $160 per acre has a value/rent ratio of 15.6. The article further suggests that Midwest cropland should sell for about 15 times the cash rental rate. When the rate drops to 14, that’s a buying signal. The article shows that the ratio was above 14, so many farmers were saying they should probably wait to buy farmland.

The point is that while the article brings an interesting correlation that may have made sense to an investor in the late 90’s, think of the wealth that was lost because people (including myself) didn’t get into the market and buy farmland.

I started selling land in 1989 by auction and can vividly remember having conversations with those that had been in the business for a number of years. They cautioned me about land values being too high. At the same time, I can tell countless stories of people that felt they over paid for a property when they bought it and they now cannot believe how much it is worth.

There are so many variables involved with the price of farm and ranch land, including location, commodity prices, cattle prices, grass conditions, available tenant farmers, property condition, aesthetics, global population demands, the list goes on and on. Contrary to the 1998 article, land prices are still climbing.

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For more information on upcoming farmland auctions, visit Hall and Hall Auctions.

Hall and Hall and Superior Livestock Announce Strategic Relationship

By: Rob Hart

A month has passed since Hall and Hall and Superior Livestock announced our strategic relationship.  It has been an exciting time as we hit the ground running, partnering together to track down mutual relationships that understand the enormous value of working with two industry leaders.  We are currently chasing down business opportunities in Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Colorado and Kansas and feel certain that the relationship will be solidified through multiple mutual clients by the end of the year.

Mike, Tom, Brian, Cody, and JC of Hall and Hall participated in their first Superior Livestock Auction in July.  Superior’s “Week In The Rockies XXVI” was a great success with over 200,000 cattle from as many as 27 states selling via Satellite Video Auction.  The Hall and Hall team was very excited to be present and got to officially meet many of the Superior clients and Agents.

Hall and Hall will be back again at Superior’s “Big Horn Classic” in Sheridan, WY the week of August 18th and Superior’s “Labor Day XXXV” in Thornton, CO the week of September 10th.  If you’re interested in learning more about Exceptional Farm and Ranch Real Estate, come and see us.  We would love to get to know you better.

Private Wealth Management: Investing in Rural Land

By: Jim Taylor

Missoula partner Keith Lenard and I recently descended upon Newport, RI, home of Americas Cup sailing where “blue bloods” have summered for generations in grand mansions overlooking hallowed waters. We were attending a Family Office & Private Wealth Management Forum where investment ideas were being pitched to a growing number of offices set up to look after the interests of wealthy families.

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Family Office & Private Wealth Management Forum

From hedge funds to luxury travel, there was no shortage of advice for the well-heeled participants. We shared our booth with Eric O’Keefe, editor of the Land Report. His beautiful magazine was well received by the participants of this conference.

I sat on a real estate panel with a group of distinguished investors in commercial real estate who dispensed timely and valuable advice. My proposal that ranches, farms, and rural real estate represents a legitimate investment class asset was well received by a somewhat surprised audience who I think were wondering what I was doing among such company.

Jim Taylor during panel discussion.

Jim Taylor during panel discussion.

Our booth was visited by many who were intrigued by some of the spectacular photos of western landscapes that we had on prominent display. Keith and I feel that we definitely got the attention of many families who recognize the value of investing in rural land that holds its value and appreciates for future generations – not to mention creating a family legacy for the enjoyment of individual family members.

Hall and Hall Auctions Wins Best Company Promotional Video

The National Auctioneers Association, in association with USA Today, announced that Aerial Imaging Productions has placed first in the Company Promotional Video Category for the video it did for Hall and Hall Auctions.

Recognition by the National Auctioneer Association is a huge honor, and with over 870 entries placed in the Company Promotional Video category alone, it is an extremely competitive competition that truly encompasses not only the best of the best in the world of aerial videography, but also videography in general.]

The award winning video  showcases some of the biggest auctions we’ve hosted, as well as the many advantages of choosing Hall & Hall.

Hall & Hall Auctions from Aerial Imaging Productions on Vimeo.

Market Trends on Farms and Ranches For Sale

By: Jim Taylor

Before commenting on trends, I want to point out to our readers a couple of situations/trends that are having impacts throughout the western half of the U.S. The first is the continuing drought in the southern plains and more significantly in California and parts of the northwest. This has tended to put unusual upward pressure on land prices in peripheral areas as well as drive up the cost of grazing leases and the price of hay. Further exacerbating some of this is the incredible sense of optimism that is being felt by anyone associated with the cattle business. Those who are able are retaining heifers to increase herd size, which is causing additional upward pressure on grazing leases and land prices. We have seen ranches leasing for up to $500 per animal unit in Montana and summer pasture going for up to $100 per AUM in Nebraska. These numbers may not “work” even with current high cattle prices, but they represent the optimism that is driving operators to stay in the game at a relatively high cost and causing investors to get into the game.

Another interesting trend that we recently noted and have commented upon in past newsletters is the sale this year of three primarily residential properties for over $100 Million in the U.S. They include the 50 acre Copper Beach Farm in Greenwich, CT for $120 Million, an 18 acre beachfront estate in East Hampton, NY for $147 Million, and Fleur-de-Lys in Los Angeles also for over $100 Million. The underlying theme apparently is that unique high end residential real estate has become an asset class of its own – a safe haven to invest one’s wealth. This, of course, underlines a theme we have discussed in these pages for many years in talking about the various classes of rural real estate. Here’s what we see going on in that arena:

RANCHES – Demand for larger working ranches remains strong for the reasons mentioned above. Ranches are changing hands at higher levels as sellers have come off of some very high expectations to meet buyers who seem to be prepared to pay marginally more than the last sale. This is emblematic of a continuing upward trend, but most transactions appear to have been negotiated hard with give and take on both sides. It is still difficult to get serious lookers at anything that is perceived to be overpriced. What happened in 2008 is still fresh in people’s memories – despite the optimistic outlook for the livestock business.

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FARMS – Farm sales are reported to have slowed and prices have come down due to lower grain prices. This has fueled the optimism in the cattle business as lower corn and grain prices reduce the cost of gain and allow feeders to pay more for calves. All of the many entities that report on farm sales seem to agree that prices have come down slightly. It bears remembering that we were seeing increases of 25% or more for the past few years, so there is probably still some room for cooling.

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RETREATS – Although this part of the market is typically quite slow during the winter months, some of the high end resort markets like Jackson, Aspen, Yellowstone Club, and even Bozeman have had very strong sales with a distinct upward trend. The retreat market tends to correlate with the resort market to some extent. We are also starting to hear of increased interest in the “second home” market. All of this causes us to be optimistic for the coming year. However, given the inventory available and the number of price reductions we have seen, we do not anticipate anything more than a further establishment of the floor in this market.

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As a company, Hall and Hall has had a very strong beginning to 2014, and our projections for the months ahead are as good as we have ever seen so early in the year. Our real estate partners are all very busy which gives rise to great optimism for the summer season. As always, we welcome your inquiries and appreciate your continued support. Our business has been built on long term relationships, and this brings with it our most sincere thanks for that support. We pledge to do all in our power to continue to earn it.