By: Jim Taylor
The underlying theme to last Friday’s Wall Street Journal story entitled “The Cowboy Moguls” is that ranchland is recognized as an investment class asset by many wealthy individuals and the fact that it is fun to own has not gone unnoticed. A part of the untold story is that Hall and Hall represented one or both sides of three of the four “biggest ranch deals” mentioned in the article and they have been quietly involved to one extent or another in the majority of major ranch sales over the last 25 years. Of course it goes almost without saying that the other untold part of the story is that, for us, this is not news.
We have recommended ranchland and farmland as an investment class asset since the 1970s. We began working with now deceased billionaire Earl Holding of Sinclair Oil and Sun Valley in 1983 to put together his ranching empire, which is still carried on by his family. He was followed by Lee Hirsch, founder of U.S. Surgical Supply which held the patent for the surgical staple, and who we represented in building and subsequently disbanding a cattle empire that quickly grew to be one of the 20 largest cattle operations in the U.S. Ted Turner followed in the 1990s and we helped him accumulate what was once the largest private land holding in the U.S. – now second largest. New entries to the market like the Wilks brothers bought their first 175,000 acres in Montana through Hall and Hall and continue to employ us to assist them in the management of their growing ranching empire.
This is a trend that continues with the recent Wall Street Journal recognition of some of the new players in what has been going on quietly for a long time. We are honored and proud to be a part of the story. If one looks at the fabled castles and estates in Europe and the United Kingdom that have been passed down within families for centuries, it is easy to understand what is going on here. We are not sure what the thoroughly overused term “legacy ranch” means but these individuals are undeniably building legacies for their families. [see full WSJ story]